2015-16 NBA Previews – Suns
After a dramatic 2014-2015 season which saw them miss out on the playoffs after losing 9 of their last 10 games, the Phoenix Suns are hungrier than even for their first playoff berth since the 2009-2010 season. With Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight running the backcourt once more and new addition Tyson Chandler clogging the paint, does this team now have what it takes to make a postseason appearance?
Phoenix Suns Season Preview
Head Coach: Jeff Hornacek
2014 Record: 39-43
Suns Odds to NBA Title: 300-1
Suns Odds to Win Conference: 150-1
Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight make up one of the most lethal, young backcourts in the entire NBA. They are the perfect pieces for the Suns’ traditional fast-paced run n’ gun offense and have proven that they can compete with any other backcourt in the NBA.
Being that Knight is 6’3″ and Bledsoe is 6’1″, it’s been impressive that they’ve had so much success as practically a duo-PG backcourt. Being that these two also make up for one of the youngest backcourts in the NBA as Bledsoe is 25 and Knight is 23, it’s even more impressive.
When looking at whatever issues may loom on this team, you can’t bring those two Kentucky alumni into the conversation. The backcourt is great, albeit unorthodox; but what about the front court? Well, it just improved.
Tyson Chandler, former NBA Champion, All-Star, and Defensive Player of the Year, signed with the Phoenix Suns this offseason, giving them a much needed dominant presence at center.
Chandler will fill the void left by Marcin Gortat years ago. Miles Plumlee was never a dominant force for the Suns and his terrible free throw shooting just made it worse.
Chandler will be joining the young, talented Markieff Morris in a dangerous frontcourt combo, along with small forward P.J. Tucker.
Drama was at an all-time high this offseason when Marcus Morris was unexpectedly traded to the Detroit Pistons in a whirlwind of hopes for the Phoenix Suns as they gambled for free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
These efforts were proven unsuccessful as Aldridge signed with Gregg Popavich’s rival San Antonio Spurs. Without say, Markieff Morris, Marcus’ twin brother, was outraged by the trade and had spent weeks going back and forth with the organization requesting a one-way ticket out of Phoenix.
Markieff Morris, who was one of the Suns’ most impactful and dependable players last season, has since then made it publicly known that he wants to remain a Sun.
Nobody exactly knows what Markieff Morris really wants, whether these words were just said in efforts to repair his reputation or not, but if this drama rolls over into the regular season it could be very detrimental to any kind of playoff hopes the Suns have.
With that said, the loss of Markieff Morris would be catastrophic for the Phoenix Suns.
It’s no surprise that the Suns’ front office is once again stirring up trouble with a player. This front office talks nothing but pure business, and it has driven some players out of town. Goran Dragic was a prime example of this, having his role on the team decreased after being awarded All-NBA Third Team honors.
One of the big on-court issues with this Suns team is their lack of defensive presence, which the combo of Bledsoe, Tucker, and Chandler should fix. Whether the simple addition of Chandler will be enough to fix that, nobody knows quite yet.
Another big issue with Phoenix is their inconsistency on offense and their lack of depth. The Phoenix Suns’ bench rotation looks something like Ronnie Price, Archie Goodwin, Sonny Weems, Mirza Teletovic, and Alex Len. That kind of speaks for itself.
Suns Key Personnel Losses:
It’s been a busy offseason for the Phoenix Suns. Eight players from the 2014-2015 season have left the suns so far, including off-the-bench electrifier Gerald Green. The high-flying former NBA Dunk Contest Champion has come along way since his days as a one trick pony.
Green vowed to work on the rest of his game while taking time off from the NBA, coming back with proof of his improvement.
Green found himself an all-around scorer with some great hustle to add to his game. Green started off hot for the Phoenix Suns last season, but later into the season his production started to become very inconsistent.
As a result, Green was left off of the Suns’ budget for the 2015 offseason.
He wasn’t a free agent for long though, joining former Sun Goran Dragic on the Miami Heat. Oh the juicy gossip they’ll have to talk about in the locker room.
Other losses include Earl Barron, Danny Granger, Jerel McNeal, Reggi Bullock, Brandan Wright, Marcus Thornton, and the aforementioned Marcus Morris.
Suns Top Newcomers:
As eight players left Phoenix this offseason, seven found themselves new members of the Suns.
Let me just touch very briefly on a player I had already discussed; Tyson Chandler. Chandler will be bringing what the Phoenix Suns have missed since Marcin Gortat’s years as a Sun.
His hard nose defense will prevent Phoenix from being taken advantage of in the paint and, despite his age, he can still get up for a rim-rattling slam on the offensive end.
Another exciting addition is rookie Devin Booker, another Kentucky product who will fit just right with Phoenix’s obsession with three point shooters. Booker is a 6’6″ shooting guard who was pretty agreed upon as the best shooter in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Even though the 18-year-old has not yet been listed as a second-string player on the projected depth charts for Phoenix, I can’t see the Suns leaving a deadeye shooter on the bench for too long.
Suns 2015 Betting Prediction: 43-39
I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again; with the signing of Tyson Chandler, the Phoenix Suns finally have a true center. This much improved front court, which will be joining a talented backcourt in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, will help lead the Phoenix Suns to an improved record and, better yet, a possible playoff spot.
I could see the Suns sneaking in an eight-seed in the Western Conference come the postseason with a chance at securing the seven-seed.
However, if this Markieff Morris thing becomes something more, it could spell trouble for the Phoenix Suns. However, if he ends up staying and puts those issues behind him, this team could surprise a lot of people.
Keep a close eye on this situation if you’re thinking about placing a bet on this reequipped Phoenix Suns team.
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