Phoenix Suns fans sure to be aggrieved by 2025 projections

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images) /

Forecasting what the NBA landscape may look like in six months is an arduous task in itself, let alone three years into the future. The Phoenix Suns are one of many teams blessed with high-level young talent, making the next few seasons exciting but hard to predict.

Phoenix Suns may rightfully feel aggrieved by a recent forecast that has them as the ninth best team heading into the 2025-26 season.

The Athletic NBA Show undertook an intriguing discussion over the weekend, with three panel members, Andrew Schlecht, Keith Parish and Katie Heindl, completing a snake draft on their power rankings for the 2025-26 season.

The preface of this exercise was to simply project who would be the best teams in the league at that point, not who would have the brightest future or the best young assets. It’s fair to say that the results may have some scratching their head.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were picked first, an understandable decision given their recent trade for a young All-Star in Donovan Mitchell, who now joins Evan Mobley, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen in an enviable young core.

Darius Garland and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Darius Garland and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The NBA finalist Boston Celtics were chosen second thanks to their young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, while the presence of Ja Morant had the Memphis Grizzlies picked third. The following five included the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns were finally picked last in what ended as a 9-team draft. Although the top five are reasonable projections, Suns fans may vehemently argue the occupancy of the Pistons, Pacers and Mavericks above them.

The Pistons and Pacers are built around one sole player at present, with Cade Cunningham and Tyrese Haliburton expected to be All-Stars by 2025. Outside of them though, are any of their young pieces, whether present or future picks, really going to be impacting winning by that time?

The Mavericks do have Luka Doncic, but predicting them to be better than the Suns is a massive vote of confidence in a front office that’s yet to put necessary parts around their superstar.

Phoenix could have a core of players who should all be in their absolute primes – Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson will be 29, Devin Booker will be 28, and Deandre Ayton will be 27. Sure, Chris Paul may have retired by that point, but you’d back the front office to find a suitable replacement in the next three years.

Next. The unfair comparison between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. dark

While it could have been worse, Phoenix couldn’t have been picked at all, the notion of them being behind the likes of Detroit and Indiana represents a fairly pessimistic view of the young talent the Suns possess and where they’ll be in three years.