Sun Rising in Phoenix

Tyler Valdez

The Suns turned heads some heads by going 8-0 in the NBA bubble last season.  Although they were unable to qualify for the playoffs, it was an encouraging display by the young team.  An off-season addition of Chris Paul to the young squad has created quite a bit of buzz in Phoenix.  He has a unique ability to manage the game in a similar fashion to a veteran QB.  His control of the game and efficiency should boost the stats of already talented players Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.  Booker can shoot the ball as well as anyone in the league, and Ayton has shown he can dominate the paint.  Adding CP3 gives the Suns a good chance of reaching the playoffs, something they haven’t achieved since losing to the Lakers in the conference finals of the 2010 season.

Phoenix did have to give up Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ricky Rubio in the deal to acquire Paul.  Oubre will be missed as he was enjoying the best season of his career before injury ended it short.  Rubio also had a good year, but adding Chris Paul is a no brainer improvement.  Free agent signings Jae Crowder and Dario Saric provide the Suns with veteran depth and consistent play at the forward positions, something the Suns have been lacking for some time now.

At the 10th pick of the 2020 draft the Suns selected 6-10 PF Jalen Smith.  He was effective at hitting the three-point shot in his last year at Maryland hitting over 36%.  His length and ability to hit jump shots will give Phoenix some flexibility in the fast paced game that is becoming more common in the NBA.  If he can hit shots and space the floor he will fit in well with center Deandre Ayton, who needs to have space down low to dominate.

The arrow is definitely pointing up in Phoenix, but fans should temper expectations.  While Paul, Booker, Ayton is a trio that should likely get them in the playoff discussion, its hard to see them being a front-runner in the loaded West.  While the Conference finals is a farfetched idea only being proposed by former players looking to stay relevant on network tv, they have all the pieces to have a successful season.

Tyler Valdez

Twitter- @tyylerv

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