Pacific Division Roundup: Phoenix Suns

Aug 14, 2023, 10:05 AM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Harrison Barnes ...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

NBA training camps will open next month, meaning we are closing in on the start of the 2023-24 season.

As we prepare for another exciting season of Sacramento Kings basketball, it’s time to look around at the Pacific Division and check on what the five returning NBA Playoff teams have done to upgrade their rosters this summer.

Which teams have made the most significant changes? Although Sacramento is the reigning Pacific Division champion, has another team done enough to its roster to take the crown?

Let’s dive in.

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Phoenix Suns

  • 2022-23 record: 45-37
  • Place in Pacific: 2nd
  • Finish in Western Conference: 4th seed
  • Playoffs: Lost 2-4 to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals

Out of all 30 NBA teams, the Phoenix Suns arguably took the biggest swings at upgrading its roster this summer.

Future Hall of Fame guard Chris Paul was sent to the Washington Wizards in return for three-time All-Star scorer Bradley Beal in a move that forms a new ‘Big 3’ in the desert with Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant.

Speaking of big swings, the Suns have yet to get a full view of Durant’s impact with the organization after the team made a mid-season trade with Brooklyn to acquire the 13-time All-Star.

Durant only played in eight regular season games with the Suns after suffering a freak injury during pregame warmups before his home debut at Footprint Center, where the 34-year-old slipped and suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him until the end of March.

When Durant is on the floor, he can turn any mid-tier team into a legitimate contender, meaning that his availability for a full season with a Phoenix core that includes Beal, a career 22-point-per-game scorer and Booker, an All-Star that averaged 28 points per game in 2022-23, could spell trouble for the Western Conference.

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With Durant, Booker, and Beal, the Suns have planted themselves as a top-five NBA Finals contender, per FanDuel. Phoenix has the fourth-best odds of claiming an NBA championship, only trailing the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Milwaukee Bucks.

Aside from the shocking move that brought Beal to Arizona, here are the rest of Phoenix’s offseason moves:

Phoenix Suns Offseason Moves & Depth Chart

  • Named Frank Vogel head coach
  • Traded guards Chris Paul and Landry Shamet to Washington in return for guard Bradley Beal (also sent draft compensation)
  • Re-signed guard Damion Lee
  • Re-signed Josh Okogie
  • Signed guard Eric Gordon
  • Signed forward Chimezie Metu
  • Signed center Bol Bol
  • Signed forward Keita Bates-Diop
  • Signed forward Yuta Watanabe
  • Signed center Drew Eubanks
  • Signed forward Toumani Camara
  • Traded guard Cameron Payne to San Antonio for draft compensation

Phoenix is thin at the point guard spots now that Paul and Payne, the organizations’s point guard depth during its recent run of playoff appearances, have been shipped out.

Bradley Beal will open up the season as Phoenix’s table-setter on offense, although the guard has spent most of his career at the two-spot rather than the point. According to Basketball Reference, Beal has spent 82 percent of his minutes at the shooting guard position and 10 percent at the point during the first 11 seasons of his career.

As is the case with fellow Pacific Division teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento Kings, Phoenix has plenty of depth behind its star-studded starters.

Veteran guard Eric Gordon inked a veteran’s minimum deal with the Suns, while players like Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks, Bol Bol, and former Kings forward Chimezie Metu inked minimum deals as well to give Phoenix some notable depth.

The Suns dealt with injury issues during the 2022-23 season that led to a third-place finish in the Pacific Division. If Durant, Beal, and Booker all turn in healthy seasons in 2023-24, one can only wonder if a deep postseason run or NBA Finals appearance could be in the cards for this Suns team.

Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule

  • August TBD – 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • September TBD – Sacramento Kings training camp begins
  • Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason opener)
  • October TBD – NBA regular season begins

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Pacific Division Roundup: Phoenix Suns