The Phoenix Suns just finished a very up and down regular 2022-23 regular season, sent no one to the All-Star game and barely etched out a winning record.
In a normal year, their 17-losses-in-23-games midseason malaise would have doomed the whole season, triggering a sell-off at the trade deadline. In fact, I still remember comment sections of this here blog loaded with tanking talk in late January.
But this isn’t a normal year. Even after that dismal stretch that dropped their record to 21-24, they never fell further than three games out of the 4th seed. So they swung for the fences at the trade deadline with Kevin Durant, waited out all the injuries and now find themselves as one of the favorites to win it all.
Just like we all predicted right?
Yesterday, after the final horn had sounded on a 45-37 record, our own John Voita dug out my preseason predictions post and... boy was I wrong about a lot of things. We all were. It’s only fair to bring them back out again to see what happened.
- The Suns will
win 55 games this year, finishing 3rd in the West. Dave was wrong, although a healthy Suns team won games at a 55-win pace.
- They will start slow and finish strong. Dave was right (1)
Jae Crowder will come back to the team before opening night, with or without a contract extension. No trade.Dave was dead wrong
- James Jones
won’t make any major trades that impact the top seven players, but he will pick up someone that plays 15-20 minutes per game. (Ok that’s not really a prediction. It’s just saying he’s consistent) Dave was happily wrong. Well, let’s say half right (1.5). James Jones did make a major trade involving the top seven, while also adding a couple of 15-20 minute players in T.J. Warren and Terrence Ross.
- Deandre Ayton will be fine this year. He will marginally improve his numbers (18 and 11? 19 and 10?),
hear his name mentioned among the possibilities for All-Star reserve, though he won’t ultimately make it. Unfortunately his defensive effort will regress a bit, which had me most excited about his future as a championship core piece. Dave was mostly right (2.5). Ayton finished with 18 and 10 and his defensive numbers did regress a bit.
- Devin Booker will be
All-Star AND All-NBA again. Dave was wrong...but only due to injuries; technically the All-NBA announcements are still pending but unlikely due to games played
- Chris Paul will be an
All-Star reserve again, but won’t make All-NBA. Dave was wrong
- Mikal Bridges will make second-team All-Defense,
won’t top 15 points per game in scoring, and his three-point shooting will remain in the 35-38% range. But we will all say he had a better season. Dave was wrong on the ppg; Mikal blew this one out of the water, averaging 17 per game in Phoenix, then 26 per game in Brooklyn. Raise your hand if you really truly saw 26 a game coming.
- Cam Johnson won’t sign any extension this month, and will set a new career-high in scoring this year at about 15 points per game. His rebound average will be less than 6 per game. Dave was right (3.5). Cam did not sign an extension, averaged 15.5 per game and pulled down 4.4 rebounds per game.
- Johnson will sign a new 5-year contract next summer,
directly from the Suns, before fielding offers from other teams. It will be for a higher average annual value than Mikal’s 4-year, $90 million because all salaries are rising. Dave was wrong but only because the Suns aren’t the ones holding his RFA rights
- Monty Williams’ love child this season will be Jock Landale. He’ll get more minutes than I think he should, more than either Dario and Bis at the backup center position. Dave was right (4.5) — Jock played 8th most minutes this season, ahead of Bis and Dario
- By the end of the season, Dario will be a key rotation player, but he’ll never get as many minutes as I think he should get. Dave was kinda right (5) — Dario never got the minutes he should get in Phoenix, and is a key rotation player at 13.7 min/gm for the play-in OKC Thunder though still not getting enough minutes. I’m taking the win on this one.
- The Lakers won’t make the playoffs, due once again to injuries and lack of depth. The
Grizzliesand Suns, last year’s #1 and #2 seeds in the West, will finish in the 3-6 range. The Clippers will get the top seed, and be just the latest top seed to go out the second round. Warriors will get the #2 seed. T he Nuggets will have everyone excited, but will still only finish in the 3-6 range with the Grizzand Suns. One of the 3-6 seeds will make the Finals. — Dave was mostly wrong, and some of this is still pending (Lakers play-in, 3-6 seed making Finals)
- Suns will make to the Western Conference Finals, but lose in 6 games to the eventual Champ. We HOPE Dave is wrong, but it’s still pending
All in all, Dave got 5 of 12 predictions correct so far (41.6%), with another one only scuttled due to injury.
Now it’s time to check your own work. Hit the link and check out your own comments from last fall, and let us know how you did.
Link: Dave’s Preseason Predictions (and your own, in the comments)