Where will the Phoenix Suns rank in the Western Conference? Playing in the toughest conference in the NBA and having a very young talented roster can put you anywhere from top four to bottom four in the west. Here are some reasons why the Suns could make the playoffs and why they will miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
Why they make the playoffs
The Suns landed the number one overall pick and selected Deandre Ayton and traded for Mikal Bridges. Last year, they had a top four pick and took Josh Jackson out of Kansas and the year before that they once again landed two top ten picks by selecting Dragan Bender and trading with the Kings for Marquese Chriss. Say what you want about general manager Ryan McDonugh, but he knows how do work his magic on draft night.
The Booker Effect
The Suns locked up one of the best young players in the league on with a five-year $158 million contract extension. Booker is entering his fourth year in the NBA and has averaged 19.8 points per game with 3.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds as he continues to get better yearly. With the addition of Ayton and Bridges along with, Booker and the Suns have a bright future on the horizon.
The Wild, Wild West
With the Los Angeles Lakers adding LeBron James, the West added another superstar to a conference that’s already filled with talented players. The Houston Rockets re-signed Chris Paul, the Golden State Warriors, who already has a very talented roster, added DeMarcus Cousins to the mix giving them a very dangerous starting five. Paul George re-upped with Oklahoma City as well.
Meanwhile Utah, Portland, New Orleans, and Minnesota continue to get better with all of their young talent already on display. You cannot count out San Antonio just yet as long as they have Kawhi Leonard. With Gregg Popovich still on the bench, you can never overlook them.
The Suns do have a talented roster in place. One of the biggest is they are already one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Currently on their roster, they have 10 players under the age of 25. With young talent comes the inexperience in the big games and down the stretch of an 82-game season young talent does not match up with the teams that have more veteran leadership. Thus, making it hard to secure a playoff bid.
A perfect example is the Timberwolves-Nuggets defacto play-in scenario on the last day of the season. The Nuggets were a young and talented team, but the Wolves featured seasoned vets like Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, landing them the eighth seed.
With this all being said, Phoenix is making strides to be a formidable team for years to come. Heading into the 2018 season the Suns could win many games, but finish as a 10th, 11th, or 12th seed. The West is too strong right now for this young crop.