Poll: Is Phoenix For Real?

The injury-depleted Warriors’ shocking stumble (2-5 and fading fast) out of the gate isn’t the only Western Conference development to stun many in the early throes of this NBA season. A positive surprise has been the remarkable early run by the Suns (5-2). Phoenix’s management and ownership groups in recent years have been notoriously dysfunctional (shout-out to Kevin Arnovitz), but suddenly, the team’s production may be catching up to their promise.

Heading into the season, expectations for Phoenix were low. The team has won 24 or fewer games in each of the last four seasons (i.e. every prior year of Devin Booker’s NBA career). The Suns’ talented young core of Booker and 2018 No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton (currently serving a 25-game suspension after violating the league’s drug policy) underwhelmed together last season. But that was last season.

Now, under the stabilizing stewardship of new head coach Monty Williams, and with the Suns’ solid offseason veteran additions in point guard Ricky Rubio and center Aron Baynes exceeding expectations, things are finally looking sunny in Phoenix.

Phoenix currently stands at second place in the Western Conference and could move into a tie for first if the Lakers lose tonight. The Suns have racked up quality wins against the Clippers and Sixers (still formidable, even sans a suspended Joel Embiid).

As The Ringer’s  noted today, Phoenix has been impressive on both ends of the floor. The Suns are among just two teams (the other being the 5-1 Miami Heat) currently occupying the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating. Their plus-8.6 point differential ranks fourth in the league. Booker, perpetual All-Star-in-waiting, appears to have taken another leap. New young forwards Dario Saric (acquired in a summer trade) and Kelly Oubre (added in a trade last season) have offered other competent scoring options.

Baynes, though, has been a particular revelation, as Cody Cunningham details on Suns.com. The Australian center’s three-point shooting has taken an astronomical leap. He is currently connecting on 48.4% on his looks from deep across 4.4 attempts per game, far eclipsing his career averages of 33.3% from long distance on 0.3 tries per contest. His scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks are all at career marks. His numbers will come back down to earth once he returns to the bench, but his terrific start makes him look a steal for Phoenix nevertheless.

What do you think? Can Phoenix make the playoffs this season?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your prediction.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

newest oldest

25 thoughts on “Poll: Is Phoenix For Real?

  1. MiserablePadreFan

    I predicted 50-32, 5th seed before the season started. I was the laughing stock on my Facebook post. Who’s laughing now huh?!? WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?!?

    • I’m laughing so hard I fell out of my chair. 50 wins for Phoenix this year? Most hilarious thing I’ve heard today.

  2. ChapmansVacuum

    Hope Baynes dirty slide under playing ass breaks everything in both Fing hands!

    • yoyo137

      It’s a broken hand that he’ll come back from in 4 months in a season that was lost anyway. And it was unintentional anyways get over it

  3. Rewane

    Two years ago, Magic started the season with an 8-4 run and finished with 25 wins. Last year, Grizzlies got off with a 12-5 run and was first seed for a while and ended up with 33 wins. The Suns might be no different. Booker, Rubio, and Baynes’ hot three-point shooting looks very unsustainable.
    I will be surprised to see they make the playoffs, but Booker probably can reach 30 wins in a season the first time in his career.

    • SoCalBrave

      But their defense plays. This team is not going to collapse. They might not make the playoffs, but they’ll be in contention and finish .500 or better.

  4. Curtisrowe

    They might…might. win 40 or so, but that isn’t going to be enough in the West.

    • Kudos to Monty Williams. Though it might not last he deserves this nice start.

  5. Yes. They’re for real in that their improvement is categorical. The players they added have the skill sets to enhance the young talent they returned. I thought they had a chance to double their win total, and I’ll stay with that for now. Playoffs in the West will be tough, but with GSW looking like a lottery team, they can certainly make a run. Great job by GM Jones. Jerome (another great pick up) hasn’t even suited up yet.

    Looking for some posts from those on here who mocked the Suns off season?

  6. harden-westbrook-mvps

    The start by the Suns is way more shocking than that of the Warriors. It was only a matter of time before Steph got hurt. Curry is about as durable as Chris Paul, who’s 3 years older than him. Obviously the Suns have a much better chance of making the playoffs, but even if they do they’ll be a one-and-done team.

  7. mikey

    They needed a competent coach and a leader with playoff experience. I’m not saying booker isn’t a leader, but with baynes and Rubio they have more direction then before. Before it was just a bunch of young guys without any experience and fight. And Monty is a real coach. Earl Watson didn’t know what he was doing. And Igor tried but just didn’t have that leadership ability that Monty has, that makes someone believe in them and want to follow them.

    • mikey

      But to answer yes they are real. Idk if they’ll make the playoffs. But I can certainly seem them fighting for a spot, especially since this whole beginning of the season has been totally unpredictable. I won’t count them out.

  8. Archie M.

    You know who’s for real? The HOUSTON ROCKETS. What we are seeing now is really who they are and who they will be for the rest of the season till they lose in the playoffs….unless they replace D’Antoni and trade a couple of players and acquire a free agent mid-season.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They started 11-14 last year and everyone wrote them off, remember?

      This year there getting off to another slow start, but don’t worry.

  9. Tazza

    They won’t make the playoffs but I thought they would be pretty good. I knew Rubio would be a good fit, Booker is an amazing scorer but he needs someone to create the rest of the offence which is what Rubio does. Rubio is also a good defender usually and is a good leader. Baynes was also a solid pick up with lots of experience, I doubt he continues to shoot 3’s this good for the year tho. Another huge improvement was in coaching always knew whoever got Monty Williams would be lucky.
    My other concern with this team other than Baynes 3 shot during off is 1. What’s the future at SF, is it Oubre, is it Bridges or is it Cam Johnson. And once you chose who it is don’t just throw away the others like you did with Warren. And 2. The front office makes some really stupid decisions like giving up Warren for next to nothing, moving down in the draft for Cam Johnson who was a reach and wasn’t needed. They have drafted SF after SF after SF (Josh Jackson, Bridges and Johnson) which is just stupid for a rebuilding team.

    I hope the Suns do well I but I don’t have faith in the front office and I think if they lose heaps this year again Booker might want out

  10. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Phoenix is far more likely to make the playoffs than Minnesota.

    • Tazza

      I Don’t rate TWolves either. That backcourt is really weak, Covington is really nice but he’s not going to give you 20. KAT is great offensively but gets exposed in the paint. They just have a culture of being soft, just look at Wiggins. I like Culver he’s going to be good but they won’t do anything this year

  11. No.

    – Unsustainable shooting percentages right now.

    – Aron Baynes didn’t magically turn into an All Star at 33.

  12. azentropy

    Probably not as the West is brutal. But will be a marked improvement over last year and are at least fun to watch again!

  13. jsay2948

    Watch the team play, and I’ll bet you say yes. This is a solid young team, and I expect them to get in with a 7 seed. If not for 2 one-point losses, they’d be in first right now.

  14. SoCalBrave

    When they had the O/U on the Suns, they set it at 29.5 and I thought the over was the easiest call if the Western conference. But at the time I was thinking they would win about 35 games or so. Now I’m dreaming of playoffs and a 46-36 record… Please keep it going Suns!

Leave a Reply