Newsflash: Predictions and opinions are not, in fact, facts. No matter how strongly the predictor or... opiner feels about their take. Even the use of ALL CAPS doesn’t make a take more factual or more likely to happen.
Everyone is predisposed to look for confirmation of their own bias, and if that confirmation cannot be found they simply look in another direction for a while.
Is Deandre Ayton mentally checked out this season, waiting impatiently for a trade? Or is the gall-derned media making something out of nothing?
Is Jae Crowder holding out because of some nefarious, yet-to-be-reported reason he hates the Suns? Or is he simply making a business decision about 2023 and beyond, and using training camp/preseason to figure it all out?
Who is the Suns next All-Star — Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton or none of the above?
Has the Phoenix Suns window for a championship slammed shut? Or do they have just as much chance this year as last year?
You already know your answer to those questions, and dissenting headlines are nothing more than ‘CLICKBAIT!’. We all do it. That’s just human nature.
The truth is that no one knows the answer to any of those questions just yet. We have to wait and see how the season plays out.
Here are my own ‘facts’ that I expect will bear out this season. I am sharing them now, before any evidence to the contrary comes to light.
- The Suns will win 55 games this year, finishing 3rd in the West.
- They will start slow and finish strong
- Jae Crowder will come back to the team before opening night, with or without a contract extension. No trade.
- James Jones won’t make any major trades that impact the top seven players, but he will pick up someone that plays 15-20 minutes per game. (Ok that’s not really a prediction. It’s just saying he’s consistent)
- Deandre Ayton will be fine this year. He will marginally improve his numbers (18 and 11? 19 and 10?), hear his name mentioned among the possibilities for All-Star reserve, though he won’t ultimately make it. Unfortunately his defensive effort will regress a bit, which had me most excited about his future as a championship core piece.
- Devin Booker will be All-Star AND All-NBA again.
- Chris Paul will be an All-Star reserve again, but won’t make All-NBA.
- Mikal Bridges will make second-team All-Defense, won’t top 15 points per game in scoring, and his three-point shooting will remain in the 35-38% range. But we will all say he had a better season.
- Cam Johnson won’t sign any extension this month, and will set a new career-high in scoring this year at about 15 points per game. His rebound average will be less than 6 per game.
- Johnson will sign a new 5-year contract next summer, directly from the Suns, before fielding offers from other teams. It will be for a higher average annual value than Mikal’s 4-year, $90 million because all salaries are rising.
- Monty Williams’ love child this season will be Jock Landale. He’ll get more minutes than I think he should, more than either Dario and Bis at the backup center position.
- By the end of the season, Dario will be a key rotation player, but he’ll never get as many minutes as I think he should get.
- The Lakers won’t make the playoffs, due once again to injuries and lack of depth. The Grizzlies and Suns, last year’s #1 and #2 seeds in the West, will finish in the 3-6 range. The Clippers will get the top seed, and be just the latest top seed to go out the second round. Warriors will get the #2 seed. The Nuggets will have everyone excited, but will still only finish in the 3-6 range with the Grizz and Suns. One of the 3-6 seeds will make the Finals.
- Suns will make to the Western Conference Finals, but lose in 6 games to the eventual Champ.
I’d call these predictions ‘tempered optimism’.
How about you? What are your ‘facts’ that you’re sure will happen this year?