For now, the Phoenix Suns sit as the worst team in the Western Conference (record wise). With a record of 18-41, the Sun’s season has set, but the future may be bright.
Last season, Phoenix finished with a 23-59 record behind (afterwards fired) coach Jeff Hornacek. The first season with newly signed agent Tyson Chandler, who brought a lot of hype to Phoenix. Injury would take hold, Eric Bledsoe seeing only 37 games and Brandon Knight only 52. A season later, we may be watching a rerun of last year.
After drafting PF/C Dragan Bender, PG Tyler Ulis, and signing (former fan favorite) free agents Jared Dudley and Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix thought they had found the missing pieces for success. Again this year, it was not the case. The Suns have the worst record in the Western Conference, the second worst in the NBA. With such young promising talent, what’s wrong with the Suns?
The 4th overall pick, Bender has been nothing short of a disappointment. He’s averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game at at SEVEN FOOT ONE. Ulis hasn’t performed either, but he wasn’t a top-5 pick. Barbosa is showing his age without the superstar system he knew at Golden State. However, at 13 minutes a game, he’s probably doing exactly what he was signed for. Veteran forward Dudley is on the decline as well, but is producing more than Barbosa with 7 points and 3 rebounds a game.
All that being said, a lot of good things are happening in Phoenix. All young teams that make it start that way, young. It takes a couple seasons for players to blend and get to know the system put in place by the coaching staff. I have a feeling that success for the Suns is right around the corner.
Devin Booker is a top-5 shooting guard in this league, averaging 21 points and 3 assists a game. This season alone he has recorded sixteen games of 25+ points or more, and made ten more three-pointers than last season (109). Bledsoe, making up for his lack of time last season, is playing great. Playing like a true point guard, he’s averaging 21.3 points, and 6.3 assists per game. He’s recorded 8 double-doubles, and is averaging career-highs in assists and points per game. A 15-year veteran in this league, center Tyson Chandler is certainly not playing like it. The 2016-2017 season is only the 4th season in which he’s averaged more than eleven rebounds (11.4). On top of all of this, Brandon Knight has accepted his role coming off the bench, playing impressive at a minimum. If Lou Williams wasn’t having such a fantastic season, you could argue his contention for sixth man of the year. Off the bench, Knight is averaging 11 points, 2.4 assists, and 2 rebounds a game.
There’s a lot of good and bad things going on with this Phoenix Suns team. This year, the sun has set, and the playoffs aren’t looming on the horizon. However, in the years to come, this is a team that could make some noise should their stars develop.