The Phoenix Suns have a new owner, who hired a new coach with a NBA Championship on his resume, and added a third superstar in Bradley Beal to create a big three with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Clearly, the Suns are going all-in for a title – and all-in on an offense-first philosophy that should make for an exciting brand of basketball.
Having three stars on big contracts means there are plenty of questions about the rest of the roster, which could make or break whether new owner Mat Ishbia’s team building strategy will succeed or fail.
|2022/23 Phoenix Suns||Record: 45-37|
|Result: Lost to DEN Nuggets in West Semis|
|To win 2023/24 NBA Championship:||+600|
|To win 2023/24 Western Conference:||+325|
A 13-time All Star, four-time scoring champion, two-time NBA Champion, two-time Finals MVP, and one-time regular season MVP, Kevin Durant has a resume that can rival that of anyone in NBA history, and that's why Ishbia has trusted him to be the key figure of the franchise.
At 35 years old, he has not lost a step: KD averaged 29.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and five assists last year over 47 regular games played for the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns.
The face of the franchise before KD's arrival, Booker has not averaged less than 25 points per game in a season since 2017-18. Entering the year aged 26, Booker should be entering his prime and will make a scary trio with Durant and Bradley Beal.
Acquired in an offseason trade, Bradley Beal rounds out the Suns' superstar trio. The 30-year-old shooting guard averages 22.1 points per game over his career.
As he is another ball-dominant, score-first player, Suns coach Frank Vogel needs to figure out who will facilitate the offense.
Grayson Allen (G) Milwaukee
Keita Bates-Diop (F) San Antonio
Bradley Beal (G) Washington
Bol Bol (F) Orlando
Drew Eubanks (F/C) Portland
Eric Gordon (G) Los Angeles Clippers
Keon Johnson (G) Portland
Nassir Little (F) Portland
Chimezie Metu (F/C) Sacramento
Jusuf Nurkic (C) Portland
Deandre Ayton (C) Portland
Toumani Camara (F) Portland
Chris Paul (G) Washington, later traded to Golden State
Cameron Payne (G) San Antonio
The Suns’ regular season kicks off with two difficult away games, the first against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 24 and the second against Frank Vogel’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 26.
They play a road back-to-back against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers Nov. 4 followed by former head coach Monty Williams’ new team, the Detroit Pistons at 1 PM ET Nov. 5.
Phoenix hosts the Lakers on Nov. 10, they host the Warriors Nov. 22, and they visit the Memphis Grizzlies – last year’s Western Conference second seed – on Nov. 24.
The Suns host the top two seeds in last season’s West on back to back nights: No. 1-seeded Denver Nuggets on Dec. 1 and No. 2-seeded Grizzlies on Dec. 2.
While the fact Ishbia decided to fire former head coach Monty Williams after the Suns lost to the eventual NBA Champions may seem harsh, the fact is the new owner wants to put his own stamp on the team and turn the franchise into one of the NBA’s best.
New coach Frank Vogel won the title with the NBA’s most famous team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and it appears that Ishbia trusts him to lead this Suns team to a similar level.
Durant, Booker, and Beal are obviously the main attractions, but a supporting cast that includes Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie, Jusuf Nurkic, and Bol Bol is capable of holding its own.
Based on their moves since Ishbia bought the franchise, the Suns won’t be satisfied with anything less than a championship. Expect a deep playoff run from this team, although they could fall short of expectations if the stars.
At +600, the Suns have the fourth-shortest odds to win the NBA Championship behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Denver Nuggets. The Suns' over/under for regular season wins is 51.5.
The Suns have the fourth-shortest odds to win the In-Season Tournament at +1000, with the same teams as in the NBA Championship market being the only ones with shorter odds.
Frank Vogel has the eighth-shortest odds to win Coach of the Year at +1400.
For the MVP Award, Durant is +1300 and Booker is +1800, giving them the sixth- and ninth-longest odds respectively. Beal has longer odds at +8000.