With the regular season meeting its end yesterday and the play-in tournament soon to follow, the long awaited reunion between the Phoenix Suns and the NBA playoffs is now just around the corner. Ending a 10-year drought, the Suns know exactly how much this moment means to their fans, even despite their unfamiliarity with the postseason atmosphere.
Whether good or bad, a memorable playoff performance can easily allow a player push his regular season outing into the back of everyone’s mind. People only seem to care about how you play when it matters most, and this concept not only applies to basketball, but other sports, and really all aspects of competition as well. Depending on the circumstances, this phenomenon can either work as a profitable blessing or as an unfortunate curse.
During Phoenix’s last postseason venture, it was Steve Nash and Jason Richardson who elevated their games once reaching the game’s biggest stage, with Nash scoring additional 3.5 points per game and Richardson scoring an additional 4.1 points per game during the run. Although our modern Suns differ greatly from this ancestral team, they would be wise to at least try and mimic the efforts of those prior.
Simultaneously, avoiding a downturn like the one Amar’e Stoudemire experienced that same postseason remains important as well. Stoudemire’s points, rebounds, and field goal percentage decreased during the trip, and then he departed Phoenix to join the New York Knicks shortly after.
Boom or bust, make or break, it all holds true for Phoenix now. But although everyone on the roster is likely to try and use the postseason’s bright lights to their advantage, these three Suns have the most to prove during the 2021 NBA Playoffs