We’re through 10 games, folks, and your Phoenix Suns are 7-3. That’s about where most folks hoped to be and expected to be, but even in this short season we’ve seen some things we didn’t really expect. We’re still early enough that things are likely to even out, not just for the Suns but for the league in general (Carmelo Anthony isn’t too likely to finish the season hitting 50% from downtown), but why don’t we nonetheless take a look at some early developments both welcome and not?
Frank’s Red Hot
As Dave’s recent article pointed out, Frank Kaminsky is having arguably the best start of his NBA career. Not only is he locked in on offense, averaging 13 points on almost 70% TS, but he’s working on career-high block and steal percentages too, looking less like a total liability on defense than fans are used to. This isn’t likely to last, just given Frank’s history, but this is a welcome surprise that has taken the sting out of Deandre Ayton’s absence.
Cam Johnson, where are you?
After emerging as a fan favorite in the playoffs, Cam Johnson seemed prepped to play an expanded role for the Suns this season. Preseason expectations were that he would be an ace weapon off the bench and even compete for a starting role.
But there’s no way to say it other than to say it...Cam has stunk to start this year. The 25 year-old third-year man is shooting only 33% from the field, only 31% from downtown, and has even seen his usually solid rebounding numbers drop off. He lacks the assertive swagger we saw from him just a few months ago. Hopefully he finds it soon.
Elf Payton barely has a role
I don’t think many people expected Elfrid Payton to average anywhere near the minutes he’s compiled on bad teams in his career, but I don’t think many people figured he’d be all but glued to the bench. Payton is known for his hustle and defensive effort, which one would figure would stand him in good stead with Suns Head Coach Monty Williams.
But the veteran guard already has 5 DNP-CDs on the board for the year, and had a couple of games where he only played about 11 minuted even with Cam Payne unavailable. It’s looking increasingly likely that Payton, who is on a one-year deal, is going to be trade bait.
The Suns are weathering the Sarver drama well
The bombshell report a week ago accusing Suns owner Robert Sarver of creating a “toxic” work environment beset by racism and misogyny has led to a steady trickle of additional “revelations” reported in both local and national media. This sideshow could easily have consumed the team, much as the Morris Brothers drama managed to do a few years ago.
But the Suns have continued to handle their business well, continued to win games and manage the situation with class and professionalism as the NBA conducts its own investigation into the allegations.
However things shake out over the coming weeks or months, the Suns will need to continue with that mindset if they hope to return to the NBA finals and finish what they started last season.