Running it Back With Last Season’s Best Record
It’s hard to picture how the 2022-2023 season will pan out for the Phoenix Suns after their head-scratching loss to Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in the second round. The Suns came off their finals appearance with a franchise record 64-18 season and when expectations seemed to have been through the roof, they fell apart in game seven. That is behind them now. They are the reigning number one seed in the NBA and put pen to paper with their biggest guys, locking down their young assets in long-term deals.
While it was fun, A Kevin Durant trade is seemingly out of the picture at this point. This team knows where it is and what they need to do. Deandre Ayton is back, Booker is a 2k cover athlete and the rumors of trading Jae Crowder are getting louder, Let’s quickly recap what is in store for Phoenix this Season.
What to think of the offseason.
The front office got the big things done this off-season, Devin Booker signed his four-year $244 million supermax extension on July seventh. In his eighth season coming off his All-NBA First Team nod, this was a no-brainer for Phoenix. DeAndre Ayton was another max contract signed this off-season. four-years $133 million in the largest offer sheet match in NBA history. Saving the team two million per year in cap space from waiting for the match with the Pacers. After what felt like a lifetime for Suns fans, their promising big man is back on the roster.
The Suns didn’t have a pick in this year’s draft however they did go out and sign veteran guard, Damion Lee after his championship in Golden State. As well as Duane Washington Jr., another guard positioned to take some of the load off of an aging Chris Paul.
Josh Okogie was a player signing I felt could have gone under the radar for a lot of fans in Phoenix. He’s someone that could become a huge X-factor off the bench for the Suns. I would keep an eye on him and Jock Landale. The Aussie Center signed to fill in for the losses in the front court.
Who Did They Lose?
One of the biggest priorities for winning teams in the NBA is keeping the team’s depth intact. While the Suns succeeded in keeping the key players, there were a couple of departures that may be concerning to some fans. JaVale McGee is the best example. Second in FG% behind Ayton, Most blocks on the team last year, McGee will be a hard act to follow up in the front court. Frank Kaminski is another one that comes to mind that can have a major impact on his departure. Especially if Ayton doesn’t make a big step in intensity on defense.
There are a handful of less impactful losses for the team, players like Aaron holiday, Gabriel Lundberg, and Elfrid Payton. Guys who helped stretch the floor but never got the playing time to really contribute.
We all know the biggest theoretical loss this offseason for the Phoenix Suns was the Kevin Durant trade request. The single tweet from Shams Charania set the whole league ablaze. It felt like the entire free agency period was on hold. No matter who the Suns gave up, a trade like that would have been monumental. However, this is still Reality and Durant opted to stay with the Nets. So with whatever you’re counting as a loss here is how the team is starting the pre-season.
How to start the season
The starting five in the 2022-2023 season is imagined to be: C. Paul, D. Booker, M. Bridges, C. Johnson, D. Ayton. With Cam Johnson getting the start over Jae Crowder. Even though many people believe Crowder plays better in a starting role, the majority of reports now are expecting a Jae Crowder trade to come soon. If a trade like that does get pulled, it would be hard to find a player to bring the same level of defensive presence to this lineup. There are no recently drafted players on this roster so the preseason will be spent configuring the bench rotation to fit any roster changes. Dario Saric is returning from injury coming off his ACL tear in the 2021 finals and his EuroBasket Tournament appearance for Croatia.
Now with the Robert Sarver catastrophe out of the way, with his departure from team ownership, the championship window has yet to close for this Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. The Big Sun Jerseys are back, It’s prepped to be an exciting year for the Suns. Here is how the preseason will look in the coming weeks.
10/5: Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers
10/10: Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets
10/12: Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns
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