Phoenix Suns’ trio hard done by in ‘NBA’s Best Big 3s’ Ranking

Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns have the fifth best ‘big three’ in the NBA, according to a recent article by Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report.

The trio of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton will be back together next season, with the latter recently re-signing with the franchise on a four-year $133 million deal.

The Phoenix Suns have been ranked as having the fifth best trio in the NBA, a mark they should be dissapointed in given their recent success.

Swartz had the the Suns below the Milwaukee Bucks (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday), Golden State Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green), Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons) and Philadelphia 76ers (Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey).

Suns’ fans can probably accept being behind the top two – they lost to Milwaukee in the Finals last year, while Golden State’s trio have won four of the past eight championships including the most recent.

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

However, fans and the players themselves may take exception to their place below the Nets and 76ers. Since the franchise traded for Chris Paul in the 2020 offseason, the Suns have been the best regular season team in the league by a fair margin.

Compare this to the Nets, who’s supposed big three remains simply a hypothetical at this stage. Durant, Irving and Simmons have never actually played a game together, and there remains a good chance they never will given Durant’s trade request.

Sure, the numbers with Durant and Irving on the floor together are great, but the reality is that the Nets have won one playoff series in the duo’s three seasons together. Irving is an unpredictable wildcard and the same can be said for Simmons, their most recent acquisition in the James Harden mid-season trade.

Speaking of Harden, Philadelphia’s place above Phoenix can also be questioned. Both trios are rather similar – they contain a big man alongside dynamic guards.

You can make the case that if they’re all playing at their best, the backcourt duos cancel each other out. That leaves Ayton and Embiid, which of course you’d take the latter.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

But the 76ers had just as, if not a more disappointing playoff exit as the Suns. You could make the argument that, given Harden’s decline in the last 18 months, Booker and Paul are the best two guards in a pool of those four players.

Swartz does state that “these are the Best Big Threes heading into the 2022-23 season”. While the projection is understandable, maybe more weight should be put into what the trios have done in the past.

If that were the case, then you’d have to have the Suns above Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Swartz also states that “if Phoenix can somehow turn a package of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and first-round picks and swaps into Kevin Durant, the Suns will easily have the best Big Four in the NBA.

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At the end of the day, these projections are made to be rewritten. The Warriors used negative media motivation to springboard themselves back into title contention, and the Suns will probably do the same in the wake of their embarrassing playoff exit.