While Booker’s ascension into the upper echelons of the NBA elite is a wonderful story and will likely need to be for the Suns to win it all, D-Book was not the only positive to come out for the -1 series win.
Positive 2: Torrey Craig can be a legitimate third scorer for Phoenix
It is not the headline one would have expected coming into the postseason. We at Valley of the Suns figured Torry Craig would be the Suns’ sixth man. Instead, Monty Williams’ faith in Craig’s experience – and emerging offensive game down the stretch of the season – paid off with Craigh having a break-out series.
We must qualify our break-out statement because Craig’s breaking-out differs from Durant’s. However, for a 32-year-old forward, who averaged less than eight points per night to come out in the playoffs, average double figures, and have his highest single-scoring night of the season, 22 points in game one, was certainly unexpected.
Craig came back to earth scoring only 8 points in the series’ final two games but did average 18 through the first three and finished at 12.4 for the series, still more than 5 above his regular season average. Those games and that success will be important for Craig and the Suns as the post-season progresses.
Craigh may not always stay in the starting line-up, but that success from behind the arc will be there with him and should help to make him a legitimate option to spread the floor and provide some scoring when others are not.
Positive 3: The Suns have yet to play their best basketball for 48 minutes
Maybe this is a negative, but ultimately it is positive; the Suns beat the Clippers without playing their best basketball, and certainly not for 48 minutes. In the third quarter of game five, where Booker was on fire, the team scored 50, and they held the Clippers to 24 points. However, that was one quarter, and the Suns have played 20 in the playoffs thus far.
What makes this a positive is that Booker has missed much of the season, so his tank is still plenty full, and as noted at the start of the article, Durant has only been with the team for a cup of coffee. The Suns are a team that is growing and improving because they have room to grow and improve, which should scare other teams. Things are not all roses and sunshine at the Footprint Center.