2023-24 NBA Season Preview: Phoenix Suns

The 2023-24 Season Preview series continues with the Phoenix Suns. A team that many analysts are favoring in the West, but for good reason. They had a busy off-season, making several big trades and free-agent signings. Did they have the best offseason? There’s a good chance of that. The Suns didn’t get a chance to find out how good the duo of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant will be. Now they are part of a Big Three. Last season, they ranked 9 in NET Rating with a plus-2.1.

How will the Big Three play together? Will the team Chemistry hold up? Can Jusuf Nurkic fill the same defensive shoes that Deandre Ayton did? There’s quite a lot of questions

Key Additions:

Bradley Beal

The Suns had talked about adding another star and they wasted no time. Trading for the three-time All-Star in Beal. So its safe to say that the Suns are betting on this group to work. They’ve traded away most of their future. He’s never played point before so it’ll be interesting. He adds another scoring punch to the offense, with a career average of 22.1 points.

Jusuf Nurkic

The Bosnian Beast has not been able to play more than 56 games since 2018-19 due to various injuries. With the athleticism up and down the Suns roster, they’ll be looking for Nurkic to play physically with his ability to screen and pass. They’ll need him to stay healthy to balance out the lineup.

Bol Bol

The former Oregon product has brought a unique presence to both Denver and Orlando over the last four years. At 7-2, 220 lbs Bol could be one of the best shot blockers that we’ve ever seen. He has the potential to be the kind of player that his father, Manute Bol, was. With Orlando last season Bol averaged career highs of 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. The Suns won’t need him to be a dominant scorer, if he can bring a defensive presence he could just be a very valuable addition.

Key Losses:

Chris Paul

You can say what you want about CP3. “He slowed the game down.” or “He’s not as good as he used to be.” You might be right, but the 13-time All-Star is still a valuable addition to any roster that he’s part of. He’s a veteran leader who puts others before himself and has often times proven that hes the best passer in the league.

Deandre Ayton

There wers some problems between the two sides and the Suns included Ayton in the three-team deal that sent Lillard to Brooklyn. They have essentially replaced Ayton with the combination of Nurkic and Bol, with the former being the more physical presence and the latter bringing the defensive presence that Nurk lacks.

Cameron Payne

The 28-year-old has seen a breakout in his career with the Phoenix Suns. Losing him as the backup point guard hurts the depth. Especially at the point. Outside of Beal and Booker, they now have a bunch of young guys.

Projected Roster:

Starters: Beal, Booker, Josh Okogie, Durant, Nurkic

Essentially the Phoenix Suns are just swapping Ayton and Nurkic as the starting center heading into the 2023-24 season. The rest of the lineup remains to be what it was when Durant arrived in Phoenix.

Bench: Grayson Allen, Bol, Drew Eubanks, Keita Bates-Diop, Eric Gordon, Yuta Watanabe, Nassir Little, Saben Lee, Keon Johnson, Jordan Goodwin

Even with the loss of Payne, this may be one of the deepest second units in the NBA. The Suns have two backup centers who have been starters in previous years as well as two sharp shooters and some young guys looking to prove themselves.

Season Outlook:

The Phoenix Suns are a title favorite in the west (+550). They are tied for best odds in the West with the Denver Nuggets. If everyone stays healthy they have and they keep their egos in check, this could be a really solid team. They’ve had some time to mesh throughout the offseason and here in the preseason. I would expect the Phoenix Suns to finish with a 55-27 record in the 2023-24 regular season with a top 3 spot in the post season.

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