Despite sitting 14th in the Western Conference standings with a 19-46 record, the Phoenix Suns are showing promise for the future. Sure, there have been embarrassing performances aplenty at Talking Stick Resort Arena this season, but there have also been a few glimmers of hope that should keep Suns fans coming back.
Here, we look at some of the positives Phoenix can build on in the years to come.
Much like Philadelphia’s ‘Trust the Process’, the Suns have their own ‘Timeline’ as they build around young stars Devin Booker and Josh Jackson.
Booker, fresh from winning the NBA 3-point contest, is progressing into a genuine offensive superstar with 25.2 points and 4.8 assists per contest to lead the team. The third-year guard is the leader of this franchise, and although he is only 21 years old himself, was named team captain at the start of the season.
Jackson, on the other hand, found life difficult early on this season as he struggled to transition from the college game to the grind of NBA basketball. The 21-year-old wing was struggling with his shot before the All-Star Break, but since then has averaged 18.3 points per game on 46% shooting as he has settled into Phoenix’s offense.
Although it may be Booker and Jackson who are receiving all the plaudits at the moment, the roles played by Dragan Bender, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss and Alex Len cannot be underestimated as the Suns have fully committed to the kids.
At this season’s trade deadline, the Suns made arguably their most shrewd bit of business when they picked up guard Elfrid Payton from the Orlando Magic. In just eight starts, the 2014 first-round pick has flourished in Arizona, averaging 17.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. The crazy haired playmaker has found a home in Phoenix, and the Suns might well have found their point guard of the future.
Good business like this reflects that Phoenix's front office has the right trade strategy in place, and they'll need similarly shrewd moves to keep the momentum going at the end of this season.
There’s plenty more to come
The front office will get its chance to do exactly that once this often difficult season for Suns fans finally comes to a close. With two first-round picks coming their way in the upcoming draft, including an expected lottery pick, the Suns will again get the chance to add a star out of college.
With local Arizona centre DeAndre Ayton, Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr, Missouri wing Michael Porter Jr and Duke forward Marvin Bagley all tipped to go near the top, the Suns will have no shortage of quality to choose from in their surge towards relevance.
How do you see the Suns' 'Timeline' progressing? Comment below!