Phoenix Suns: 3 Bold Predictions for the 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns and “hot takes” go hand in hand, and not because of any lame puns playing off their team name or their home city’s climate, but due to their position as contending team for the 2021-22 season.

With such a large spotlight shining down them, the Suns are a team frequently discussed everywhere from your local barber shop, to the desk of ESPN’s First Take. Due to this, a few exclamatory comments about them naturally arise from time to time, sometimes generating serious backlash and debate.

Getting into the action, below are three bold predictions for the Suns during the upcoming season.

Phoenix Suns Bold Predictions: Mikal Bridges a Finalist for DPOY Award

Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert only needs to win one more time to tie Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo for the most Defensive Player of the Year Awards ever. He still might do it, but Suns forward Mikal Bridges will contend with him.

With elite lateral quickness and a jaw-dropping wingspan, Bridges possesses all the tools necessary to defend along the wing at a top tier level. Last year, the league started to notice his talents, with him receiving 39 NBA All-Defensive Team votes.

But with another season under his belt though while also entering his athletic prime, Bridges will not only attain that defensive honor during the 2021-22 season, but scratch and claw at league’s most notable one.

Phoenix Suns Bold Predictions: Dario Saric Stays with the Team

The Suns added Dario Saric via a trade during the 2019 NBA Draft. Even though he only came over as a sweetener behind the Jarrett Culver for Cameron Johnson swap, he fit well with Phoenix during his two years with the team, either starting at power forward or backing up Deandre Ayton.

Unfortunately though, he tore his ACL during the NBA Finals, contributing to his team’s demise and almost certainly keeping him sidelined for this upcoming season. With him still under contract for two more seasons and only 27 years old, Saric consequently became a popular trade piece for the Suns to dangle above different teams all summer.

But even though trading Saric makes sense for a “win now” team like the Suns, they will not pull the trigger on a deal, and instead allow him to recover in Phoenix and then play out his contract’s final season the year after.

With Frank Kaminsky set to hit the free agent market again next summer, the Suns will let him walk as a less talented player, and instead welcome back a fully-healed Saric to take his rotation spot. This decision will grow more likely each day as Saric nears his return, and makes sense as it grants the team more future cap space to toy around with.

Phoenix Suns Bold Predictions: This Team will Win the NBA Championship

Only two games separated the Suns from championship glory last year. Being a team built around young talent, it would make zero sense for them to digress in any way, now with another year to improve.

Their opponents indeed upgraded their rosters this offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers added Russell Westbrook and several new shooters, while the Golden State Warriors plan to welcome back Klay Thompson.

However, the Suns carry unrivaled chemistry to go with their pending improvements. More often than people realize, that helps teams overcome newly assembled “super teams.” As recent examples, the 2013-14 Dallas Mavericks did it against LeBron James and the “Heatles,” as did the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons against Kobe Bryant’s Lakers.

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At the same time, almost nothing motivates a team like a squandered opportunity to achieve a greatness. With Monty Williams guiding them as well, the Suns will attack their opponents with a vengeance this year and ride that momentum until they find themselves hoisting the Larry O’Brien.