5. What’s the importance of this upcoming road trip?
Zimmerman: It’s no more important than any other stretch. The Suns must remain patient in finding their identity, but losing too much will cause some locker room tension considering the unclear roles — not to mention falling too far behind in the playoff race at this point would be hard to overcome.
Chasen: Absolutely humongous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this because the team is at .500, or because the Suns have struggled the last couple games, but rather because the opponents the Suns will face are very subpar (minus the game in Toronto). If the Suns can’t get at least four wins against the Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, Pacers and Raptors, then I don’t think that fans can realistically expect that this team will be able to make the playoffs.
Weisert: Bonding through adversity. Road trips are hard, even if the team is flying on a chartered plane and staying in five star hotels. This team needs to bond the way last years Suns did, and this road trip is the first step towards that.
Schall: It can have a significant impact on their playoff chances. In the ultra-competitive West the Suns can’t afford to fall more than a couple of games out at any point in the season. More importantly if this team doesn’t start playing with more cohesion and consistency, they’re not going to be anywhere close to a playoff spot regardless. New Orleans is legit and Oklahoma City’s going to make a massive run as soon as they get healthy. No, the playoffs aren’t literally on the line, but in this conference with 20 of the next 28 games on the road, they might as well be.
Saar: The Suns tend to play up to most competition (which is good), while playing down far too much to worse teams (which is certainly not good). They should be favorites against the Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, and the Pacers, while the Raptors game is a toss-up. A winning streak here would give them confidence and hopefully work some kinks out.