A disastrous decade long drought in the Sonoran Desert is finally over. As the Phoenix Suns make a triumphant return to the 2021 NBA playoffs. A remarkable rise from the ashes after the franchise had missed postseason play for eleven consecutive years.
A rapid rise
The Suns are led by future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul. The round-ball wizard known as CP3 currently having a career revival in his 16th NBA campaign. While recording his highest assist average since 2017.
Along with scoring almost 16 points per contest, Paul serves as the Suns undeniable floor general. His impact felt on both ends of the court. CP3 just recently moved into the league’s top 5 in career steals.
Paul so far has completely changed the club’s fortunes. They finished 2020 with a losing record. Then made a bold trade with Oklahoma City landing him in Phoenix. More than any other, this move may be directly tied to the Suns’ terrific turnaround.
Chris Paul’s revival
Note how quickly they have turned things around. Less than six months following Paul’s arrival, the Suns loom large above the West.
They are now second in the Western Conference standings at 39-15. And blazing hot on a three game win streak, taking 10 of their last 11. Even rising to #1 in the NBA.com power rankings this week.
Young stars shine for the Suns
Paul’s backcourt mate Devin Booker shines bright for the Suns. Booker adds nearly 26 points a game. In addition he is on pace to post a personal best field goal percentage in 2021. The sixth year sniper combines with Paul to produce a winning pair.
Center DeAndre Ayton is another key player on the squad. The Bahamian-born big man provides Phoenix with 15 points and close to 11 boards a night. He ranks among the league leaders in converting 62% from the field. Ayton gives them a strong defensive presence down on the block. At only 22, he’s become a young star at the five spot.
They also feature starting forwards Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges. Each has been vital to the team’s successful run. Crowder a seasoned swingman who signed with Phoenix during the free agency period last November.
The Suns are setting new NBA records and shooting the lights out, lethal from three point land.
A key quality: Team chemistry
Beyond that, Phoenix can lean on their bench with confidence. The Suns’ second unit has come through lately for them. Backup four Cameron Johnson and fellow reserve forward Dario Saric together add nearly twenty points an outing. Plus others aid them in the cause.
They appear to have found and harnessed that elusive trait called team chemistry. Which no doubt creates a positive effect. Team defense is one example. An aspect that is much improved as of late.
The Suns front office and coaching staff should be lauded. Team GM James Jones and Head Coach Monty Williams must get credit for their squad’s rapid ascent. From a pitiful 19-63 mark two seasons prior to a potential #2 playoff seed next month. A significant subplot of the current season.