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Who is the Suns biggest threat to win the West in 2022?

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After the bulk of free agency has come and gone, who’s atop the West rankings?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency has come and almost gone, as has the NBA Draft, and your contending Phoenix Suns have barely moved a muscle. Continuity, indeed.

The Suns top seven players are back and ready repeat their deep playoff run that peaked at a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals — the first Finals lead in the Suns franchise’s 53 year history.

The only confirmed changes to the Suns roster so far are at positions that play in 15-20 nightly stints or less. Landry Shamet is now penciled in as the fourth guard, taking whatever minutes are available behind Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Cameron Payne. And JaVale McGee is penciled in as Deandre Ayton’s 10-15 minute per night backup. Finally, Elfrid Payton can fill in occasionally like E’Twaun Moore did last year. The only remaining hole on the roster is another 15-20 minute slot as a combo 3/4/5 wing that was admirably filled by Torrey Craig last year.

Sure, transactions are fun. They’re like eating a meal. Sometimes a great-tasting meal leaves you feeling terrible later. Sometimes a cardboard tasting meal ends up giving you the energy you need to get through the day. And sometimes eating light is exactly what you need.

The Suns ate light this offseason so far. No draft picks. No undrafted free agent signings. And no big roster changes.

On one hand, continuity is a good thing. On the other hand, if you’re standing still aren’t you just falling behind? The Suns would argue they inched forward at their backup positions, and that their young players will naturally improve next year.

Hoopshype has a nice composite list of changes by team, updated through today.

Luckily, the other 2021 contenders have not improved much either (in no particular order):

  • Bucks: added Grayson Allen, but lost P.J. Tucker to Miami
  • Clippers: have not actually added anyone of significance, but Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka might be healthy next playoffs
  • Hawks: no significant additions
  • Nuggets: swapped Paul Millsap for Jeff Green, and will get Jamal Murray back
  • Jazz: added Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall for small-ball lineups, and swapped Derrick Favors for Hassan Whiteside
  • Sixers: no significant changes
  • Nets: added Patty Mills, and hope for health of the Big Three, but lost Spencer Dinwiddie, Jeff Green and Landry Shamet so far

None of them have gotten worse, but other than improved health none have gotten significantly better either. The Nuggets will certainly be better with Jamal Murray back after the All-Star break as will the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard, and in the East the Nets will be better if they are healthy.

Can anyone jump up into that contender group? Of course.

  • The Golden State Warriors will get Klay Thompson back at some point before the All-Star break.
  • The Mavericks are hoping The Unicorn becomes The Unicorn again, next to Luka Doncic.
  • And of course there’s the Lakers, but I am skeptical of Russell Westbrook’s fit next to Lebron James and Anthony Davis. He’s so ball-dominant that he might take away from the effectiveness of Bron and AD just enough to lower their ceiling. But we won’t know until we know.

What do you think, Suns fans? Who should the Suns fear the most next year?

Poll

Which team is the Suns biggest challenger to winning the West in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Themselves
    (301 votes)
  • 7%
    Warriors
    (106 votes)
  • 34%
    Lakers
    (474 votes)
  • 17%
    Clippers
    (239 votes)
  • 8%
    Jazz
    (110 votes)
  • 9%
    Nuggets
    (128 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (14 votes)
1372 votes total Vote Now