At the start of the offseason, I wrote about how I thought the Lakers had a chance to be the best team in the West. I still like this line of thinking, but one thing that has changed is the perception of the Suns. Some new writers on the LA beat have joined the staff, and they all seem really excited about the Lakers.
The Phoenix Suns are still the favorites to win the NBA title. Despite the fact that the Lakers have added to their front court in free agency (Kobe Bryant), the Suns are still favored over the Lakers. (goals accomplished)
As the 2017-18 NBA season begins, the Lakers have decided to scrap the coaching staff, starting with Luke Walton and his “sloppy” offense. The Lakers have been a shambles ever since Kobe Bryant announced his retirement, and despite a promising offseason, the team was unable to acquire a superstar. The Suns are looking to make a splash in the Western Conference after winning a franchise-best 60 games last season.. Read more about west conference nba and let us know what you think.
Running it back in the Western Conference is a difficult job, particularly now that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Russell Westbrook and a slew of other experienced players. Despite this, the Phoenix Suns remain the favorites to win the Western Conference for the second consecutive season.
The Suns went from being the Western Conference’s 13th seed in March 2020 to going 8-0 in the NBA playoffs four months later. They won the West a year later. Fortunately for head coach Monty Williams, the bulk of his rotation will return for the next season.
Chris Paul re-signed with the Phoenix Suns on a four-year, $120 million contract that is partly guaranteed. The Suns re-signed Cameron Payne and Frank Kaminsky, while adding veteran shot blocker JaVale McGee and point guard Elfrid Payton on one-year agreements. Meanwhile, many of the Suns’ homegrown players are just getting started. The Lakers, on the other hand, aren’t in the same boat.
In the NBA playoffs, Devin Booker was a man possessed. By the day, he is becoming a more dominating scorer and shooter. Deandre Ayton is a force in the paint and an excellent rebounder.
Mikal Bridges, who already has a “three-and-d” skill set, has developed into one of the finest perimeter shooters and defenders, as well as a scorer who contributes at a reasonable rate.
Cameron Johnson is a rangy frontcourt scorer who can stretch the court. Jae Crowder is an experienced outside shooter and a tough defender. Paul, who is 36 years old, is still one of the greatest midrange shooters and floor generals in the NBA, capable of substantially obstructing his defensive assignment. Last season, Payne shown his ability to be a dependable ball-handler and a smooth shooter from distance.
Landry Shamet, who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets this offseason, is a career 39.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Maybe second-year center and former number 10 overall draft selection Jalen Smith has an encouraging second season as a reliable backup center?
The Suns have depth, offensive flexibility, a good blend of experience and youngsters, and a head coach in his third season in charge. If Paul, who has battled with many ailments late in seasons in recent memory, suffers a setback, the Suns have the depth and young talent to compensate.
Furthermore, shooting and defense were the Suns’ two defining characteristics last season. They were second in the NBA in field goal percentage (49.0%) and eighth in three-point shooting percentage (37.8 percent). They were sixth in opponent three-point shooting percentage (35.4%) and ninth in opponent points per game on defense (109.5). These good characteristics are long-lasting.
The Suns aren’t going away anytime soon. Due to major injuries in the conference, their competition in the West should be less tough than in previous years. Due to ACL injuries, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets will be missing one of its top players and offensive focal points for the most of the 2021-22 NBA season (Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray).
Meanwhile, the future of the Portland Trail Blazers remains uncertain owing to the uncertain future of its superstar point guard, Damian Lillard, while the Utah Jazz continue to hit a second-round brick wall.
The Golden State Warriors are becoming stronger and deeper, the Memphis Grizzlies have a tough core that may help them climb the conference standings, and the Los Angeles Lakers should be better.
However, the Lakers have ten players that are 32 or older in this category. Furthermore, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have had injury-plagued seasons. There’s also the question of how well the two stars will get along now that Westbrook is in charge of the rock.
Klay Thompson has missed back-to-back seasons due to injury, while Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have also had a slew of ailments recently. The health of head coach Steve Kerr’s rotation is a genuine concern.
The Suns’ decision to basically spend max-level money on a 36-year-old indicates that they believe they can return to the NBA Finals next season, when they lost a 2-0 series lead to the Milwaukee Bucks in heartbreaking manner.
Booker, Ayton, Bridges, and Johnson will continue to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Paul’s background as a seasoned two-way lead guard with plenty of playoff experience undoubtedly aided the development of the aforementioned guys.
The Suns, like every other Western Conference challenger, have doubts about their ability to succeed. However, their biggest question mark is Paul’s health, which they’re designed to deal with and dealt with in the playoffs last season. They have consistency, a squad that works well together, and loose ends that aren’t necessarily related to age or depth.
The Phoenix Suns, like every club in the Western Conference during the past decade, have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the NBA Finals. At the same time, they have the best chance of winning the conference… even better than the Lakers.
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