A Preview of the 2022-23 Phoenix Suns
October 1st, 2022
By Alan Lu
Last year, the Phoenix Suns had a good season that culminated with them winning a league-leading 64 games in the regular season under head coach Monty Williams, as they had a collection of very good starters, a deep bench, and the good fortune to win early and often throughout the year. However, that came to a turbulent, disastrous end when they lost by a whopping 33 points in Game 7 of the second round to Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks.
In the offseason, they brought most of their key players back, and they re-signed starting center Deandre Ayton to anchor the middle for them once again. They have a superstar backcourt tandem in Chris Paul and Devin Booker, and they have some of the best defensive players in the NBA in Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Ayton, and Jae Crowder. They boast having a deep and talented roster once again, and if they can stay focused in the postseason, they could make a deep playoff run in 2023.
Devin Booker is a very skilled, agile sharpshooting guard that can really shoot and score the basketball, and he is a sound decision-maker that can also run the point if necessary. He has also improved his defense last season, and he is one of the best players in the NBA.
Chris Paul is a future Hall of Fame point guard that is a passing wizard, and he will rack up many assists throughout the season. He is a very skilled playmaker that shoots the ball very well, and he is a tenacious, gritty player that does a great job in running the team. He can sometimes be prone to injuries, but he has been one of the best point guards in the game for a long time.
Deandre Ayton is a solid interior player that is the starting center for the Suns. He is a good low post scorer that also has a fairly solid face-up game, and he also can pass the ball and knock down mid-range jumpers. He also excels as a rebounder and shot blocker, and he will help his team protect the paint. He doesn’t have much of a three-point shot and may struggle a bit to defend in space, but he is a good starting center in this league.
Mikal Bridges is a reliable, 3 and D wing that shoots the ball very well, and he is also one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He gets a lot of tough assignments defensively, and can guard multiple positions. He isn’t really an isolation player nor will be a high volume scorer, but he is a very good role player that will make team plays to help his team get wins.
Damion Lee is a 3 and D wing player that can provide a moderate amount of scoring off the bench, and he also brings championship experience to this team, as he was a part of the 2022 Golden State Warriors last year.
Jock Landale is a stretch big that can pass the ball, and can provide a little bit of rim protection in short stretches, but his limitations athletically may reduce his role to being a backup center that could get some run as an end of the rotation sort of player.
Josh Okogie is a very athletic defensive specialist that hasn’t shot the ball very well in this league. His offensive skills haven’t developed that much at the NBA level, so he probably won’t contribute much on the court for the Suns this year.
Of the three players that they lost in the offseason, losing McGee and Aaron Holiday may hurt their team more. McGee has excelled as an energetic, rim running big man and as a rim protector off the bench, and Aaron Holiday has been a steady backup point guard in this league. The Suns lost a couple of quality bench players, but they still have enough depth and talent to continue to win games.
They did not draft a rookie or sign any rookies that are expected to make their roster for the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Key Bench Players:
G-F Damion Lee
The Rest of the Roster (projected to make the team):
G Duane Washington Jr. (Two-Way)
G-F Torrey Craig
G-F Josh Okogie
G-F Ish Wainright (Two-Way)
G-F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Exhibit 10)
Others in Camp:
G Frank Jackson (Exhibit 10)
2021-22 (PHO): 64-18, 7-6 in the Playoffs, Lost in the 2nd Round to Dallas
Career: 322-299, 23-22 in the NBA Playoffs, 1 NBA Finals Appearance (2021)
Monty Williams has coached very well, ever since the 2020 Orlando bubble. Since the start of the 2020 Orlando bubble towards the end of the 2019-20 NBA season, he’s won 123 of his last 162 regular season games, and has also reached the NBA Finals once in 2021. He also won the Coach of the Year award last year.
On the downside, the Suns had a rather disappointing finish last year, as they lost in the second round to the Dallas Mavericks, and his handling of Deandre Ayton in the playoffs could’ve been better, as it was rumored that they had a public meltdown and that he had apparently singled him out to blame during the middle of Game 7 of their second round series. It will be interesting to see how the Suns will bounce back from that tumultuous loss, and the Suns’ fans will certainly hope for a much better playoff finish in 2023.
The Phoenix Suns have a solid team, and they have a very good group of starters and a select group of bench players that have helped them stay as a consistent contender out in the West. They won many games last year, but had a disastrous end to their season that their fans would probably like to forget.
If the Suns can get out of their own way and stay healthy, they could make a deep playoff run this season. Otherwise, they could also be in for another early exit in the playoffs if they are unable to come together or stay healthy in the postseason.
Projected 2022-23 Win-Loss Record and Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 52-30, 2nd in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to lose in the 1st Round to the Los Angeles Clippers
It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and the NBA season will start on October 18th. Thank you for reading my write-up on the Phoenix Suns.