Monty Williams has said all the mantras that have described his Phoenix Suns teams over the last three-and-a-half seasons:
‘Well done, is better than well said.’ ‘Don’t get too happy on the farm.’ Etc.
Those phrases have catapulted the Suns to one of the best teams in the NBA, a second Finals appearance and more that has boosted their reputation to this point. But where do the Suns stand now?
Their 112-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night was an indicator the team is back on track. Chris Paul returned from hip soreness and scored 22 points. Mikal Bridges continued to be on a scoring tear. And Phoenix took down one of the best teams in the Western Conference (Memphis is the No. 2 seed) after it led by 29 points.
“Great, man, just getting one of our leaders back,” Bridges said. “Y’all know how talented C (Chris Paul) is, how smart he is. Just great to have him back out there. Just gives us another dynamic, as we are trying to get our guys back. Happy for C to come back, happy he is healthy. We definitely need him, we are going to keep getting our guys back and keep getting better.”
This was without Devin Booker, who is arguably the best shooting guard in the league and has carried the Suns to great success over the last three years. Can Phoenix get even better when it returns to 100 percent?
Our fans seem to think so.
The Phoenix Suns just beat a fully healthy Grizzlies team… All while missing:— Booker Muse ✪ (@DevinBookerMuse) January 23, 2023
— Devin Booker
— Deandre Ayton
— Cameron Payne
— Landry Shamet
“I’m fine in the West.” pic.twitter.com/qJVEuJaKN5
The Suns lose with 90% of their team injured and the sky is falling! They win 3 in a row after getting back 2 starters and lose another (DA) and people are still finding something to complain about. My feelings are simple, "You don't appreciate what you have until you lose it "— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) January 23, 2023
There is not much for Suns fans to complain about from last night’s win. Some were happy Deandre Ayton did not play, but regardless, the team was very impressive for the third contest of its three-game winning streak.
Phoenix had three of five starters in double figures, plus Dario Saric and Jock Landale off the bench. It was a promising performance for a team that has struggled offensively – it fell out of the top ten teams in the league in points per game to the bottom half of the NBA, currently No. 19 at 112.6 points per game – and has not looked like itself other than high assist totals (No. 5 at 26.8 per contest).
The Suns have much to improve upon still. They have not ascended back to the top of the West and need Booker and backup guard Cameron Payne to do so. (Landry Shamet is also very important, but Booker and Payne more so from a continuity perspective).
Phoenix may also make some moves at the trade deadline, which is Feb. 9. Jae Crowder will certainly be involved as well as some players on expiring contracts, perhaps. Ayton is trade-eligible but has the power to veto any deal, so it is unlikely one could go through for him unless both sides are content.
What do you think, Suns fans? Is the team back on track for now?
Are the Suns back?
Need to see more
We’ll see after Book comes back/trades are made