After a subpar December that saw them win only six of their 14 games, the Phoenix Suns have had a much better time in 2024 so far.
A relatively clean bill of health has allowed them to recover some ground in the standings as their high-scoring trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal have finally been able to share the floor with one another.
The Suns are slowly heating up and are riding a four-game winning streak that has improved their record on the season to 23-18. They are currently eighth in the West, but trail their most recent victim, the New Orleans Pelicans, by only one game for fifth place in the standings.
This 123-109 win against the Pelicans was actually not as close as the final score suggested.
The contest was essentially over by the end of the first quarter. Devin Booker scored 25 of his 52 points during the period to help Phoenix build a 13-point advantage. The Suns’ lead would not fall below 12 points for the rest of the evening as they dominated New Orleans on their home floor.
Booker also finished with four rebounds and five assists while Durant and Beal chipped in with 26 and 13 points, respectively.
Phoenix gave the rest of the league a glimpse of how deadly their offense could be in this win and they should only get better with more games together under their belt. They have three players in Durant, Booker, and Beal who could potentially score 50 or more points on a nightly basis and simply sharing the floor already opens things up as each one of them can command double team coverage.
If this Suns team is to make a push up the standings and eventually embark on a deep playoff run, it will have to be driven by these three score-first players. Phoenix’s lack of top tier defensive players, coupled with their odd-fitting roster that has four shooting guards (Booker, Beal, Grayson Allen, and Eric Gordon) among its six best players, means that they simply have to outgun their opponents on a nightly basis.
This formula has yet to yield a championship over the NBA’s first 76 seasons, but there has never been a trio of elite scorers in their prime like what this Suns team has assembled. They have three players who could potentially get hot enough to carry a team all by themselves for a two-week stretch which means that if timing goes their way, anything remains possible for Phoenix.
The road to win the NBA championship this year remains quite a steep one for this team though. With the NBA trade deadline coming up in about three weeks, it would be wise for their front office to secure another long perimeter defender and a real back-up point guard. The fact that acquiring even just a replacement-level playmaker would greatly improve this team–at least in theory–speaks volumes of their poor roster make-up at the moment.
Nonetheless, the now-healthy Suns should become League Pass favorites over the next few weeks regardless of whether or not they can bolster their roster. Durant, Booker, and Beal could go off on any night and the possibility that two of them could simultaneously have a great game is tantalizing. They say that “Defense wins championships”, but if any group is going to rewrite this classic adage, it will likely be this Phoenix team.