5 key aspects to the Suns getting over the championship hump

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Phoenix Suns had an extremely disappointing conclusion to the 2021-22 NBA season, crumbling at home in game seven of their second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.

But while that performance left a sour taste in the mouths of Suns’ fans and NBA pundits in general, it shouldn’t completely overshadow what was an incredibly impressive regular season.

Phoenix finished with a 64-18 record, eight games clear of the Memphis Grizzlies atop the Western Conference. With that having come on the back of an NBA Finals appearance the season prior, fans should remain optimistic on what this team can produce moving forward.

There are undoubtedly some issues that head coach Monty Williams, general manager James Jones, and other key figures within the franchise need to address. These became glaringly obvious as the series against Dallas played out, ultimately culminating in a quite shocking first half performance in game seven.

Here are five aspects to help take the Phoenix Suns over the hump and to championship glory in 2022-23.

1.    Devin Booker’s playmaking

One reason for pessimism among some is the expected decline of All-Star point guard Chris Paul. How much longer, at 38 years of age, can he be expected to carry the Suns offense?

This is where Booker’s evolution as a playmaker becomes an important component. When Paul was injured towards the end of the regular season, the 25-year-old took the point-guard responsibilities and often performed spectacularly.

This included a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in February where he became the first player in franchise history to record a stat line of 25 or more points, 12 or more assists, six or more steals and five or more rebounds.

Paul has struggled at times through the latter end of the last two postseasons, perhaps calling for a change in player management next regular season. He shouldn’t be asked to play more than sixty games, and even when he is on the floor, we should see a decrease in usage rate as Booker’s responsibilities grow further.