Yesterday I began a journey I’ll be taking over the next three weeks, going through all 30 NBA teams and bringing you a preview of what is to come of the 82-game season. NBA Team Trigger will hopefully be a reflection of what the NBA looks like in April.
Last Season: 39-43 (projected wins at 42.5) and missed playoffs
Key Additions: Tyson Chandler, Devin Booker (rookie)
Key Losses: Danny Granger, Marcus Morris, Brandan Wright
2015-16 Vegas: 36.5 projected wins and 125:1 odds to win NBA Championship
If you remember, I called the Phoenix Suns losers in my NBA Offseason 2015 Winners & Losers article, and good reason. The big names they pursued (LaMarcus Aldridge) chose not to take their talents to Phoenix, and who blames him. They then overpay for Tyson Chandler, though one who may contribute, will not be worth $12 million.
The Suns are that team who are lacking that star. They trade Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas away, so I don’t know how much those trades midseason last year helped any. Phoenix, to me, hasn’t replaced that. After making those trades, they fell out of playoff contention and ended up foregoing the postseason. This year may not get any better, as Vegas (seen above) believes they’ll take a step back from 39 wins last year.
A storyline that intrigues me is this Markeiff Morris story. I feel ‘Keiff doesn’t want to be there after the organization traded away his brother (and who would after that), so I wonder how much he advocates to be traded, and if Phoenix ends up caving by the deadline. This might just be more interesting than Dwight Howard’s saga in Orlando, where he had a list of teams he wanted to leave Orlando for, and expressed that midseason to the media. Priceless!
Let’s look at who the Suns do have. Brandon Knight? Yeah, he’s good. Eric Bledsoe? Sounds awesome. PJ Tucker? I think the sound guy hit the laughter button by accident… Phoenix have Knight and Bledsoe, which correlates with their system. They have three young guns unproven in Alex Len, TJ Warren, and rookie Devin Booker, which these three will likely get much playing time to prove themselves this upcoming season.
Do I see this as a team as a playoff contender once again? As a matter of fact, I think they’re a bubble team. I think Phoenix is there at the end vying for the 8th-seed in like the last month, but falter and end up missing the postseason once again. If this was the East, I’d probably put them as a 6th-seed, but that’s just too difficult out west. I think their success all depends on Tyson Chandler and Devin Booker. If one can live up to the money and the other live up to the high draft pick, then Phoenix is capable of playing in the first round of the Western Conference. However, they likely are swept after that, depending on the matchup. But if Chandler and Booker fail to meet the high expectations of mine, then the Suns will be a 35 win team at best.
What do you think the Suns can do this season? Let me know in the comments below your expectations!