3 areas where the Phoenix Suns should be drastically improved in 2023-24

Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 18: Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 18: Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns are going to enter the 2023-24 season as one of the favorites to win what would be their first ever NBA championship. Despite what former franchise great Charles Barkley thinks, they do have the tools to be that good.

But in order to reach the lofty goals that the organization have set themselves, they are going to need to be elite in several key areas. Owner Mat Ishbia knows this, and so he went out this offseason and hired Frank Vogel to coach this group.

A defensive-minded individual, he will help to ensure that the Suns remain a top 10 outfit on that end of the court.

Last season they ranked seventh (112.3) defensively, but that was with over half a season of Mikal Bridges on the roster, as well as Chris Paul for a whole campaign. The addition of Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal shifts the focus of this team, but coach Vogel will try and keep things balanced.

He will be looking to get the best out of center Deandre Ayton, while newcomers such as Keita Bates-Diop and Eric Gordon will also be tasked with showing up defensively each night. Being as good as they can defensively is not the only area where the Suns will be looking to be competitive, with plenty of room for real improvement elsewhere.

3. Player Impact Estimate

You might think that Player Impact Estimate (PIE) is a statistic that isn’t worth considering, when in reality the opposite is true. Last season, the Suns ranked seventh in PIE (51.4), despite only having Durant for eight regular season games.

Unsurprisingly, the best teams in the NBA placed above the Suns here, such as the Boston Celtics (first, 53.4) and eventual champion, Denver Nuggets (third, 52.5). With the Suns employing three superstars in Durant, Beal and Devin Booker, as well as Ayton, they will need to have one of the best PIE ratings in the league if they’re serious about winning.

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This isn’t so much about chasing that goal as it is that number becoming a by-product of some high level play from this group. With so much emphasis on the stars here, they simply have to be better than most other players in the league if the Suns are serious about winning it all.

Luckily for them, Booker went up another level in the postseason last year, and that seems primed to continue. Durant is still a supernova talent in the tail end of his prime, and Beal is the biggest wildcard of all. There is no telling how good he can be in this system. If the Suns are as good as they think they are, then this number is going to rise, it is as simple as that.