3 Phoenix Suns who opponents will target in the playoffs

The Phoenix Suns have a number of players who opponents are going to target defensively over the course of a seven game series.

Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns
Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The Phoenix Suns have had an up and down regular season to this point. So much so that the idea of having to feature in the play-in tournament for the first time in franchise history is still not out of the question, even if the team have won three games to move away from that mini tournament.

With the Suns finally healthy - and Bradley Beal putting in the kind of performances that made the organization go out and get him last summer - the outlook at this moment in time is a bright one. With one of the toughest remaining schedules left to play though, that could all change very quickly.

Once the postseason does finally begin though, the Suns are going to find that some of their key players are going to be targeted defensively by opponents.

This is not a situation that is unique to the Suns, but it is one head coach Frank Vogel has to figure out, and quickly, to ensure they aren't met with an early playoff exit. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker might be able to outscore everybody in a seven games series - but if their teammates are continually getting picked off on the other end - then their talents will only take this group so far.

Which might explain why coach Vogel is still going 14 deep with his rotation some nights, even though he really should have a better idea of who his eight or nine guys are with so few regular season games remaining. These three key players are going to get picked on though, and the Suns have to be ready.

3. Jusuf Nurkic

The most obvious and concerning player to appear on this list is clearly center Jusuf Nurkic, because of how critical he has become for this team. He has started every single one of the 67 games he has played so far this season, and has averaged a shade of 11 points and 11 boards per game as well.

The beauty of Nurkic offensively is how he knows his role around three stars, can pass and handle the ball well for a big man, but also battles in the paint night after night against the true brutes in this league. Not only that - but when Booker was last out with an ankle sprain - Nurkic took on more offensive responsibility and brought the ball up the court some and created that little bit more too.

Everybody likes having Nurkic around, and rightly so. He has also remained much healthier than anybody could have predicted either. But he's simply no match for Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets for example - not that anybody is - while a more traditional center like Rudy Gobert can have success against him too. If the opposing big drags Nurkic out of the paint, that is a massive problem.

So if the big Bosnian is going to get fried by opponents in the playoffs, and Drew Eubanks is the only real backup available to the Suns, then that is a problem. Coach Vogel likely will play Durant some at the five to combat this, while the trio of Nurkic, Durant and Bol Bol have had some success together. When you look through the West though, plenty of opponent's eyes will light up when seeing Nurkic.