The Phoenix Suns are a hot team, pun intended. They have the second-best record in the NBA and hold the second seed in the Western Conference standings.
Devin Booker is playing better than he ever has before, and the supporting cast is doing their job. Everything is clicking on all cylinders for the franchise, and the Suns are finally good again.
Not everything was so great for Phoenix for a while. They’re still on a stretch of no playoff appearances. The last was in the 2009-10 season.
In this article, TGH is taking a look into the rise of the franchise, where they’re at now, and some of the missing pieces to be able to make them a contender with the Lakers and Nets.
In the 2010s, the Suns franchise was abysmal. Besides the playoff appearance in 2010, they were only above the .500 mark once. In that one season, they went 48-34 and missed the playoffs.
In that stretch, their worst record was 19-63, which was under head coach Igor Kokoskov. That was just three years ago during the 2018-19 season.
What many would consider the franchise altering move was the acquisition of Chris Paul from Oklahoma City last offseason. In Paul, the Suns got a veteran point guard with arguably the highest basketball IQ in the league.
Because of that huge move, it allowed Phoenix to be a desirable free agency destination. Perhaps their biggest pick-up was Jae Crowder. Crowder, an NBA journeyman, is now on his seventh NBA. However, he’s got a lot of experience, and that is something valuable to the Suns.
The last decade for Phoenix was horrible. It’s probably a time that many Suns’ fans would like to forget. The start of the 2020’s has been the opposite of what the franchise has been used to seeing, and hopefully the winning is here to stay.
The Time is Now
The Suns are looking at the best record they’ve had for the franchise in quite some time. First, it starts with head coach Monty Williams.
Williams, who’s in his second season as Phoenix’s head coach, has been a coach in the league for some time now. He coached Portland from 2005-2010. He coached Chris Paul in his last season in New Orleans in 2010-11. He kept coaching in New Orleans until 2014-15, then proceeded to take positions in Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. It’s clear that Williams is the right man for the job.
As for the rest of the Suns roster, everything seems to be clicking. Booker is playing at an all-star level, which helps translate to wins. Deandre Ayton is doing his thing: scoring, rebounding and being a presence in the paint. Even Mikal Bridges is having his best season yet.
Everything is working for Phoenix. There’s one problem, however. The Suns have better teams that are standing in their way.
How can Phoenix be better?
Clearly the Suns have all the important cornerstones to winning a championship. They have a young star in Booker, a hall of fame point guard in Paul, and a promising big man in Ayton.
Despite all of that, they don’t have the pieces to compete with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals or the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Finals. So what do they need to do to get to the next level?
Well, the need to make some key roster moves, and fast if they plan to have CP3 in the picture.
Second, they should get another star in their prime. With all of that, the Suns could be serious contenders.
Make a Splash in Free Agency
Free agency in 2021 will be huge. So, here are some notable players Phoenix should look at:
John Collins, Power Forward (Restricted), Atlanta Hawks
Collins is one of the bright young big men in the league. He’s a viable scoring threat from all over the court and a solid rebounder. If he were to be signed by the Suns, he’d most likely be inserted into the starting line-up and either Mikal Bridges or Jae Crowder would come off the bench.
DeMar DeRozan, Shooting Guard, San Antonio Spurs
DeRozan signing with Phoenix would really put the Suns into a contending position. He would be put into the starting line-up, replacing Mikal Bridges, which in turn would also make the bench stronger. DeRozan would be a great fit in Phoenix, and he should be a priority for the Suns in the offseason.
Dennis Schroder, Point Guard, Los Angeles Lakers
Schroeder would be another player that would be a huge signing for Phoenix. He would come to the Suns and be the leader off the bench. Schroder, a viable sixth man, would elevate the Suns second unit. This would be another great signing for the franchise.
Besides these three key players, the Suns must also keep a majority off their roster intact to have another great year next season. It’ll be interesting to find out what the future has in store for Phoenix.
All stats were taken from ESPN.com and basketballreference.com.
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