While the Los Angeles Lakers sit on top of the Western Conference, other West teams are climbing up the ladder. Some of them are experienced teams that had significant offseasons, some went through a successful rebuild, and others are starting their rebuild. The diversity of teams in the West makes up a competitive conference, as teams find themselves in one of these stages.
The Clippers are a team that acquired two big stars in the offseason. On the other hand, a team like the Denver Nuggets built their team through drafting pieces such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Now, there are other young teams on the rise.
One of those teams is the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are eighth in the Western Conference with a record of 11-12. Last year, the Suns finished the season with a record of 19-63. A few months into the season, they could surpass their 2018-19 record. If the Suns win at least nine more games, they will likely pass last year.
The Suns are one game away from being a .500 team and have a slight lead over other fringe teams. The Suns have played well, and it makes fans question, could they be a playoff team? For starters, one must look at their season up to this point.
This season, the Suns are off to a decent start. Not only does their record show it, but they’ve managed to make the top five in certain areas. The Suns are fifth in points (with 115.7 points per game), first in assists (28.3 per game), and are in the top 10 to 15 in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
The Suns have a young star in Devin Booker, who is leading the team through the season. He averages 25.5 points and 6.3 assists. He is also shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from deep. In the Suns’ most recent game, Booker finished the game with 44 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. This was his season-high so far, as he nearly had a triple-double. The young player continues to shine, and the Suns are reaping the benefits. So, if he continues to play well, the Suns play well.
The Phoenix Suns have been a bit surprising this season. While it is still early, they have an opportunity to exceed their expectations and their record. What is more impressive is that they are doing this without their center Deandre Ayton, who is eligible to return on Dec.17 after a 25-game suspension. If Ayton can return and make an (instant) impact, the Suns will be even better.
Are the Suns a playoff team? It is too early to tell. However, if they continue their performance up to this point, they have a shot.
Featured Image courtesy of (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)