It has been a couple days since the Phoenix Suns were eliminated from playoff contention. While most Suns fans still have a bitter taste in their mouths from those tough losses to close out the year, there’s a lot to be proud of.
One thing I have to say is this team was fun to watch. Maybe one of the most entertaining teams all-time in the franchise’s history and that’s saying a lot considering the “Run N’ Gun Suns” era.
The best part about this season is that nobody, including me, saw this miraculous turnaround coming. They were “supposed” to be lucky to win 20 games according to experts. They won 48.
I’m going to bring up some quotes and projections for the Suns from the beginning of the year.
What they were saying before the season
Chad Ford- “They might not win a single game in the Western Conference this year.”
ESPN projected the Suns to finish last in the West with a 22-60 record.
HoopsHype- “The frontcourt has many question marks, especially with the departure of Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola and Jared Dudley … Both Bledsoe and Dragic have a shoot-first mentality … Dragic tends to hold onto the ball too long and that stalls the offense.” They followed that quote up with predicting them to finish 15th in the West.
The Las Vegas oddsmakers forecast the Suns as the second-worst team in the NBA with a projected over-under total of a mere 19.5 wins. Man I wish I would’ve put some money down on that.
Why they didn’t suck
1. Jeff Hornacek ended up being a much better coach than most anticipated. He is the front-runner for the Coach of the Year award. He really brought this team together and had them believing in one another.
2. Gerald Green decided to play like an absolute monster this year. Winning 48 games would not be possible without the unexpected production from Green.
3. Goran Dragic played like an MVP candidate. He’s always been a solid role player, but this year he really turned his game up a notch and played like one of the best point guards in the league and was the heart and soul of this Suns team.
4. Eric Bledsoe panned out. There was no question Bledsoe was able to display his potential as Chris Paul’s backup, but there were some question marks about whether or not the Dragic/Bledsoe backcourt would workout and it certainly did.
5. The Power Forward position was much stronger than originally thought. Channing Frye, coming off sitting out an entire year, wasn’t expected to do much this year but he ended up putting together a nice season. Markieff Morris is a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year and really took his game to another level. The Morris twins have flourished off the bench.
Looking ahead to the NBA Draft
I know every Suns fan wanted to make the playoffs, but there is at least one consolation prize that the Suns will receive after missing out. A lottery pick.
If Phoenix made the playoffs then they would’ve ended up picking 20th or 21st overall, instead the Suns will get to pick 14th overall at worst with a slight chance of moving up. They will also receive first round picks from Washington (17th) and Indiana (27th).
With all these picks, it’s time for Suns fans to get familiar with draft prospects and get prepared for the offseason because basketball never stops!
I will release my second Mock Draft soon so stay posted.
It’s been a wonderful ride and it’s sad to see it end, but the future is looking good for Suns fans. Like I said in the first article I wrote in the earlier in the year: Put your shades on Suns fans, the future is bright.