2. Devin Booker needs a buddy
There is no doubt that Devin Booker is a superstar in this league. Booker is 10th in scoring with his 27.6 points per game, but his value to the team and what he brings is much more than just buckets.
Booker has upped his playmaking with Paul out, handing out ten assists twice since Paul has been out and nine on one other occasion. Book has also been grabbing more rebounds and turning the ball over less since Paul went out, as he puts the team on his back.
However, that has been the problem. While Booker has been consistent – scoring at least 20 in 13 of 16 games – no one else has provided the same consistent impact.
Sure, Mikal Bridges brings his A-game defensively every night, but at under 16 points per game, Bridges is not consistently delivering on the offensive end. Nor is Ayton, who is averaging less than 15 points per contest after signing a max-level extension in the summer.
Sometimes the lack of scoring for both is just part of the design, but for Phoenix to reach its goal, both players need to step up, and someone needs to be the number two to go with Booker as the one.
3. Even a little bit of defense is more than most
One prominent theme across the whole of the NBA this season is that points are in and defense is out. The Suns are doing their part, averaging 115 points per game.
The Sacramento Kings are setting the pace averaging over 121 points per contest, while the LA Clippers are dead last, scoring just over 105 points per game.
Of course, the inverse of these high-scoring teams is true, too, as the worst team defensively, the San Antonio Spurs, give up over 120 points per night, while the best defensive team, the Dallas Mavericks, concedes only 105 points per game.
Whereas the Suns are only 10th in scoring, with their 115 per night, they are fifth in points allowed, giving up only 107.9 points per game. This leaves Phoenix with a league-best differential of 7.1 points per contest.
If the Suns can keep scoring like they are and playing just enough defense, they should easily win 50 games and might be more ready than most for the different basketball that the playoffs bring.