It is only halfway through the season, and Phoenix Suns fans have witnessed this team’s good, bad, and ugly. Things were just so bright a month ago. Devin Booker was playing some of the best basketball in the NBA, our role players were providing ample support, and we were winning without relying on our 37-year-old point guard. It seemed that the Suns would compete for the number one seed in the West.
That euphoric feeling would prove only to be temporary. After starting the season 18-11, the Suns have fallen to 25-24. Thus putting themselves in danger of missing the playoffs. The Suns do not have the talent to compete for a title this year, so punting this season is the best call. Rather than keep this team together, the Suns should be working out a trade with the future in mind.
While it cannot be ignored that unforeseen burdens such as injuries to key players, the decline of Chris Paul, and the absence of Jae Crowder have been a thorn in the side of the Phoenix Suns this season. Some of the blame has to fall on the front office.
The inaction of the front office has put the Suns in a disfavorable position when negotiating trades. This mediocre start has hurt the stock of DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder. Trade rumors since the past offseason have surrounded these players. Crowder is yet to play for the Suns this season, and Ayton’s inconsistent play has not done anything to raise his stock around the league. For either player, the value in them is their potential to play better basketball in a different situation.
The inaction of the Phoenix Suns’ front office has also been a burden on Monty Williams this season. Not flipping Jae Crowder for another player, even a less talented or polished player, would have helped tremendously. Maybe the extra depth helps the Suns remain in the thick of the playoff race. Instead, the Suns have failed to trade a disgruntled Jae Crowder.
To make matters even more dire for the Suns, it’s not only their frontcourt that has visibly regressed. Their backcourt is clearly in decline as well. It would be easy to point towards the injury of Devin Booker, but the ever-increasing signs of Chris Paul being in the twilight of his basketball career is a more concerning issue.
Chris Paul always has been and always will be known for his passing ability and court vision. However, his scoring ability is what elevated him to superstardom. That scoring ability has dwindled immensely, which means less attention is paid to Paul when he has the ball, which makes setting up teammates harder.
Paul likely only has a few seasons in his left, so there is no time for the Suns to waste if they want another shot at a title. This season they were falling apart when Book got injured evidence enough that this roster does not have enough to challenge the elite teams. Time to retool and get Booker enough help so the Suns have a realistic chance at a championship in the near future.
The NBA is buzzing with a few trades already getting done, like the Wizards-Lakers trade, and there is no shortage of rumors being floated around, either. There are teams out there looking to add more talent, and Phoenix should be shopping around their pieces that don’t fit anymore.