We’re in the long grind of the NBA offseason, where no moves of major implications are made and we are waiting anxiously for the start of the season. During this dreadful time in the season, we are stuck thinking about how our favorite team will look in the upcoming season. Though we have to wait until the regular season to see what the moves will do, that doesn’t stop us from imagining.
For the Phoenix Suns, after years of terrible basketball, there seems to be some optimism around the team. Most fans are expecting a better season than they’ve been forced to watch over the last five years but what if they go beyond our expectations? What if everything that can go right does go right?
The best case scenario for the Suns starts with star Devin Booker exploding this year into superstardom. After two years of lackluster point guard play, the addition of Ricky Rubio will take some of the facilitating pressure off Booker and allow him to do what he does best, score. Each year Booker has taken steps and this year he’ll take a massive leap and make the All-Star team.
Center Deandre Ayton will also take a massive leap, not only offensive but defensively too. With the addition of Rubio and a coach in Monty Williams, Ayton will not only become vital in the offense, he’ll become the centerpiece. Whether it’s pick and rolls with Booker and Rubio or attacking the paint, Ayton will average 24-10 stat line this year. With the addition of center Aron Baynes and Williams, Ayton will play with more ferocity on the defensive side. He wasn’t consistent on that side last year and with these two men on him, he’ll turn it around.
In this scenario, all the dominos fall into place for Phoenix. Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will continue to play with the hot hand and Mikal Bridges will take a massive leap from last year. Rubio will be racking up assist and be the perfect veteran for this team. Rookie Cam Johnson and Ty Jerome will be excellent role players and great shot up shooters. The Suns get 45 wins off the backs of Ayton and Booker and lose in the first round. While that’s a disappointing end, I don’t see how the Suns even in their best case scenario make it out of the first round. Houston, Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Warriors and Blazers are just better than them in this world and the Suns aren’t going to pull the upset off.
However, there’s been some negativity around the team as well, especially with the draft picks. What if the team fails to live up to their own hype?
The first part in this worst case scenario is Ayton regresses under Williams coaching. Ayton is still a young player but after taking him with the first overall pick, there’s no reason for him not to shine in year 2. In this world, he can’t live up to the hype and the team watches Luka Doncic dominate the West for years. Booker takes a step back as adding Rubio will take the ball out of his hand and this plus another lost season will be enough to push Booker to demand a trade. Oubre and Bridges play wildly inconsistent, Dario Saric is horrible at the power forward position and the bench can’t do anything. Johnson and Jerome turn to be complete bust as they fail to make the leap as NBA shooters.
The worst part about this scenario is after a 60 loss season, Suns owner cleans house. What’s stopping him from blowing up the front office and blowing up the team besides Ayton and maybe Bridges? Suns will go into another offseason with a top five pick but a team with no clear road for relevance.
Out of the two, I think the best case scenario is more likely to happen. I know it’s a crazy idea but I genuinely have a lot of faith with this Suns team. I think the team could be a 35-40 win team and take massive strides. I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but that’s down the line.