It seemed like there was a chance for the Phoenix Suns, at least on paper.

A team with Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant will score a ton of points and ideally amass a ton of victories. The 49 wins may have been their third-highest win total in the last five years, but it did help them avoid the Play-In Tournament.

However, they couldn’t stave off a sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Game 4 saw one of the Suns’ best efforts and had them leading 61-56 at halftime. There was that slight glimmer of hope that maybe Phoenix could finally close out at least one game, the same way the Los Angeles Lakers were able to get one victory over the defending NBA champions Denver Nuggets. In the end, though, it seemed the Wolves were simply inevitable, with Anthony Edwards sweeping the Suns with a signature performance (despite rolling his ankle twice!).

Phoenix averaged 103.3 points per game in their playoff series against Minnesota, but their first 100-point game came in Game 3. In what turned out to be a big versus small matchup, the Wolves bucked the trend of small-ball by smartly deploying their three big men in Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and 2024 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid and putting them in positions where they wouldn’t be taken out of the equation. It was a shame the Suns could not replicate their regular season success against Minnesota, but you also have to tip your hat off to the best defense in the league.


Phoenix blew up their 2021 NBA Finals core of Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges for Nurkic, Beal, and Durant (and maybe Jusuf Nurkic as well) and judging by how things went this season, that may not be enough to improve on what that team accomplished.

Beal, Booker, and Durant missed a total of 50 games this season, with Beal sitting out 29 of those contests largely due to a hamstring injury. Availability hasn’t been Beal’s best trait since playing in 82 games in both 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. It has certainly affected his production as he finished with his lowest scoring average in nearly a decade (18.2 points per game) and fouled out in Game 4 with more turnovers (six) than made field goals (four).

Retooling the Suns roster will be easier said than done, given that they not only mortgaged their future with their recent trades, but they also tied themselves up to significant contracts that won’t give them much flexibility.

As the first playoff team to head into the offseason, Phoenix will have time to process and decide on their next course of action. Keeping the current Suns core will come with considerations with regard to age (Durant is turning 36 in September, while Beal will be 31 in June) and how this group stacks up with a younger and perennially loaded Western Conference.

Time and time again we hear of teams starting with a bang and ending with a whimper, but it couldn’t have been a more apt description for the 2023-2024 Phoenix Suns. Suns owner Mat Ishbia’s patience will be tested once again in the offseason because of the urge to tear things down with another blockbuster move, but a pause may be necessary lest he want things to backfire in his face again.