Although Devin Booker continues to be out with a groin injury, getting other players back healthy and having won five of their last six games, are the Phoenix Suns back?
It has been a season of streaks for the Phoenix Suns, who have both a six-game winning streak and a six-game losing streak this season. After losing ten of twelve games to end 2022 and begin 2023, Phoenix is again streaking in the right direction. Despite still playing without their leading scorer, Booker, the Suns have won five of their last six games and are getting back into the playoff discussion, leaving the punt talk behind.
Players are coming back, and so is Phoenix
The positive vibes for Phoenix began with the return of Cameron Johnson, who missed a couple of months with a meniscus repair. Johnson immediately impacted the team, improving the team on both ends of the court. After Johnson returned, Chris Paul was again able to go, and although Deandre Ayton has been battling illness, four of the five opening-day starters started in Phoenix’s most recent game, a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Suddenly a team struggling to score, Phoenix scored less than 100 points in five of the first six games of 2023 and is putting up 128 points against the Spurs, the most by Phoenix since early November in a 117-129 win over Minnesota.
Against the Spurs, the four primary starters – Johnson, Ayton, Bridges, and Paul – combined for 94 points. The fifth starter, Torrey Craig, only had eight points, but the team does not need the role players to produce like stars when your other starters are scoring like that. Then if you add Devin Booker and his 25+ points to that mix, the Suns look like a real basketball team again.
Of course, come playoff time, the Phoenix Suns will only go as far as Devin Booker will carry them, but that will be a lot further if everyone else does their part and the Bookerless Suns make a run up the standings. Ultimately, the Suns may not be back yet, but the vibe in the valley is improving, as are the Suns.