The Phoenix Suns had dropped their last three games before beating the Golden State Warriors and are now 9-8 on the season.
But they have shown zero signs of consistency, so should this stretch of poor play raise questions and concerns for fans?
The answer to this question is twofold.
The Phoenix Suns had much higher expectations, especially after a 5-1 start, so anything less feels almost like a failure.
Suns fans have seen this time and time again, at the start of last year, expectations went through the roof, and they calmed down, but the 8-0 “Bubble Suns” put a taste in the mouths of fans, and kept them hungry.
With addition to Hall of Famer Chris Paul, those expectations that were already optimistic kept climbing to the point where some NBA analysts were picking the Suns to finish THIRD in the already rough Western Conference.
So in terms of the expectations placed upon the Suns, yes fans should be panicking because the Suns are losing to very subpar teams, the Wizards, Thunder, Grizzlies and Pistons. A top-3 team in the West should and would not let that stretch of games ever happen.
And obviously, the NBA this year is unlike any other where because of COVID it feels like anyone can beat anyone on any given night. However, that is what separates the great teams and contenders from the good and pretenders.
The inconsistency from the whole roster has been something that should be both concerning and give fans hope. By that, I mean if and when the Suns start performing all on the same page this is a very scary team capable of beating anyone in the NBA (yes, I just said that).
On the other hand, it has been seen that this team can lose to anyone in the league as well because of this inconsistency. So in terms of the team that everyone wants the Suns to be, yes there should panic for those folks. However, for those that have been around this franchise for the past 10-15 years, you have seen this narrative before, the highs and the lows of what it actually means to be a Suns fan.
In terms of the Phoenix Suns fans who have been around the past 10 years, there really is no need to panic.
The Suns have not been to the playoffs for 10 years, and this team gives us the best chance to end that streak. Being 9-8 and having lost to the teams they have and the ways they have lost some of these games there is definitely a frustration factor, but there has to be some acceptance for growing pains, some learning curves, and just patience on getting healthy.
Dario Saric being sidelined has had a tremendous factor on this season, and recently Devin Booker nursing a hamstring injury. I understand that this was said all of last year the “what ifs” but when the Suns do get healthy this team is a playoff team, there is zero doubt about it.
Booker is adapting to the step that will take him to the next tier of NBA stars, playmaking. Chris Paul is teaching him how to be more than just the pure scorer that he is, and Booker wants to accept this role and be a top-10 player in the league, and that requires more than just putting the ball in the basket.
He is defending at a level he has yet to in his career, and his assists have seen a slight increase as well, but with these improvements there have been some serious growing pains. He is turning the ball over at a career rate at the moment, and has not been scoring at the rate we are used to as fans.
But when it comes down to it, this once very young team is now learning to mature and they are being taught how to win.
As fans, we want that to like an on and switch and have that transition be that easy, but there has to be a process to it. All it takes is for it all to come together. People are probably losing their minds reading this, saying, “How is it going to all come together. It takes years for a team to gel.”
The Phoenix Suns core has already been playing together for years, and when they added Paul and Jae Crowder they knew it would take some time to adjust, but when it comes down to it, they are some of the NBA’s best professionals.
The time it takes them to adjust to a team will be minimal, so I would not be surprised when Saric and Booker are back in the lineup if the Suns go on a stretch of wins and the league is reminded again that the Suns are capable of great things.
Just like an NBA game is a game of many runs, the NBA season is also a game of runs.
Panic should be the last thing that Suns fans are doing. Fans should be doing what they have been for years on years now and that is be patient.
Wait for Booker and Saric to come back, wait for Paul and general manager James Jones to make this team consistent, because it will happen, and do not be surprised if Jones has something up his sleeve, possibly making a move that truly solidifies the Suns as a contender, because Suns fans have been waiting far too long to hear that word, contender.