On Wednesday, we laid out the full Phoenix Suns schedule for the 2022-23 season, and not one thing jumped out to me as ‘uh oh’, except for four straight games in mid-January against West playoff teams on the road (Warriors, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Grizzlies).
Frankly, the schedule looks quite kind to the Suns, including the takeoff and landing strips.
During the first two weeks of the season, the Suns play 7 of 9 games at home, including the opener and a six-game home stand. In that 9-game stretch, they only have one playoff-caliber opponent on the road (Clippers).
Oh there are definitely some difficult opponents in there, but there’s nothing better than playing at home, amiright.
Let’s break it down.
Wednesday, October 19 home vs. Dallas Mavericks: ahhh the
8th game of the series first of 82 games of the new season brings Luka back to the site of the massacre. This time he won’t have sidekick Jalen Brunson though, and it remains to be seen if Spencer Dinwiddie can keep up the flame-throwing pull-up-threes pace he showed after being acquired by the Mavs and used to break the Suns backs time and again. The Mavs lost Brunson, and added some size in the middle in Christian Wood and JaVale McGee — a bit surprising considering their most devastating lineups were five-out. Wood can shoot threes, but operates a lot in the paint so he might negatively impact driving lanes. Overall, I think the Mavs got worse this offseason. I’d expect the Suns to use this season opener much the same way Denver got back at the Suns in last year’s season opener with a highly spirited debut. Suns record: 1-0.
Friday, October 21 at Portland Trail Blazers: What exactly are the Blazers? As Suns fans know very well, CJ McCollum and Larry Nance are no longer in the Pacific Northwest. The new Blazers will likely have a healthy Damian Lillard back and a respectable starting lineup around him with Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic, with Gary Payton II coming off the bench as a disruptor. Is that a playoff team? Only if Dame returns to All-Star level, and maybe not even then. Until they prove otherwise, this looks like a mid-lottery team that wins maybe half the games the Suns win. Still, coming off what’s almost certainly an emotional game against the Mavs, the Suns might have a letdown. Suns record: 2-0.
Sunday, October 23 at Los Angeles Clippers: By whatever accounts are out there, the Clippers should enter the season fully healthy for the first time in more than a year. Kawhi Leonard should be fully recovered from his knee injury. A healthy Clippers could win the West and make the Finals, though the Kawhi/Paul George pairing did lose in the second round the last time they were healthy in 2020 playoffs (Kawhi got hurt in the second round in 2021, missed 2022). This Clippers team is the best iteration they’ve had, with depth up and down the roster, but they still don’t have a real point guard. They will actually, possibly be a perfect playoff team with half-dozen guys able to take the ball from outside the three-point line and create their own shot. A healthy Clippers team playing at home on Sunday against the Suns... sounds like a win to me. The only way the Suns bring enough outsized focus and energy to beat the Clips is if they’re stinging from a Friday loss to the Blazers. Suns record: 2-1.
Tuesday, October 25 home vs. Golden State Warriors: The World Champs come to Phoenix for an early-season matchup that feels like it will have a bit more energy than a usual game at this point. Suns/Warriors always has energy. The Warriors have gotten a little worse this offseason, I think. They lost perfect role players Gary Payton Jr. and Otto Porter, but newcomers Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychael Green could be great replacements. They will be expecting real growth from kids like Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman. I’m guessing a healthy Warriors team brings the moxie to beat the Suns in this one. Suns record: 2-2.
Friday, October 28 home vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Will Zion Williamson be healthy? I’ll believe it when I see it. If he’s healthy, the Pelicans have a chance to build on last year’s crazy-good finish to be a real force in the West. Brandon Ingram became the closest thing to Kevin Durant among the younger generation and C.J. McCollum was excellent as the number two scorer. The only question mark is that Zion, for all his girth, really takes up a lot of the same room on the floor as Ingram and there were questions about Ingram maximizing his impact with Zion on the floor. I’m curious to see how it all shakes out. I think the Suns, with three days off to stew over a 2-2 start will have big focus in this one and come away with the win. Suns record: 3-2.
Sunday, October 30 home vs. Houston Rockets: The Rockets are just a bundle of young talent bursting with potential all over the floor. They’ve got top pick (3rd overall) Jabari Smith Jr. joining Jalen Green as the 20-point wing scoring tandem of their future. But they don’t have any veterans controlling the outcomes, so this will be a fun game to watch but the ultra-solid Suns will cruise in the second half and come away with the win. Suns record: 4-2.
Tuesday, November 1 home vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Here. We. Go! First glimpse at the most interesting move of the offseason. The Suns will face the Twin Towers tandem of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns where you just know you’ll hear Deandre Ayton with a wistful quip of how lucky KAT is to play power forward all the time. I am fascinated by the Gobert/Towns pairing, but the game will probably come down to whether future superstar Anthony Edwards puts up 20 or 40. If he puts up 40, the Wolves have a good chance to win, but I won’t count on it. Early in the season, everyone will be deferring to the Gobert/Towns thing. I think the Suns win this one. Suns record: 5-2.
Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 home vs. Portland Trail Blazers: The first of two back-to-back baseball style series where a team plays consecutive games in the same place against the same team. If you’re the Blazers, you’re like ‘okay this sucks. Everybody hates us.’ So by that angle, the Suns should be excited for an easy weekend against a clearly worse team. But this is NBA basketball. Any team can beat any team on a given night, and no one like to lose two straight games to the same team. I think this is a split. Suns record after both games: 6-3.
How about, you Suns fans?
Suns record after 9 games (7 at home)?
This poll is closed
8-1 or better