It’s been a long road to follow this Phoenix Suns team through the arid desert. Oases have popped up occasionally but they’ve been just that: a mirage that goes poof when you get closer.
Since topping out at 38-33 late in the 2014-15 season, the Suns have been the worst team in the NBA for four years.
- Lost 10 of 11 to close out 2015
- Lost 75% of their games since then, the worst three year stretch in franchise history
- Amassed a 16-66 record in the past calendar year, the worst 82-game stretch in franchise history
But now the Suns see some promise, and others do too.
“Young talent,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “Warren and Booker give them two really difficult guys to cover on the perimeter and then Ayton is a real load. But they’re all young and they’ve got to grow together and there are a lot of painful lessons in this league when you have a really young team.”
T.J. Warren is the sage vet at 25 years old. Devin Booker is 22. Deandre Ayton is 20.
Kevin Durant had some compliments as well.
“They got some talent over here,” he said after the New Year’s Eve game. “T.J. Warren, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton play well off each other.”
Deandre Ayton has been improving every week, and in the past week he’s had individual quarters of 24 and 13 point scoring outbursts, all on pick-and-roll and post feeds.
Devin Booker will be an All-Star some day and T.J. Warren could be the league’s Most Improved Player.
But for any of these guys to get recognized for their talent, they will have to win some games.
Can January be good? Of course.
The Suns don’t play a top-four Western Conference team again until Jan. 25 (Denver). The schedule isn’t easy, but it’s easi-ER. They play East powers: the 76ers tomorrow, Toronto next week and Indiana too. From the West, they play the Blazers, Clippers, Timberwolves (twice), but it’s the Clippers who have the best record among them.