The Phoenix Suns have been on a dry spell for years. Steve Nash led them to the playoffs in the 2009-2010 season as the third seed, but they haven’t seen any playoff action since. In the following years, their performance continued getting worse and worse. At the end of the 2012-2013 season, their record was 25-57, the worst record in the Western Conference.
Their downfall began with the loss of Amar’e Stoudemire in 2011. The Suns offered him a mutli-year contract extension, but he chose to sign with the Knicks instead. Stoudemire was the leading scorer for the Suns, averaging 23 PPG, so the team was hit hard. Unfortunately, Nash was 35 years old at the time, and he didn’t have much left in the tank so he could not take on Stoudemire’s scoring role himself (It also did not fit his play style). The following season, Jason Richardson led the team in scoring with 19 PPG. However, it wasn’t enough to make up for losing Stoudemire. To make matters worse, Nash headed to the Lakers in 2012 through a sign-and-trade deal. Without any stars, the Suns continued going downhill before they seemed to make a comeback in the 2013-2014 season. However, the streak did not last.
While the Suns have not performed well over the past few seasons, their future is looking bright. They have a very young team with a lot of potential. With the 13th pick of the 2015 draft, they selected Devin Booker. While his rookie season wasn’t amazing, he seemed to develop into a superstar overnight. During his second year in the NBA, he scored 22 PPG and 3.4 assists per game. This year, he scored 26 PPG and dished out 6.6 assists per game while shooting an astounding 48% percent from the field. To top it all off, he was an all-star and he competed in the three-point contest.
With the first pick of the 2018 draft, the Suns selected Deandre Ayton. He put up solid numbers his rookie season, averaging 16.3 PPG and 10 rebounds per game. This year, he averaged 19 PPG, 1.7 blocks per game, and 12 rebounds per game. It should also be taken into account that Ayton was suspended for 25 games for the use of a diuretic.
The Suns also have done a pretty decent job surrounding Booker and Ayton with solid teammates. Kelly Oubre, another young, developing player, is averaging 19 PPG and 6 rebounds per game. The Suns tried adding some experience to the roster through the signing of Ricky Rubio. While his scoring output was not great, he averaged 9 assists per game and turned out to be the playmaker the Suns needed. Frank Kaminsky, Aron Baynes, and Dario Saric, all seasoned players, averaged double digit points as well.
All in all, the Suns have some serious young talent with a lot of potential. The mix of these young stars along with seasoned players could bring the team far in the next few years.