I’m tryin’ Ringo, I’m tryin’ real hard...
Times are hard right now for the Phoenix Suns and their fan base. The team had high expectations as they ballooned their payroll into the atmosphere and through the second apron. They are now feeling that weight upon their shoulders as they sit at 14-13 through 27 games and are 10th in the Western Conference in the standings.
With the average-ness comes frustration as this is supposed to be the year. All of the demons that have lived rent-free in our heads since the dawn of the franchise would finally be exercised. In true Suns fashion, however, none have this has occurred. Injuries. No defense. Inconsistent offense. Turnovers. Poor fourth quarters. The list goes on and on.
Is there any silver lining? We’re all tryin’ real hard. We’re trying to find things to be positive about. It’s the holiday season, after all. A time of hope and goodwill toward man. Yet our timelines are full of negativity and frustration, knee-jerk solutions and depressing realities.
I’ve been racking my brain and attempting to be as positive as I can be. I want to be positive. I need to be positive. So here are some silver linings. And yes, they may seem forced. I’m tryin’ Ringo...
The Suns have KD and Book
Hope still exists for one simple reason: this is not the 2016-17 Phoenix Suns. Once upon a time, the roster was so unbelievably decimated and filled with either untapped potential or players who possessed no talent. There was no hope. There was just half-filled arenas and players who didn’t wanna be here.
We had no hope because we had no reason for hope. No one on the team could consistently provide any semblance of production, and while they were losing games, there was no chance for a turnaround. A turnaround meant draft picks and what the future would hold. The turnaround meant The Timeline.
They have prime Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, who hasn’t slowed down. Any team that possesses players of that caliber and competitiveness has an opportunity to turn it around, and they can do so at the drop of a dime.
Last year, the Suns had a similar 24-game stretch with multiple injuries between December 2nd and January 16th. Their record during that stretch was 6-18. This team is dealing with a similar situation and is 14-12 & 11-6 when Booker and KD play together. Perspective is important!— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) December 19, 2023
Oh yeah, and Bradley Beal
The fact that this team has yet to see the big three play more than 30 minutes is unfortunate. It’s very Suns-ish, as a matter of fact. Of course we can’t have what we want, to see our first non-organic super-team play. Injury after injury has occurred depriving of us the joy and wonderment we looked forward to all of those hot summer nights.
3⃣Suns Big Three (so far):— PHX Fans (@PHXFansAZ) December 16, 2023
Game 1 - Beal hurt
Game 2 - Booker hurt
Game 6 - Booker returns
Game 7 - Booker hurt
Game 9 - Beal returns
Game 11 - Booker returns, Beal hurt
Game 17 - Durant hurt
Game 19 - Durant returns, Booker hurt
Game 20 - Booker returns
Game 21 - Durant hurt…
But the possibility still exists that they will play together and when they do, they are a tough trio to defend. In 24 minutes played together, the trio is a +15. The team scored 69 (giggity) points shooting 52.2% from the field.
Bradley Beal, who will hopefully return as we turn our calendars to 2024, will be guarded by the third-bets defender. The same reasons will believed this team would be amazing offensively still exist, it’s just on hold.
The frustration is valid, but there’s hope that it is only temporary.
I hear you. I am one of you. I am pissed with the lack of connectivity on both ends of the floor, the poor rotations, the absent three-point shooting, and the roster construction that leaves few options for improvement.
But when we look at the Suns’ challenges, plenty of the issues that exist can be corrected.
Ball security, defensive sets and schemes, and offensive execution; all of these are correctable. It needs to be addressed and worked on, but it can be done.
The Phoenix Suns aren’t losing because of a lack of talent, it’s due to a lack of intensity and a lack of focus. A lack of execution, if you will. There is still hope because these can be corrected. They are not a victim of poor basketball due to poor talent attempting to play it.
They are a victim of complacency. Is that a good thing? Aw hell nah. But it is correctable. That’s literally the plot line of every sports movie: the team doesn’t care (about each other or the sport or the town or the coach), the team learns to care through adversity, and the team wins.
Like I said, I’m trying. I’m trying real hard to find the positive. But the only way to get through the toughest times is to go through them. You can’t go around them. There is no easy fix, there is no “Fire Vogel and everything will be fine”.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or probably should’ve killed you.