Last season, the Phoenix Suns finished last in the NBA with 21 wins. Their defense was abysmal, allowing 113.3 points per game, which was ranked last in the league. Given that the Suns are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, along with undergoing coaching changes, expectations were very low. Now, the Suns have a new Head Coach, Igor Kokoskov, and new players to add to their young nucleus. How far will the Suns go this season? Here’s a look at the 2018-19 Phoenix Suns season preview.
Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Phoenix Suns Season Preview
What Worked Last Season?
Devin Booker emerged as a star last season. Booker finished with a career-high 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. On July 7th, Booker signed a 5 year $158 million max contract extension. Booker is now mentioned with the top stars in the NBA. All eyes will be on him this upcoming season.
T.J. Warren also stepped up. Warren finished last season with a career-high 19.7 points per game and tied his career high in rebounds with 5.1 boards per game. Warren has put together back-to-back solid seasons after struggling during his first two years in the league.
What Needs Improvement?
The Suns need to improve greatly on defense. They finished last in the NBA in defensive ratings. Opponents shot over 47 percent against them. Also, they need to keep teams off the glass. They were ranked 29th in opponent rebounding.
The Suns also need to shoot better. Last season, they only shot 44.2 percent, which ranked them 28th in the league. The Suns were ranked last in three-point shooting, which was 33.4 percent. Although Booker was fantastic, his shooting percentage was low, at 43.2 percent. Josh Jackson needs to step up offensively as well, as he could really help this young team blossom.
The Suns made a few moves this off-season to add veteran leadership. During free agency, the Suns were able to land Trevor Ariza with a 1-year deal. They also acquired Ryan Anderson, along with rookie De’Anthony Melton, from the Houston Rockets in a trade for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight. In this year’s NBA Draft, the Suns selected coveted big man Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges (via trade) in the first round. Overall, the Suns did not take a huge leap forward. They are building towards the future. With Booker, Jackson, and Ayton in place, the Suns have the talent to win in a few years but are nowhere near ready just yet.
2018-2019 Season Prediction
Last year, we accurately predicted the Suns will not win many games, as they are taking baby steps towards the future. That trend will continue this upcoming season. The Suns are still in building mode. The veteran leadership of Ariza and Anderson will help lead the young roster. Booker is one of the young faces of the NBA, and his play should skyrocket this season. They are not ready to compete for a playoff spot but they will improve on their win total from last season. We believe that the Suns will reach at least 30 wins this year, but expectations should remain low for now. One thing is for certain: the Suns will be more exciting to watch this upcoming season.
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