Through 10 games of the 2023-24 NBA season, the Phoenix Suns have an underwhelming 4-6 record. Good enough for the ninth spot in the Western Conference, with two straight losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder to add to their woes.
Franchise talisman Devin Booker has appeared in only two games, while Bradley Beal is still on some kind of minutes restriction by the organization as a result of a back tweak. Kevin Durant has been brilliant – as have several of the Suns’ role players – but that’s not going to make much noise in such a competitive environment.
Which is why it is now time for the Suns to begin to panic about where they sit in the pecking order, and how they have come to be where they are.
On paper this group still looks like it could make it all the way to the NBA Finals, but crucially to this point, a lot of what we think we know about this team is based on what we think we know about them, and not what we’ve actually seen. Look away now Suns fans…
3. They’ve lost winnable games
If you check out the Tankathon website – a place Suns fans won’t have to go for a long time with their lack of draft picks – this team currently has the 11th hardest schedule remaining. That is not the problem though, instead it is the fact that Tankathon ranks the San Antonio Spurs as currently one of the five easiest opponents a team could have.
That same Spurs roster beat the Suns twice in a row last month, in The Valley no less, and that shines a bigger spotlight on a huge issue this franchise has right now. They have dropped winnable games, no matter what way you look at it.
The Spurs losses were unacceptable – even if they did come in contentious circumstances – and they needed overtime to beat the listless Chicago Bulls recently. This despite having Beal back for that game. Their other losses have been to the Lakers (twice), Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers loss you can understand, although splitting the games with the Lakers would have been more acceptable. Like the Suns, they too are built on creaky foundations, and find themselves with a 5-5 record. They are the kind of older group that the Suns, if they want to win a championship, have to be beating.
The Thunder loss was an ugly one, because it exposed the truly frailties here. This is again a team the Suns should be beating with two of their three stars out there, but they were exposed by a younger roster. With the Minnesota Timberwolves up next, the prospect of slinking to 4-7 is a real one for this franchise. Given the level of opponent so far, that is unacceptable.