Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Phoenix Suns Season Preview

Phoenix Suns Season Preview
LOS ANGELES, USA - NOVEMBER 06 : Devin Booker of Phoenix Suns gestures during a NBA game between Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns at Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA on November 06, 2016. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns have been as unstable as any franchise in the NBA over the past decade and this Phoenix Suns 2019 season preview will show that things aren’t slated to change in a big way. Will any progress be made, however?

Phoenix Suns 2019 Season Preview

Recap of Last Season

Things started badly in Phoenix last season and never got better. The team managed to win only 19 games, finishing dead last in the Western Conference.

On December 11th, following a ten-game losing streak, the Suns found themselves sitting at just 4-24. From that point, it became clear it was another lost season in Phoenix, leading to the team giving more playing time to younger players.

The main bright spots were right where you’d expect. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton were the two best players by far. Booker continued to pour in points, scoring 26.6 per game, while Ayton finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Ayton was able to do that by averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Ayton was also extremely efficient. On two-point field goals, Ayton shot 58.8 percent. While Booker was the leading scorer, Ayton was probably the biggest bright spot of last season.

Offseason Changes

Phoenix turned over a lot this offseason, and not just on the roster. After just one season the team moved on from head coach Igor Kokoskov. This continued the massive amount of instability the team has had on the sidelines. To replace him, they hired Monty Williams from the coaching staff of the Philadelphia 76ers. The coaching instability in Phoenix is telling. However, Monty Williams has a lot of respect throughout the league.

On the court, the Suns made a lot of changes as well. The team decided to move on from former first-round picks T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson.

Those moves weren’t surprising, especially the trading of Josh Jackson. Jackson has struggled since coming into the NBA. He’s also begun to grow a reputation of being a headache for the team to deal with, making him being traded not surprising.

Warren being traded is a bit more surprising. He’s been able to put up numbers in his pro career, but he has been a bit of a stat padder, who doesn’t necessarily make plays that make his team better. For that reason, it wasn’t a bad move to move on from him, given the team only won 19 games last season with Warren scoring the way he did.

In the draft, the team picked up University of North Carolina guard Cameron Johnson. This move was a surprise given where Johnson was projected to go and where the team drafted him.

The most notable pickup in free agency was veteran point guard Ricky Rubio. Rubio isn’t one of the top point guards in the league, but he will have value on this team. Devin Booker has struggled running the point, but with Rubio in the fold, he’ll now be able to play off the ball much more, where he excels.

Expectations

The expectations should be low once again. There’s no reason for the Phoenix Suns 2019 season to involve less than 20 wins like it did last season. However, this roster is still far away from coming close to contending for a playoff spot in the West.

With Booker being able to play off the ball, the team having a real point guard, and Ayton going into his second season, things should run smoother, especially on the offensive end.

The main reason not a lot is expected of this team is the offense is still going to be reliant on just a couple of players, there isn’t much depth, but most notably, this team will struggle defensively.

Phoenix Suns 2019 Season Prediction

Phoenix will finish at the bottom of the Pacific Division for the fourth straight season. There will however be an improvement in the quality of play. Offensively the team is going to run smoother. They have a coach who has NBA head coaching experience and a real point guard in Rubio, who will allow Booker to play off the ball.

With Booker playing off the ball, he’ll be more efficient of a scorer because he will be able to come off of screens and get more open looks than the last couple of seasons when he’s been handling the ball.

Ayton will also continue his development. Last season, especially late in the season, Ayton showed why teams lined up to try and draft him first. Ayton will continue to develop his offensive game and will show his athleticism with improvement on the defensive end.

The Suns, while still finishing last in their division, will win between 25-30 games as opposed to the 19 games they won this past season.

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