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The playoffs are on the horizon for the Phoenix Suns, and with Kevin Durant potentially returning on Wednesday evening against the Minnesota Timberwolves, everything is about to change. Rotations. Standings. Expectations.
It has been a journey since KD joined the team. The Suns acquired Durant on February 8 in a blockbuster trade, sending their young wings Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, along with a disgruntled Jae Crowder, and numerous first round draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets. In return they received one of the greatest players to ever lace them up.
Despite Durant nursing a sprained MCL, the power move changed the landscape of the NBA. Paired with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, the Suns’ championship odds skyrocketed, as did our hopes. Weaknesses became strengths. Durant’s potential unlocked everyone around him.
Since that time, Durant has played in just three games for Phoenix. The team is 3-0 in those games.
Phoenix went 3-2 while they waited for Durant to return from his MCL injury. He played in three games, tweaked his ankle prior to his home debut, and has been sidelined since. The Suns have gone 3-6 since that point. Since the transaction, the Suns are 3-0 with Durant, 6-8 without him.
We are now getting down to the nitty gritty. Per PlayoffStatus.com, the Phoenix Suns have a 65% chance to end the season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
If that is the case, they would play the fifth seed in the First Round. And that fifth seed is up for grabs. The Los Angeles Clippers currently are slotted in that position, but their arrow might be pointed downward following the injury of Paul George. Their lineup is solid, but one of their most clutch shooters will be reevaluated in three weeks.
The Golden State Warriors might fight to stay at the sixth rather than the fifth. Why? Because who wants to face Devin Booker and Kevin Durant in the First Round, and, if you beat them, have to play the Denver Nuggets in the Second Round? Denver has been Golden State’s kryptonite this season, beating them handily in their first two meetings.
Then you have the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that is coming together at the right time of the season following the reinsertion of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards into their lineup. They are in “we don’t care” mode. They’re playing basketball and peaking when you should.
With that being said, there are numerous questions surrounding the Phoenix Suns, even when Durant returns.
We’ve yet to see this team play at their full potential. We don’t necessarily know what challenges they may have on the court. That won’t stop us from speculating, however.
SBN asks a couple of questions relative to those concerns. What are your thoughts?