The bright future Suns are starting rise from the ashes like the namesake of their city. The team has been perpetually at the bottom of their conference for quite some time. This looks like the year that changes. Phoenix brought in Monty Williams as their new head coach last season and it worked out handsomely. The team ended their season on a 8-0 run in the bubble, barely missing the playoffs. Can they carry the momentum they found in Orlando into this season? The off-season moves the Suns made says they’re going to try their hardest.
It was obvious after the bubble that the Suns were in a position of progress. The team has an established offensive superstar in Devin Booker and has talent that fits around him. Deandre Ayton made strides defensively last year and rotational pieces like Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges showed how good they really are. Still, the team needed more talent and general manager James Jones wasted no time in getting it. The Thunder were open and willing to trade anyone this off-season and Phoenix jumped at the opportunity to bring in Chris Paul. Paul is one of the best point guards to ever play the game and will make a major impact on the roster this season. His year in OKC showed he’s a tremendous team leader as he was able to propel the Thunder to the playoffs. Paul will look to be a big piece both on and off the court for a Phoenix team that is still learning to win.
CP3 wasn’t the only addition to the roster Suns this season. The team also added veterans E’Twuan Moore, Langston Galloway, and Jae Crowder to the mix. Galloway and Moore provide the team with shooting and are players that understand how to play smart with the ball in their hands. Their experience cannot be understated on a roster as young as this one. Crowder adds an element of toughness and seems like the perfect fit next to Ayton at the power forward position. Crowder is a tough defender who can spread the floor and understands the nuances of the game. None of the guys will have huge games in terms of what’s listed in the box scores, but they will be very valuable to the team.
The Suns added in some young talent as well thanks to them having the number 10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. I thought they may go with Devin Vassell to replace Kelly Oubre Jr., who was traded away in the Chris Paul deal. A part of me thought Tyrese Haliburton would be a good fit as he could learn behind CP3 for the first year or two of his career. Instead, the team chose to go with a big man from Maryland, Jalen Smith. Commonly referred to as “Stix”, Smith is a great leaper who rebounds, shoots, and protects the rim well. There have been some rumblings he may end up playing the power forward spot next to Ayton, but that won’t happen. Smith is a modern center and it causes a bit of a problem. If Jalen hits his ceiling soon, Dandre could become a great trade piece for the Suns. Smith may never be more than a great backup center. If that is the case, then this selection is okay at best.
The Suns should be very excited about their future. Booker is a legitimate star and it looks like they have a second in Ayton, given his progress from year one to two. With that being said, the team needs to try to be as competitive as possible in the here and now. It’s been a decade since Phoenix was last in the playoffs. I think that streak ends this season and I think they could turn into a postseason mainstay the way Utah and Denver have.