The Phoenix Suns deserve a ton of credit for going a perfect 8-0 in the Orlando bubble, and nearly earning their way into the play-in tournament between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds in the Western Conference.
Devin Booker was unbelievable, averaging 30.5 points and 6.0 assists, while shooting over 50 percent from the field. One of the best moments out of all of the seeding games was his game winner vs. the Los Angeles Clippers at the buzzer.
(Quick side note -- the team's official Twitter account produced some incredible content over the last couple of weeks, and pretty much became a must-follow.)
Because of what the Suns accomplished in the 2019-20 season restart, there are people across the basketball world who are expecting big things next season.
Should the Warriors view Phoenix as a legitimate threat in the West, or at the very least a team that definitely will be competing for a playoff spot? In short, the answer is no. Pump the brakes.
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It just was one week ago when Golden State forward Draymond Green disparaged the Suns' organization, saying he wishes Booker could leave the franchise because playing there is "not good for his career." Since 2010 -- when the Suns last made the playoffs -- they have finished with a winning record one time. Furthermore, it's well known that ownership isn't exactly committed to spending the necessary money on the roster, and it's fair to assume things could get worse on the financial front because of the coronavirus pandemic.
My immediate reaction = this might tell us something about where Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver stands financially ... 🤔 https://t.co/btV12MfXoj— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) July 29, 2020
The reality is that Phoenix entered the bubble with no expectations whatsoever, and absolutely had nothing to lose. As mentioned before, they should be showered with praise for not mailing it in. They took it to heart to improve individually and collectively, wanting to prove the NBA right simply for including them.
But yours truly isn't going to take the Suns seriously until we see how they perform when legitimate stakes are on the line. Let's see if they can rise to the occasion when the opposition treats them like a legitimate threat, and they aren't able to sneak up on teams.
If fans return to arenas at some point next season, will the Suns be able to go on the road and win consistently? When adversity hits and they're feeling the pressure, how will they respond?
Furthermore, while it's way too early to fully project the landscape (we got to see what happens with the NBA draft and free agency in October), we know the Western Conference is loaded.
The nine 2020 playoff teams aren't going anywhere, and the New Orleans Pelicans (if they stay healthy) should be vastly improved. And then there's the Warriors, who typically play the Suns four times each season because they're in the same division. The Dubs expect to go from the team with the worst record in the NBA, to legitimate 2020-21 title contenders.
Plain and simple -- it's going to be very, very hard for the Suns to reach the postseason next year. And we doubt the Warriors are losing any sleep thinking about the franchise coach Steve Kerr was the general manager of from 2007 to 2010.