The Phoenix Suns had one of their worst seasons in history last year. The Suns finished their season with 19 wins and 63 losses. The last time the Phoenix Suns had less than 20 wins in a season was in 1969. Nonetheless, this losing streak turned into a bright spot for that 1969 Suns team as the following season, the Suns gained 23 wins and bounced back to 39 wins. Just like the Suns, there have been numerous teams throughout history that had a great season turnaround like the 69’ to 70’ suns.
Greatest turnarounds ever:
- Celtics 06’-07’ went 24-58, 07’-08’ 66-16
- San Antonio Spurs 88’-89’ went 31-51, 89’-90’ 56-26
- Phoenix Suns 03’-04’ went 29-53, 04’-05’ 62-20
- Milwaukee Bucks 68’-69’ went 27-54, 69’-70’ 56-26
As of writing this article, Westgate in Vegas has the over under on wins at 29.5. Do I believe the 19’-20’ Suns can make the greatest turnarounds ever list next year??? Sadly, the answer is no. I would drive to Vegas right now and take the under in a heartbeat as I believe the Suns will get 27 wins this year and at most 30 wins. A major factor to this reasoning is that the Pacific Division and Western Conference are loaded this year. The teams in the Pacific Division are Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, and Kings. I have no faith the Suns are better than the Lakers, Clippers, or Warriors, but it is possible that the Suns could be better than the Kings this year which could bolster the teams winning numbers. The Western Conference has the Pacific Division plus the Jazz, Thunder, Spurs, Pacers, and the Nuggets. Do you believe the Suns are better than any of the teams listed above? As opposed to writing an article about playoff aspirations for the Suns, that I don’t believe will happen, I wanted to write an article about the multifaceted attributes I am looking for this season as well as some impacting factors I worry about seeing this upcoming season.
What To Watch Out For:
- Monty Williams improving as a head coach- Monty Williams has not been a head coach since the 14’-15’ season for the New Orleans Pelicans. Since being fired as head coach of Pelicans, Monty has had great opportunities to assist admired coaches such as Billy Donovan, head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The season Williams assisted the Thunder that team made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors. Another coach Monty Williams assisted was Brett Brown last year with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Milwaukee Bucks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals before inevitably losing to the future NBA championship team the Toronto Raptors. Last but definitely not least Monty Williams coached with Coach K during the Olympics!
- Devin Booker becoming a great leader- Since Booker has joined the Suns (not entirely Booker’s fault) the season win totals have been 23, 24, 21, and 19 wins. If Booker develops into a great leader, the Suns could take a step forward.
- Deandre Ayton needs to put forth effort every game- During Deandre Aytons’ rookie year, there were stretches of games that were hard to watch. There were days where he put in minimal effort and wouldn’t dive for balls or fight for rebounds, however; when Ayton put forth effort, he looked like a monster out there with double digit rebounds and points.
- Point Guard- Ricky Rubio is the first real point guard the Suns have had in two years! Even though Rubio wasn’t the free agent acquisition Suns fans wanted, his presence will be known immediately.
- Cam Johnson develop into a true off the ball shooter- If Cam develops into a great NBA shooter the floor could be spread more allowing Ayton and Booker to be more effective in their positions.
What I Do Not Want To See This Year:
- Suns excited after being blown out- Praising Devin Booker for scoring 50 points in a game even though the Suns still lose by 30 points is not the goal of basketball. I want to watch Monty Williams prioritize victories and not single game stats. This also goes back to Devin Booker being a better leader also.
- Cam Johnson bust- No offense to Cam Johnson the player, the pressure goes to the Suns organization. No one has watched Johnson play a real NBA game yet so I’m not going to judge him too harshly this year. Since 08 Suns have drafted 16 players in the first round Robin Lopez, Earl Clark, Markieff Morris, Kendall Marshall, Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren, Tyler Enis, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Devin Booker, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chris, Josh Jackson, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and now Cam Johnson. In 11 years the Suns have had 16 1st round picks and I can argue 1 player has developed into a good player which is Devin Booker. Ayton and Johnson need more time to develop before the NBA decides if they are a bust or not.
- Suns being blown out- Last year the Suns lost by 40 points in 4 games, if you combine the 49 seasons before this last year the Suns lost by 40 points 4 times in team history!
- Head Coach for more than 1 year- The last coach that endured more than one year was Jeff Hornacek between 2013-2016. The last time Suns had a coach with a winning record was Alvin Gentry 2009 to 2013.
Suns fans, our hope this year should be watch for real progress. The Phoenix Suns have not won more than 24 games since the 2013-2014 season. Hopefully Monty Williams has learned a lot in the 4 years of not being a head coach and developed a way to instill a winning mentality in to these young Phoenix Suns players. Suns fans should not be expecting the team to go 39-43 but if the season point differential goes down from -9.3 to even -6.5 and if the suns season win total can finally reach over 24 wins, the Suns can keep developing their young core team for the future.