Sure, Kevin Durant played amazingly like he usually does, but moral victories and learning lessons take a back seat to the most pressing matter impacting Phoenix: Getting actual wins. We are 27 games in — about ⅓ into the regular season — and the Suns are a .500 team.
The Phoenix Suns are not a good basketball team.— The Bright Side (@BrightSideSun) December 20, 2023
Yesterday was a prime opportunity to add to the win column. The Trail Blazers are a bottom-five team record-wise and have no business competing, let alone beating, the Suns in a regular season contest where Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are playing.
With just Booker and Durant in the lineup, the Suns have proven to beat significantly better teams, and when Phoenix traded for Bradley Beal, they knew that the injury risk with him was prominent. The waiting games and patient times are done. Victories need to be piling up now to be playing in June.
If the Boston Celtics were to be defeated by the Detroit Pistons when they play next week, it wouldn’t cause any concern. They still would have a strong record and the game would be viewed as an outlier to a rather strong start to the year.
If the Suns were to lose a game to the Pistons right now, it wouldn’t be an outlier or an anomaly, it would be more cause for concern. Losses to the Spurs, Trail Blazers, and Jazz suggest that defeats to poor teams are something that Phoenix is capable of doing.
Good teams losing games to bad teams happens all the time. However, the games are not played on paper and currently the Suns, as their record indicates, are not a good team. They are an average one so far.
The more losses to bad teams make the games against good teams even more important, adding unnecessary urgency in late December and leaving less wiggle room to deal with the unexpected that comes with the regular season.
In their next ten, Phoenix has three games against teams below .500, all at home. As long as Durant and Booker are playing, the team has enough for victory. It doesn’t matter where or how, but when Phoenix should take care of business, they have to take care of business to accomplish their NBA Finals aspirations. It could be the difference between hosting a playoff series or going on the road for one in the Spring.