clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Inside the Suns: Win/loss predictions, the best sub for DA in the starting unit and playoffs, play-in or lottery?

Your weekly Inside the Suns analysis straight from the BSotS community who live and breathe the team.

Philadelphia 76ers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.

Each week the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders - give their takes on the Suns’ latest issues and news. But first, the following graphic shows the current Western Conference standings plus the probabilities for teams winning each playoff spot.

Graphic courtesy of

Fantable Questions of the Week

Author’s Note: This week’s questions were all asked when the Suns were on an 0-3 losing streak BEFORE destroying Philadelphia on Saturday and Utah on Monday.)

Q1 - Kevin Durant could be back on Wednesday. With him and DA BOTH back on the court, what are your predictions for the Suns’ final 7 games?

GuarGuar: 6-1.

  • Minnesota - Win (the team will have great hype for this game.)
  • Denver - Win (Denver has been struggling recently.)
  • @ Oklahoma City - Win (OKC only plays drop coverage.)
  • San Antonio - Win
  • Denver - Win
  • @ LA Lakers - Loss (We probably rest some players.)
  • LA Clippers - Win (No Paul George.)

OldAz: 6-1.

  • Minnesota - W
  • Denver - W
  • @ Oklahoma City - W
  • San Antonio - W
  • Denver - W
  • @ LA Lakers - W
  • LA Clippers - L

I am an optimist but I also try to be realistic (as a sports fan). Despite that, none of these games really scare me if KD, Book, and DA are all healthy. I think they can win all 7 because the Suns will be integrating KD into the game plan and the bench players will be working hard to stay in a shortened rotation. I will predict a loss in the last game because I could see that game having no meaning for the Suns (possible rest for starters) but a lot of meaning for the Clippers relative to the play-in with PG currently hurt. I almost predicted a loss in one of the Denver games, but since both are at home I went with my optimistic side on that one.

Ethan: 5-2.

  • Minnesota - WIN
  • Denver - LOSS
  • @ Oklahoma City - WIN
  • San Antonio - WIN
  • Denver - LOSS
  • @ LA Lakers - WIN
  • LA Clippers - WIN

My logic: let’s get all of our losses to Denver out of our system now in case we run into them in the playoffs! Not confident about the “when” of the losses. But I think we could pull out 4-3 or 5-2 with the whole team healthy.

Rod: 7-0.

  • Minnesota - W
  • Denver - W
  • @ Oklahoma City - W
  • San Antonio - W
  • Denver - W
  • @ LA Lakers - W
  • LA Clippers - W

Yes, I fully believe that a fully healthy Suns can finish with a 7-0 run. With Ross and Warren providing a reasonably consistent scoring punch off the bench, the question is more will they do it than if they can do it. No slacking off in these final 7 games is the key as I’m not at all optimistic that the playoff seeding will be determined before the Suns play their final game of the season.

With that said, I could see the Suns going 6-1 or even 5-2 IF somehow they’re locked into that 4th seed with 2-3 games left to play and they decide it’s not worth having their best players play excessive minutes just to add an extra W if the outcome is meaningless in regard to their final seed position.

Q2 - At the moment there is just a 3-game difference between the 4th and 11th seeds in the West and the Suns now have the 5th toughest remaining schedule in the WC. Are you at all concerned that the Suns might fall completely out of the playoffs/play-in stage?

GuarGuar: I’m a little concerned but we have KD (and most likely Ayton) coming back this week. We are an elite team with those two and I believe we can win a bunch of games to close out the season.

OldAz: Not at all. They are 2 games above the “play in” (in the loss column) and 3 teams would have to pass them. To fall completely out they are 3 games up in the loss column and 7 teams would have to pass them. These teams play each other so that many losses are almost guaranteed across those 7 teams. Also, 5 home games makes a difference in my mind.

Ethan: No. Not in the slightest. The Suns have TRIED to give up their position and haven’t been able to. It’s clear the whole grouping of western conference teams are struggling or beating up on one another, so I don’t see too many teams excelling to close the year. Again, KD (and Ayton?) is coming back, and that’s no small thing.

Rod: At this point I believe that the only way the Suns could fall completely out of the playoff picture is for them to have a sudden rash of injuries to key players in the next 2-3 games. All bets are off then but, if they can stay healthy over these final 7 games, missing the playoffs entirely just isn’t going to happen.

Q3 - If Deandre Ayton is unavailable to play, who should Monty start in his place?

GuarGuar: I’d start Biz and bring Jock off the bench until DA returns. Jock has a good flow with the 2nd unit and I wouldn’t want to mess that up. When DA is back I still prefer Jock as our backup big in most situations.

OldAz: This is easy, Biz should start if DA is unavailable. I know some will say play KD at center and then play another wing/shooter, but the defense is simply that much better with a second big in the starting lineup. Also, Biz is significantly better on defense than Jock and his offense is not needed with Book and KD on the floor.

CP3Clutch has suggested starting Biz even when DA is back but still playing DA starter minutes, just more with the reserves to add extra scoring to the bench lineups. There is sound logic in this, but DA needs to be playing 35-38 minutes a night minimum come playoff time and that is hard to do without starting. However, it would still be possible to shift the rotation slightly to play Biz his 10-12 minutes when KD and Book are both on the floor and give DA shorter 3 minute rests in the middle of quarters.

Ethan: I think it’s very matchup dependent. I think it’ll be center by committee with Jock, Bizzy and KD playing major minutes at the 5. In terms of starting the game, I’d guess they start Bizzy so that they have a traditional set of 5 to start, and so that Jock can keep running with the reserve rotations that has become his norm. If we’re talking playoffs, I think Bizzy will only play if we need someone to defend and eat up fouls against a Jokic, AD, Joel, etc.

Rod: Before the Philly game, I might have been able to come up with an argument in favor of Landale but I’d certainly go with Biz with no reservations now. The thing that impressed me most about Bizzy’s games was that even though he got into foul trouble late, he played through that without fouling out... against Embiid! My only real problem with Biz is that when he’s more than 5-6 feet away from the basket, everyone knows he isn’t a scoring threat and his defender sags off him to clog up the middle.

Even with that handicap, Bizzy’s rim protection probably works better with the starting unit than Landale’s more varied scoring skills.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable members for all their extra effort this week!

Last Week’s poll results

Last week’s question was, “If the Suns fail to get home court advantage for the 1st round of the playoffs...”

09% - They will be eliminated in the 1st round.

24% - They won’t make it past the 2nd round.

67% - I don’t care about HCA, they can still make it all the way to the Finals!

A total of 171 votes were cast.

This week’s poll is...


With everyone healthy, what will the Suns’ record for their final 7 games be?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    (60 votes)
  • 43%
    (175 votes)
  • 35%
    (144 votes)
  • 5%
    4-3 or worse.
    (23 votes)
402 votes total Vote Now

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bright Side of the Sun Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Phoenix Suns news from Bright Side of the Sun