Phoenix Suns: Are They Contenders or Pretenders
Since the NBA bubble last season the Phoenix Suns are 14-3 in the regular season. This year they are off to a very hot start at 6-3 and have some quality wins so far this season. So the question is, is this a fluke or could the Phoenix Suns finally be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA postseason.
After watching Suns games you are able to tell how complete of a ball club this is. Through the first nine games Devin Booker and Chris Paul have been putting up less than their usual stellar numbers. To be specific, Devin Booker is actually nearing career lows in points (21.5), assists (4.6), field goal attempts (15.6), touches per game (56.1) according to CBS Sports. Prior to this season, the Phoenix Suns entire offense used to basically live and die by how well Booker would do in games. So what is the deal with this season? There are two reasons why the Phoenix Suns should be considered contenders instead of pretenders.
1. Veteran Leadership
There are two key acquisitions that the Suns made in the offseason that really seems to be paying dividends, Jae Crowder and Chris Paul. On top of them actually doing well in the games you can see them coaching up their teammates even when they are not on the floor. One small example that can be seen is the difference in tenacity in Deandre Ayton between this season and last season. Sure, his entire career Deandre Ayton seemed to just sort of fall out of bed and get a double-double but this season he has become much more decisive in his movements in clutch situations (long as he can stay out of foul trouble). Prior to this year it was up to Devin Booker to lead this team, while he was still developing himself which did not pay off what so ever for the Phoenix Suns. This year there is a different level of basketball IQ when the future hall of famer Chris Paul is running point and getting everyone else involved.
2. Bench/ Unsung Hero Points
As previously mentioned, this has not been Devin Booker’s year and even Chris Paul hasn’t really been putting up his best numbers either. There are three players on the Phoenix Suns that seem to be getting it done on both sides of the ball; Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Langston Galloway. Langston Galloway is slowly becoming a fan favorite off the bench he seems to completely ignite the offense night in and night out. In a game against his former team the Detroit Pistons, Galloway scored 17 points in 8 minutes. Langston Galloway is one of those players that may not light up the stat sheet every night, but he definitely makes an impact. Right now Galloway is the 10, so there are some nights where he may not get any minutes what so ever, expect that to change as the season goes on. Next is the second year man out of North Carolina Cam Johnson.
Cam Johnson has 13.1 points per game to go along with 2.8 rebounds and an assist. He’s also committed just four turnovers in 179 minutes of play. He’s shooting 51 percent overall this season, and an outstanding 42 percent from beyond the arc. Johnson has not scored less than 8 points in any game this season, which isn’t bad considering a second year player on somewhat limited minutes.
Lastly, the dark horse of the Phoenix Suns that has added team leading offense to his already scary defense, Mikal Bridges. This season Mikal Bridges and Deondre Ayton are tied for 6th in the NBA in blocks. Mikal also leads the team in three pointers made and three point percentage. It seems that Mikal has started to find a groove this season under Monty Williams and it’s really making a huge impact on games. Though his offense has been impressive he has also been one of the league’s premier lockdown defenders.
This is not the same old Phoenix Suns that we have seen in the NBA for the past ten years, this Phoenix Suns team has depth and all sorts of different ways to beat teams that they can unleash at a moment’s notice. It is a long season, but the Phoenix Suns are going to be a team to watch going forward. Maybe network TV should consider covering their games instead of the overrated Los Angeles Clippers? Just kidding.
What are your thought on the Phoenix Suns? Are they contenders or pretenders? Leave a omment below.
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