NBA preseason power rankings are beginning to leak with teams just days away from opening training camp. The Phoenix Suns will hold a media day Monday before heading to Flagstaff for the week, and unless Ryan McDonough pulls off another trade in the next few days, the roster and the team appear to be set.
The Suns will assuredly struggle this coming season. Just how much is hard to say. Last year, we learned that putting together a mismatch of solid role players doesn’t bode well in terms of success. This season, the roster has less of that winning experience with players like Jared Dudley and Luis Scola gone, but it also has more of an identity.
This isn’t a poor-shooting, unathletic, old-and-young team. It’s pretty young, still not great at shooting but has a more exciting foundation of talent. Jeff Hornacek has the horses to run and play defense, and even if they do the latter poorly, they’ll have an identity. So it’s a tradeoff.
Apparently, that’s not enough for projections to give them any credit, and for a tanking team that’s fine. The Suns are either No. 30 or No. 29 in a number of different projections.
- CBS Sports’ Matt Moore tabs Phoenix as the 29th-best team in the NBA, behind only the Philadelphia 76ers. “This team is going to be a lot of fun to watch lose by 30 every night,” Moore says.
- USA Today’s Adi Joseph also lists Phoenix at 29th and with an 18-64 record. It’s hard to imagine the Suns with seven less wins than last season, but I suppose we’re spoiled.
- Earlier this month, Joseph and Sean Highkin tabbed Phoenix as the 30th most-watchable team. Subjectively, this is easier to disagree with. The Suns will be fast, athletic and fun, we’d hope.
In general, it’s hard for an optimist to see Phoenix winning just 18 games. And if we’re comparing, it’s not outlandish to say the talent level isn’t in worse shape than what a team like the Jazz has — I’d put Utah and Philly behind the Suns in a power ranking. Charlotte, Boston and Orlando could have significant losing columns as well.
Several current Phoenix Suns have been featured in mixtapes by a YouTube user named Patrys15, and he discussed his affinity for making mixtapes in a fun feature by SB Nation’s Rodger Sherman.
Among the Phoenix players featured in his mixtapes are P.J. Tucker, Marcin Gortat and former Sun Garret Siler. All are well done, but to me, Tucker’s is the most interesting. I know a highlight mix is only that, but what he did to frustrate some very good players like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Rudy Gay was impressive, and Patrys captures that in his cut-ups.