Unlike a lot of these teams at the bottom of the list, the Phoenix Suns might be done rebuilding. That doesn’t mean they are going to be good this season, I highly doubt that, but they have a nice core of young players and it’s time to see what they can do. They have a win total of 28.5 set on the season.
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The question on this team is twofold: Is Deandre Ayton going to live up the hype as a 1st overall pick? And will Josh Jackson continue to improve? That is the big three this team is counting on to take them out of the cellar and it’ll be interesting to watch them grow and progress.
Let’s take a look at their complete roster:
These team does have a few more interesting pieces as well. T.J. Warren had a big year last year, averaging 19.6 points per game, and should see some big minutes this year. While Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss haven’t shown much yet, they were both high draft picks and both are only turning 21 this season. There is still time.
This team actually has a nice collection of veterans as well in Trevor Ariza,
Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler. They should help the young guys along and show them how to play. Of course, any one of them could be trade bait down the line as well.
The most interesting move made this offseason was adding Igor Kokoskov as their new head coach. He’s been an assistant coach all over and over the past few seasons has helped shape the Utah Jazz into one of the toughest defenses out there. He did that with Rudy Gobert and if he can turn Ayton into anything close to that, he deserves all the money. That is a long term project though and it’s hard to see him as a Rookie of the Year contender. This team was dead last in Defensive Rating last year, but if he can get his players to buy in I could see that moving up quite a bit. Always an interesting thing to watch when dealing with win totals.
The early FiveThirtyEight projections see this as a 26-win team (26.9 according to their spreadsheet), but I think that sells short the impact of the new coach. While it will be difficult playing in the Western Conference, I can see this team surprising some teams and getting significantly better down the stretch. I don’t see them as a playoff team or anything, but 30 wins does not seem out of the question.
UPDATE: The Suns sent Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss to Houston for Ryan Anderson and second-round pick De’Anthony Melton. I think this move helps them in the short term as Ryan Anderson can help this team.
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