Before the 2019-20 NBA regular season was put on hiatus due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the Phoenix Suns were six games back of the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed. Holding a 26-39 record, Phoenix won’t be able to play out their final 17 regular season games — or at least very unlikely at this stage in time.
If the NBA resumes and finishes out their calendar on a reduced timeframe, an idea such as a playoff play-in tournament for bubble teams makes a lot of sense.
Suns head coach Monty Williams was asked about this while appearing on Sirius XM radio earlier this week. Williams is all for the idea, depending on what go-ahead they get from NBA personnel.
“I think it would be great,” Williams said. “You have to be ready and you have to be able to adapt to whatever scenario presents itself based on the science, the data, and the decision that Commissioner (Adam) Silver makes.”
Williams went on to discuss why the Suns could be a very dangerous team if they were allowed into a play-in style bracket. With players like Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Ricky Rubio, Mikal Bridges, and possibly a healthy Kelly Oubre Jr. off a torn meniscus, the advanced metrics prove their potential. The Suns’ 5-man lineup featuring Rubio, Booker, Oubre, Bridges, and Ayton carried a dominant plus-20.2 net rating over 226 minutes.
“I think if it came down to that opportunity, a team like us — like I said, we know we can beat any team in the league. We’ve done that,” Williams said. “We have guys that have improved tremendously this year. Career-highs for Deandre Ayton, Kelly Oubre. Ricky (Rubio) has come over and changed the pace and offense of our team. Our offensive numbers have come up. Defensive numbers have come up, and then Devin (Booker) becomes an All-Star. Mikal Bridges is a developing two-way player.”
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to how the Suns play when they’re hot. When everything is clicking, Phoenix’s offense is so hard to stop.
Williams believes if the Suns had this type of opportunity handed to them, they would not only take full advantage but also shock everyone. The first-year head coach for Phoenix sees ‘scary’ potential if his team was allowed into a playoff-type atmosphere.
“So, we have a lineup that we feel like if you put them in playoff minutes, situations, we feel like we can compete against anybody,” Williams said. “So, if we’re in that scenario, we can be pretty scary.”