Are the Phoenix Suns a playoff team?

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

In a season that has had highs and lows, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in a position to possibly play postseason basketball.

The Phoenix Suns started out with a red hot 7-4 record but quickly fell off due to injuries and the untimely suspension of Deandre Ayton. However, they have been given the chance to prove that they are a playoff team.

It was announced that the Phoenix Suns would be included in the NBA’s return to play in Orlando and would be given a shot to make a play-in tournament to decide final playoff seeding. After having a terrific start to the season, the Suns continued to drop lower, and lower into the standings, and now they can overcome their shortcomings and surprise the world.

It all begins with the Suns starting five. Ricky Rubio already has playoff experience and probably just played the best season of his career. Before the stoppage of play, Rubio was averaging 13.1 points per game and 8.9 assists, which is 3rd in the entire NBA.

Rubio showed an improved 3-point shot this season and has been a leader since day one. With the combination of his on-court play alongside his leadership, he has shown that he is the exact point guard you would want running a playoff, hopeful young team.

Next to Rubio in the backcourt is superstar Devin Booker, Booker is an elite scorer, an underrated facilitator, and the perfect player you would want to build a franchise around. In his first All-Star season, Booker averaged 26.1 points and 6.6 assists on 48/36/91 shooting splits.

Book has shown a huge leap in efficiency this season and was even in the 50/40/90 club early in the season. Pairing Booker, (who in my eyes is what Steve Nash would be if he was a primary scorer instead of a playmaker) alongside Rubio and the rest of the Suns roster makes them a force to be reckoned with in the postseason.

Devin Booker has been the headliner for the Phoenix Suns, but this year he has had help from others on the squad.

Mikal Bridges has also improved greatly from last season, Mikal specializes in his defense and 3-point shooting. It has taken Mikal a while to find his rhythm from outside during his short NBA career, but he sure found it during the latter part of this season.

From late January to the season stoppage Mikal was averaging11/4/2/1 on 52/40/96 shooting. Now I don’t expect Mikal to replicate those numbers with a completely healthy Suns team, however, he can be just as effective without scoring as much.

Fan-favorite and Valley Boyz CEO Kelly Oubre Jr. is one of the biggest reasons why Suns fans are so excited for the future. Traded to Phoenix mid-way through last season and enjoying a breakout season in Phoenix, Oubre has averaged 18.7/6.4/1.5 and become one of the most exciting players in the NBA to watch.

While Kelly can drop a career-high 39 points in a dominant win over a powerhouse team like the Rockets, he is also one of the best defenders on the Suns. Unfortunately, it was announced earlier that Oubre would miss the remainder of the season while he continues to rehab his knee. This could be a huge reason why the Suns may end up missing the playoffs.

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Finally, we have Deandre Ayton, the former number one overall pick and future multiple-time All-Star. If it weren’t for Ayton’s 25 game suspension after the first game of the season, I believe the Suns would easily already be in the playoffs.

Ayton is a double-double machine and also took a huge leap on defense this year with19 points a game, 12 rebounds, and almost two blocks a game at 1.7. He has played very well in almost every game this season and hopefully, this will continue. Ayton was the missing piece from the Suns starting lineup this season, and now he’s here, healthy, and ready to win games.

Coming off the bench, the Suns have fan-favorite Jevon Carter, a defensive-minded PG who has shown the ability to shoot from outside and hustles every play. Ty Jerome is also a 3 and D Point who still has a lot to prove, and he is one of the more exciting players the Suns have in terms of potential. Cam Johnson,  yet another rookie the Suns are excited about, has provided solid defense and a great three-point shot, which is very exciting.

Dario Saric was brought in to be a starter but was eventually moved to the bench. However, he can still shoot from deep and even showed solid rebounding this season. However, with the injury to Oubre, you wonder who steps in, Dario or Frank? Or do they insert Cam? Definitely something to watch for. Frank Kaminsky missed a considerable amount of time with injury, but the belief is that that he is now healthy.

Kaminsky is a shooter and has flashed a little bit of an inside game during preseason and the start of the regular season, which should really excite Suns fans.

However, the most important player on the Phoenix Suns bench is none other than Aron Baynes, Baynes was a full-time starter during Ayton’s absence and he did a wonderful job covering for the Suns star big man.

Aron is similar to the other two Suns back up bigs in that he can shoot from deep. He is also a great hustle player and gives 110% every time he steps on the floor. If the Suns starters and bench work together despite the setback of Kelly’s injury and give it their all, I’m sure we’ll see them going against the Lakers during the first round of the playoffs.

Next. Mikal Bridges has continued to show his value for the Phoenix Suns. dark