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A letter to Suns Nation

The Phoenix Suns season begins tonight. There will be highs. There will be lows. It’s time to enjoy the ride.

2023-24 Phoenix Suns Media Day Photo by Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images

Dear Phoenix Suns Nation,

As the season encroaches upon us at dusk, I wanted to use this time to speak to the fanatics, skeptics, and all of the Suns' universe. Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball that is able to tell me the outcome of the season, but I don’t need one to know one thing: there will be ups and downs, no matter the outcome of the season.

Whether it's injuries, unexpected struggles, or team chemistry, there will be a point in time when the general consensus on Phoenix is pessimistic, filled with somber predictions of their demise.

Whether it’s a game where Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Kevin Durant as a trio appear unstoppable and the Suns win by 30, lengthy stretches of hot team-shooting, or stellar defense, there will also be times where the Valley’s team appears as an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

When both of these situations occur, it will be important to remember that the team should be assessed by their play for the totality of their season, not just their highs or their lows, meaning to not freak out if the team doesn’t start off as strongly as expected.

Most super teams take time to mold and gel. LeBron James’ team in his first year back with the Cavaliers alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love went 20-20 in their first 40 games of the season, but finished the season 33-9 in their final 42 games, helping them reach the NBA Finals.

It’s likely inevitable that Phoenix will have growing pains out of the gate, even considering how well they played together in the pre-season and even if it’s not reflected in the win-loss column. The NBA regular season is a beast in itself, filled with constant travel, random nagging injuries, and playing through perpetual jet lag.

The Suns have had some of the most absurd turnaround in the NBA in recent years. Devin Booker is the only member of the 2021 Finals team left and one of two rotation members on the team from the start of last year. Insert Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić, Bradley Beal, the rest of the bench, a new team governor, and a new head coach, this team and organization still need to find time to learn about its members and how they collaborate.

Consequently, the fervent reactions to media outlets filling part of their 24-hour news cycles full of Suns analysis should not be taken as reality all the time, especially to start the year. The best things in life take time to develop, and so do the best teams. Before adding Kevin Durant in 2016, the Golden State Warriors spent years in NBA purgatory building the dynasty we now know. The Denver Nuggets drafted Nikola Jokić nine years ago, and Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks took a long time to get over the hump to win a title.

The pieces are there for the Suns to win a title. It’s yet to be seen if they will, but one thing remains true as we enter the start of the season: it will be a fun season, filled with many peaks and valleys. However, during the highs and lows, it will be imperative to view the squad through the entirety of their body of work together, not just a brief period.


Holden Sherman

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