This season is huge for the Phoenix Suns. If there was ever a chance to win the NBA title, other than the 2021 season that saw them make it to the last round, it’s this year. It’s obvious that the Suns believe they can now compete with anyone, as new owner Mat Ishbia said he feels they are the best team in the league.
But also as proof of that sentiment is all the offseason moves they made. Going all in on Bradley Beal getting Deandre Ayton out of town for Jusuf Nurkic and pieces was smart. They are now better on paper, and from what we have seen in free agency, they are better on the court, obviously taking everything with a grain of salt. Oh, and they have Kevin Durant, who is in a league of his own, and Devin Booker who seems to continue to get better every time we see him play.
Outside of their big moves, the team didn’t do anything else to get better, right? Wrong. They made many moves to their bench, which is the key factor in what will make their season successful. They added great depth pieces, and the roster is now full of talent with guys who fit. But the national media does not feel the same way about the Suns.
Here is a blurb from The Athletic’s John Hollinger, as he predicted the Western Conference standings and what he said about the Suns in his piece:
"“The depth still took some hits with the loss of Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet, Jock Landale and Torrey Craig. Keita Bates-Diop, in particular, looks like a tremendous value pickup, one who may ultimately have more impact than their big-name get (Eric Gordon), given his ability to play both forward spots. The bench still won’t be good by any means, but the back end of it won’t be Terence-Ross-in-a-playoff-game hopeless either.” – The Athletic"
I will say that while Hollinger is coming off as a “hater” per se, he did predict the Suns to finish third in the conference behind the Denver Nuggets, who he predicted would win one more game and one other team. Sure, finishing behind the Nuggets and a game at that is a great season, considering they are the reigning champions.
But that isn’t the crazy prediction Hollinger made. Instead, he decided that the Memphis Grizzlies, of all teams, would finish first in the West, even with Ja Morant missing the first 25 games of the season. The Grizzlies will be a good team in the 2023-24 season; however, are we sure they will be better than the Suns, who have the best group of three players in the league and an excellent bench with shooting and defense to go along with that? Not to mention, they have NBA Finals-winning head coach Frank Vogel orchestrating things, too.
This prediction is crazy and, frankly, doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. But, hey, that’s just another media member the Suns can prove wrong.