The Phoenix Suns were the surprise team of last season. They were picked to finish last in the Western Conference by most experts but their young team led by new coach Jeff Hornacek was in playoff contention and missed the playoffs by one game. They had a better winning percentage than four Eastern Conference playoff teams and were tied with the Raptors and Bulls with 48 wins on the season.
The Suns were led by their dynamic backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. They played well together although they are small. The Morris Twins were good off the bench and Gerald Green had a career year.
When Bledsoe went down with an injury that gave Gerald Green a chance to start and he took advantage of that opportunity. He played in all 82 games, starting in 48 of them averaging a career high 15.8 ppg. Not really known as a three point shooter he was encouraged to shoot them while in Phoenix and it paid off. He took a career high 510 threes and hit a career high 204, that’s 40% shooting from three point land. He was fourth in the league in made three pointers behind Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard.
The Suns liked to push the ball and shoot three pointers. They were fourth in 3 point attempts per game and 6th in 3 pointers made per game. Dragic was the steady hand, always making plays and hitting big shots. He improved his scoring to 20 ppg and improved his three point shooting as well. He shot 40% and hit a career high 122 three pointers.
The Suns had three first round picks heading into the draft. They added another wing player with size in T.J. Warren. Warren was the third leading scorer in college basketball. Understanding that Eric Bledsoe would become a free agent and Dragic would follow they drafted Tyler Ennis from Syracuse. Ennis will not see much time on the floor.
The off-season news was dominated by Eric Bledsoe’s free agency. He was a restricted free agent looking for max money .The Suns offered him a four-year $48 million contract in July and Bledsoe refused. The two sides did not speak again until September and Bledsoe agreed to a five-year $70 million contract. Before that the Suns added point guard Isaiah Thomas from the Sacramento Kings.
They now go into the season with three good young guards. They lost Channing Frye in free agency, he was an important piece because he was a big man that could stretch the floor and knock down three pointers. The Suns added Goran’s younger brother Zoran Dragic recently. The Suns now have the Morris Twins, Dragic Brothers and a Plumlee. There are a bunch of guards on the team so we don’t know how much time he will get.
This team has depth and will be a matchup problem for a lot of teams. No one expected them to win games last year and they surprised teams. This year everyone will be ready but I see the Suns making the playoffs and winning 50-52 games.