Phoenix Suns’ 3 prime NBA playoff matchups and how to win

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, NBA playoffs
Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic (Photo by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns playoff matchup: The Denver Nuggets

This is likely to be a recurring theme – and a common gripe among Suns fans until something is done: The team needs depth at center.

As has been well-chronicled already, Dario Saric is a stunningly successful backup center – especially when he’s defending people other than Nikola Jokic.

But if the Suns draw the Nuggets during the playoffs, they’ll need more to defend The Joker than Deandre Ayton and Saric. Oh, and Frank Kaminsky isn’t the answer.

For now, the options are certainly limited. Kaminsky has been out of action recently and, even when he’s healthy, he plays much more like a stretch four. He poses little resistance against a force such as Jokic.

The buyout market is basically dried up, with the Suns perhaps holding out hope that the injured Hassan Whiteside becomes available via buyout.

Jokic looks like a 35-15 guy for every game of the potential series.

Jamal Murray is fully capable of ruining Suns hopes, too, as his performance during the Orlando “bubble” showed last season. He’s putting up career highs in points (21.3) and in 3-point field-goal percentage (.412) this season as the Nuggets continue to roll.

Denver has won 14 of its past 17 and all five since the trade-deadline acquisition of Aaron Gordon — who’s still only 25 years old.

Gordon has hit 25 of his 39 field-goal attempts, averaging 14.3 point per game in his four games with the Nuggets.

Michael Porter Jr. is now a legit force, too. Since the All-Star break, he’s putting up 20.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and some sharp shooting: .592 from the field including .523 from 3-point range.

One of the Suns’ backup center possibilities, JaVale McGee, also is now with the Nuggets.