Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Tomahawk Tuesday: The Phoenix Suns are starting to find their groove
Currently sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 16-52 record, not a lot has gone right for the Phoenix Suns this season. T.J. Warren (18.0 points per game) went down with a right ankle injury and has missed 25 games and counting. On top of that, Devin Booker (25.1 points per game) has missed 15 games due to a hamstring injury. When you combine youth with injury, you have a recipe for a lot of losses.
Despite this adversity, this Suns team has found a way to stay together and it's starting to show in their most recent outings. In their last 10 games, the Suns are 5-5. Even more recently, they've won four of their last five games defeating the Lakers, Bucks, Knicks, and Warriors. That's right, they've defeated the top team in the Eastern Conference (Bucks) and the top team in the Western Conference (Warriors) in their last five games. If that isn't finding a groove, I don't know what it is.
What seems to be making the difference is Devin Booker going off and Kelly Oubre, Jr. starting to find his footing with his new team. In their 114-105 win over the Bucks, Oubre finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds. In their win over the Warriors, Oubre had 22 points and 5 rebounds while Booker finished with 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists. Against the lousy Knicks, Booker scored 41 points while Oubre chipped in 18.
While not having as explosive of outings, Deandre Ayton has done a good job of being the brick of this team. He's missed hardly any time (6 games) while averaging 16.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He's always hovering right around his scoring average, providing the Suns with a lot of consistency.
If I'm a Suns fan, I would be feeling optimistic about the future. Booker, Oubre, Ayton, and Warren form a really talented core that is starting to figure out how to win basketball games. What's been particularly impressive about the Suns' recent hot streak is the fact that they've been doing this without Warren. Once he gets back, it should be really interesting to see what this team does.
The bottom line is that this year is all about growth and development with wins not being the main focus. What you want to see is improvement and the Suns are definitely showing that. Provided they keep this core together and everyone stays healthy, there's no reason to doubt this team's ability to become a force in the Western Conference.
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