The Phoenix Suns have been in a playoff drought for a long time. They didn't make the playoffs despite being 8-0 in the bubble. In the offseason, they made a win-now move for point guard Chris Paul. Chris Paul is an experienced point guard, who has been through many postseason runs. The Suns have been lacking a veteran that knows how to win: in Phoenix, he will have one of the best players he's ever played with in Devin Booker.
With a "Big Three" of Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and Devin Booker, the Suns have announced themselves as a team that will be competing this year. They have looked very good to start the season, and have a chance to make the playoffs. They have the talent, and they have the leadership. Here are the reasons why the Phoenix Suns could make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Phoenix Suns Benefit From Chris Paul's Leadership
Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league, despite entering the late stage of his career as an NBA player. His run with the Thunder last year is severely underrated, as he took the Houston Rockets to seven games with a team that wasn't even supposed to be in the playoffs. Chris Paul is an upgrade over the Suns' last point guard, Ricky Rubio. Paul can shoot from beyond the arc on a consistent basis, and create his own shot. The Suns were a perfect destination for Chris Paul: he can mentor the young duo of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, while also having two stars that can take some of the load off of him for the future. Adding a recent All-Star in turn, was very beneficial for the Phoenix Suns' chances at competing in the Western Conference.
As a player, Chris Paul is a competitor. He helped the Oklahoma City Thunder almost beat two superstars in James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Paul still has a lot left in the tank. If he is capable of leading the 2020 Oklahoma City team to the playoffs, then what will he do with a budding superstar in Devin Booker? The ceiling is very high on this Phoenix Suns team. In the video, JJ Redick mentions the respect that Chris Paul commands with the younger generation of players. Chris Paul's leadership in the league is something that has earned him admiration from his peers, and his leadership with his play on the court, and challenging his teammates could lead to a playoffs seed for the Phoenix Suns.
The Phoenix Suns Have Talented Young Players
The Suns were already showing potential even before Chris Paul got there. As mentioned at the start of the article, they were 8-0 in the bubble due to the coaching of Monty Williams and the greatness of Devin Booker. Booker has long been a prolific scorer, but now he actually has teammates that can help him post a winning record, instead of scoring 30 on a losing team. Booker is averaging 21.5 PPG during the 2020-21 season, down from 26.6 PPG last season. That can be attributed to having better teammates, and not relying on Booker every night. Deandre Ayton also looks like a menace on the glass, averaging 13.4 PPG and 11.4 RPG during the 2020-21 season. Both Booker and Ayton are promising stars and will anchor the Suns for years to come.
One of the players that have improved this season is Mikal Bridges. Mikal Bridges has improved his scoring output from 9.1 PPG to 14.0 PPG while shooting a scorching 45.8% from 3PT range on 6.0 attempts through the start of the season. Mikal Bridges is a talented 3 and D wing, with the potential for shot creation. Bridges has sneaky athleticism and can be more than a spot-up shooter. With his development and the continued success of the young Phoenix Suns roster, the Suns have become a spooky team in the Western Conference, and one that could surprise many analysts.
Will The Phoenix Suns Make The Playoffs?
The answer here is probably: they're certainly on the right trajectory to do so. While the Western Conference is as difficult as ever, the Suns have an exciting young roster that is full of up and comers. Devin Booker hasn't seen the postseason, so he will put a lot of effort into this season, as this season will be his best chance to compete at a high level. While Booker hasn't made the playoffs before, he showed signs of leadership when he brought his team to an 8-0 record in the Orlando bubble.
The Phoenix Suns are a promising team. They have a good balance of hungry young players and savvy veterans, and that combo leads to a deep team that can compete with anyone on any given night. Hopefully, for Phoenix Suns fans, their winning continues, and perhaps Phoenix basketball can shine bright in the postseason.