Suns’ Aligning Stars Terrifying the West


With injuries still lingering among key role players, this Phoenix Suns team is looking to right all wrongs they have had so far along the year.

With a long two weeks of basketball to look back on, they are still looking to finally crack the final level of play. While it all hasn’t come together at once, reassuringly, the possibilities we have seen individually should catch a few eyes across the league.

Because this team can still beat any team, any given night.

These last three victories by the Suns have been highlighted by a few different key points. The resurrection of Point God, Chris Paul. Devin Booker getting back to action, picking up right where he left off as the Suns’ best player. The bench unit still being alive and well, while rotations are still taking shape. And Deandre Ayton, giving not only the fans but the players, what they have been waiting for all year– DominAyton.

Soon the rest of the team will be healthy and primed to cement their place in the west.

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Book Caps Off Return With a Bang

It’s safe to say the Suns missed their star shooting guard. After missing the last four games due to a right hamstring injury, Booker comes in and drops 24 points on 47% shooting, 4-8 from distance, and does THIS to seal the two-game sweep in Dallas.

Coming into the year, it was already clear this Suns team was going to be a threat with the ability to have Book or CP3 take the ball down the stretch. Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks, we got a first-hand look at what is to come. Taking turns scoring clutch buckets in the fourth quarter, Booker and Paul combined for 25 of the Suns’ 32 fourth-quarter points.

In the end, however, it came down to one final shot. With ten seconds left on the clock, head coach Monty Williams drew up a play comfortable for everyone saying, “that’s a play CP3 has done before, so Paul knew the timing”. Meshing together and truly understanding one another’s game is going to be crucial amidst Booker’s return between these two. The faster they can right the ship together, the sooner this team will be complete.

Paul continues high-level play in the fourth quarter

While fourth quarters and finishing games hasn’t been the Suns’ strong suit thus far, there is something so beautiful about the way CP3 plays basketball in the fourth quarter. There is no stopping him from getting the defender he wants or the spot on the floor where he wants to shoot. On Saturday night, it was no different for Paul. Obviously, he got his mid-range game going, hitting 2-3 from there in the fourth. He also hit a clutch three-pointer — his first of the night — to put them up by one in crunch time.

Big buckets from Paul in the fourth is nothing new for him, and this Suns team will need him to continue this trend for the future.

Frank-the-Tank Near Triple-Double

With injuries to Dario Saric and Cameron Payne still pestering the Suns, the rotations have been irregular to say the least. One person that has been able to benefit from these oddities, however, has been none other than the one-of-a-kind Frank Kaminsky. Thursday night against the Warriors, the late spotlight was on the six-year vet. Putting up a sweet 12/8/13 on 44% shooting and even hitting beyond the arc once midway through the fourth quarter, the team was hunting to get him his first career triple-double.

Jokingly, at his own expense, the attempt was unsuccessful.

Sparks like this are all around the Suns’ bench. From Cameron Johnson and Langston Galloway‘s ability to heat up like a microwave to Abdel Nader, who is earning deserved playing time. The depth continues to be a staple as of late, keeping the team afloat.

Is Ayton’s Aggression Here to Stay?

To answer that question straightforwardly, we all can only hope so. These past eight games, the former No. 1 pick has been showing us what teammates have been encouraging him to do all year.

After Wednesday’s win against the Houston Rockets, Booker said “I want more. I want to see more. And that’s what I told him.”

One area of improvement has been Ayton’s strength and his finishing above the rim. In the last eight games, Ayton has registered 21 dunks. This compared to putting in only seven dunks in his first 11 games, there has been a noticeable change in his paint demeanor. Not only has he been getting it done scoring-wise, but Ayton is also averaging 15 rebounds in this stretch, good for 2nd in the NBA over that span

The defense has also been the main priority of his thus far, and his team is taking notice of his improvements. Ayton is averaging 1.1 blocks a game this season while maintaining as the anchor for the squad. Quotes from Wednesday’s game against Houston acknowledge Monty taking note of the energy he can bring, saying, “It gives us a lot of juice”, while teammate Cameron Payne goes to add on “Just to know he’s back there taking care of the dirty work — it’s huge for us”.

Ayton has matched up against premier big men across the league so far this season already, and he has held his own better than anyone could have asked for.

Next up for The Fellas

Finishing up their three-game road trip before heading home, the Suns will travel to New Orleans to take on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. One more on the road gives this team a chance to test themselves against another Western Conference standard team and work out any kinks before landing for a seven-game homestand. With the injury plague coming to an end soon (knock on wood, PLEASE) this team can’t wait to get back on the floor together, while neither can the fans.

About Cameron Prichard

Twitter: @CameronPNBA

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