3 things the Phoenix Suns need to do to beat the Denver Nuggets next year.
2. Find their Aaron Gordon
It is no secret that the Nuggets pulled off a masterstroke in trading for Gordon from the Orlando Magic. A player who was readily available at the time, and who only cost them Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a 2025 first round pick. Harris is a nice player, but there is little chance he would have been part of the Nuggets’ postseason rotation when it really mattered.
Gordon did not hit the ground running in Denver, but by the end of this season, he was one of the crucial pieces in as they won it all. He may not be the team’s third best player behind Jokic and Jamal Murray, depending on your point of view that would be Michael Porter Jr. But there is no doubt Gordon was the Nuggets’ best defender, who always drew the toughest assignment.
If the Suns want to have any hope of replicating the success of the Nuggets next season, they need to find their Gordon. This will be extremely difficult to do, both because the Suns don’t have a great cap situation heading into this offseason, and because players like Gordon are not made available via trade every day.
The Nuggets identified a situation with the Magic where they were ready to have a mini rebuild, and were through with the notion that Gordon could be their best player. The guy that that young team needed at the time. You would be hard pressed to find another team in the league in that situation, and so the Suns will have to be clever in how they approach this.
There may be some who argue that finding a legitimate third scoring option, as Porter Jr. was for most of the season, is even more important. But with Durant and Booker capable of putting up 40 apiece each night, and with the aforementioned defensive identity in mind, finding the bulky defender Gordon type to slow down Murray and even Jokic occasionally is of more importance.