The Phoenix Suns were in striking distance of their fist NBA Championship last season but fell in 6 to the bucks after a 2-0 start.
In the regular season, the team had their first 50 win season since the famous 2009-10 team with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire headlining the starting 5. Going into the playoffs Chris Paul had one of his most productive seasons of his career which was injury free for the most part and the style of the team compared to the team he was with a year prior, the OKC Thunder, he actually had a good team around him that multiple Suns fans thought we could’ve gone far into the playoffs. Unfortunately, it took until June for the media to believe in the Suns and because of this, it was very frustrating to watch honestly every media member except Kendrick Perkins who believed in the team from the start (He’s a cards fan too so they love KP around AZ) and hearing him battle Stephen A and Max on First Take about the Suns was annoying. This meant for an even more fun post-season because the media were slowly and slowly turning towards the suns, first doubting us in our first round series against the Lebron and AD headlined Lakers with multiple players that were supposedly the leagues best role players and then after we beat those Lakers, with an injured CP3 for the first 4 games, the media put all of the win on the fact that AD was hurt, when it was still Lebron James vs Devin Booker in the battle of the stars in the series. We swept the Nuggets in the Semis and they still didn’t acknowledge us as contenders but at least respected the performance, even though people again said that the Nuggets would’ve won if they’d had Jamal Murray which is crazy considering it was a sweep and we made it look easy. They also doubted us going into the series with the LA Clippers even though KAWHI LEONARD WASN’T PLAYING. It was crazy to see multiple ESPN analysts pick the Clippers to win the series and it took us to beat the Clippers in 6 in an awful series that we played terrible in for the media to finally acknowledge us as a serious force. Playing the Bucks in the final was interesting because Giannis and coach Mike Budenholzer had been criticized for choking in high pressure situations in the playoffs so they had a point to prove and the Suns had just underperformed in a series and still won in 6 so these were 2 teams that had been criticized and undermined in the media with points to prove and the series started amazingly for the Suns, going up 2-0 and the whole team flowing perfectly, I’ll be honest I thought it was done at this point and I think that’s a reason that we ended up losing if I’m keeping it real, I think the fans and the players as well as the coaches probably had one foot in the door of the parade bus. The bucks fought back resiliently and the Suns fanbase was intense and depressing for the 2 or 3 weeks but after that, we started to realise that there were so many positives from that season that there was no point lingering on the loss in the biggest games in Basketball. The offseason was here and free agency and the draft were right around the corner. We gave away our 29th pick in the draft and we got Landry Shamet to bolster our bench and made it arguably the best bench in the NBA. The most important piece of the offseason is that we signed Chris Paul to a 4 year contract to stay with the Suns, and whilst a lot of fans were confused by the amount of years considering Chris’ age, it almost certainly means he’s going to retire in Phoenix and take up a coaching position here when he’s done playing. This is massive for the future of the team but it also is good for the team in the present because Chris had an amazing year last season and whilst his finals performance was underwhelming, he played with torn ligaments in his hand and had them surgically fixed over the summer. Who knows what would’ve happened had CP been healthy.
So the question: Can the Suns win the Chip?
The obvious answer is yes. The Suns have only made upgrades and no downgrades, and the young team that we have are a year older and have a year more of experience, let alone Championship experience. They know what it takes now and they’ll come more hungry than ever because we just missed out only a few months ago. DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges are future stars that improved exponentially last year and I expect the same this year. I think that DA can be the best Center in the NBA just purely based off his build and Physicality. Cam Johnson gains experience and has more time to work on his passing and dribbling as well as his famous shooting to make sure he’s ready to be the perfect bench wing. Jae Crowder and Chris Paul get a year older but the coaching staff’s job is to make sure they don’t lose a step. Devin Booker is by far the most exciting young superstar in the league for me and obviously that’s biased but I do truly believe that he’s the best of the bunch, whether that be Donovan Mitchell, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum. He’s better than them all. Maybe Luka is the only better young player in the league. He’s a year older and experienced and if anyone knows Book, they know he’s going to be riding off of those Finals disappointments until he gets that chip. We may see Devin Booker hit a stride this season that turns him into a global superstar. I’m talking top 5/6/7 in the league levels. I believe he can do it. We have so many assets that the other contending teams will be forced to not forget about us. The Lakers are very overrated and they’ve, in my opinion of course, made a huge mistake bringing in all of these old guys. Russ, Lebron and AD would’ve been unstoppable with a young core that were built similar to how the Suns are built, but instead they’ve built a retirement home that will quite possibly waste the chance to get a chip in LA with those 3 superstars. The Bucks are in the same situation as the Suns, just hoping to be in the same position as last year, the Nets are a problem and I’ll acknowledge them as serious threats as long as their coaching sorts out the defence and don’t allow themselves to concede 120 a game. There’s other teams that’ll return to the playoffs like the Hawks and the Knicks along with the Nuggets (also a potential contender with Murray back) and the Clippers who could finally get to the finals when they get Kawhi back and they can build further on the chemistry that was slowly building in the playoffs last year before the injury. The Jazz will also make some noise but I see that team as a regressing one as time goes on instead of the opposite because some of their best players being Mike Conley at 33 years old and Rudy Gobert at 29.
The point I’m trying to make is that there’s going to be an insane amount of competition this year but I believe that with Monty’s coaching and the star power of our backcourt, plus the rising starts through the starting 5 and the amazing role players that make up our league-best bench, we can make some noise and have a chance of winning CP his chip and getting our first in the process too. If I had to pick the biggest threat from each conference, I’d say the Nuggets in the West and the Nets in the East. Can’t wait for this NBA season, this could be the best year in NBA History.