So far this season, the Phoenix Suns have struggled to look like the contender they were supposed to be, owning just a 4-6 record in a league sporting a lot of topsy turvy performances from teams eager to prove they belong with the elits.
Look at the San Antonio Spurs, who trotted out their prized rookie Victor Wembanyama for a coming out party 3-1 week with surprising wins over the suddenly competent Houston Rockets and then Big 1.5 in Phoenix. The Spurs have gone 0-5 since that week, losing by an average of 16 points per game, and Wemby back to rookie mode.
Or the 7-0 Mavericks who rode MVP-stats Luka over an easy early schedule. Or the annually struggling Wolves who needed the rise to stardom of Anthony Edwards before the twin towers got that chance to mesh around ‘Ant Man’ rather than each other.
The Wolves (8-2) now carry their first 7-game win streak in twenty years and will try for an eighth in a row here in Phoenix on Wednesday night.
You won’t be surprised, per se, but you might be mildly impressed to know how much better the chances get with Booker on the floor.
I have a handy dandy chart for you!
Over the last four years since the Suns have started pairing Booker with an All-NBA talent, the Suns still cannot seem to win consistently without Armani in the lineup, and this year is no different.
Last year and this year have been particularly hard on the Suns without Booker because there’s usually other injuries making his absence even tougher to absorb.
But the reverse is true too. Last fall, Book carried the Paul/Crowder/Johnson-less Suns to a 16-7 record before succumbing was himself to various soft-tissue issues. Dark Days began then. Remember this dark chart I put together a year ago to track injuries and performance? It’s too dense to share again here.
The takeaway here is healthy Book = really good Suns.
Book doesn’t solve all the Suns’ problems, but especially this year he solves the passing, shooting, defense, relentlessness and fourth quarter production the Suns desperately need.
The Suns will open the Footprint Center to host the redhot Minnesota Timbervolves, and plan to debut the Big Three for the first time all season in game 11. Book (calf) and Beal (back) are set to PROBABLR, which means they just need to feel good today in wamup.
The Suns’ll need it. And they’ll need us to be there en force as Funs fans! I know ticket reselling is a thing but the Suns really win this win. This isn’t a must-have game. Just a gosh we are good after all.