The Phoenix Suns will treat the second apron the way a monster truck treats speed bumps. After acquiring Bradley Beal, the Suns now have 3 players on max contracts. In 2024, their big 3 will each earn over $50 million dollars a year. For now, Mat Ishbia has new owner syndrome and has expressed his willingness to spare no expense in pursuit of a title. Will he give Steve Ballmer a run for his money or will he be the next Mikhail Prokhorov? Time, and the luxury tax, will tell.
Phoenix Suns (Over/Under 51.5)
Key Additions- Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Jusuf Nurkic, Eric Gordon, Yuta Watanabe, Keita Bates-Diop, Drew Eubanks
Key Losses- DeAndre Ayton, Cam Payne, Chris Paul
To call Phoenix’s offseason eventful would be an understatement. You’ve read 1000s of words on it already so we will summarize it as quickly as we can then move on to what that will mean for their short and long-term prospects.
DeAndre Ayton for Jusif Nurkic - The trade wasn’t about talent. It wasn’t about on-court fit. Ayton never forgave the team for asking him to earn his max contract and has been a cancer in the lock room since. On the court, he refused to put his ego aside and do the dirty work the team needed. He cared about DeAndre Ayton first and the Suns title hopes second. It was time for him to go and the team chose to break his deal up into what they hope will be depth pieces.
Bradley Beal for filler - New Owner Syndrome. Beal does nothing to solve the team’s main issues. He doesn’t provide defense. His playmaking ability is questionable. He thrives with the ball in his hands and that won’t happen with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant ahead of him in the hierarchy. Will it matter during the regular season? Probably not and more on that later. This deal will judged on whether or not Beal is available to play in the postseason and whether his presence on the court is a negative or a positive.
The Suns have taken a stars and scrubs approach to team building. I question the fit of their big 3 but can admit they did well with Eric Gordon and their collection of minimum-salary players before the Ayton trade went down. Nurkic is not as Ayton but he will set screens and battle in the trenches. On most nights, the Suns will have enough firepower to run most teams out of the gym. They should comfortably hit the over but, in truth, their season starts in April. I want to see them defend the Denver Nuggets. If hell happens to freeze over and the Clippers are healthy come the postseason, I want to see how Phoenix will deal with their two star wings. As confident as I am about them hitting their over, I am doubly confident that this team will disappoint in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Over 51.5 Wins