When and if the Phoenix Suns resume play in Orlando this year, they will face an uphill battle to make the playoffs, meaning it is most likely that they will only be playing for narratives.
As uncertainly builds around the NBA’s return to play, the idea that the Phoenix Suns are going to have a legitimate chance to advance to the playoffs through the proposed format seems to diminish by the day.
With players reportedly being given a little over a week to decide if they are going to make the journey to Disney and enter the bubble, the reasons for the Suns to, for all intents and purposes, punt on the tournament, continue to mount. This is especially true now that Kelly Oubre is out for the remainder of the season.
All of this would leave the Phoenix Suns, and more specifically, the individual players, playing for one thing in Orlando besides money: narratives. Not that the players care about what is thought about them, but these eight games will have a chance to drastically change how people think about players, unfair or not.
The Phoenix Suns have a chance to rewrite their narratives in Disney.
While a lot of the narratives come down to winning or losing, the Suns could have their fair share of success and still wind up on the outside of the playoffs. If there are no playoffs in the Suns future that would prevent a lot of people from thinking differently of someone like Devin Booker, but any role player could still have their perception altered in a big way.
If Deandre Ayton continues to go out and put up 20 and 12 with good defense with the whole basketball world watching, his perception could do a 180 in the eyes of many. Or what if the Suns play spoiler in a game against a top team and Cam Johnson breaks out and hits six 3s? While these things might not have mattered as much in late March of a normal season they could have a much larger impact in this case.
While I said it would be hard for the narrative around Devin Booker to change without a lot of winning, his could also have the biggest swing. Imagine the impact it would have on how the basketball world thinks of Booker if the Suns were merely able to make it into the play-in game against the eight-seed.
Booker leading the Suns against stacked odds to get to that point would entrench him as a true all-star in the league and could even elevate him.
While the Phoenix Suns as a whole might not have much on the line in Orlando, the players themselves could have a big opportunity. With a quick turnaround for the off-season, a hot stretch in Disney would be fresh in executives’ minds over the break. With more eyes watching the Phoenix Suns than at any point the last eight years, the players have a big chance to change headlines.