The Phoenix Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968-69 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns' journey in the NBA has been filled with ups and downs. They made their first NBA Finals appearance in the 1975-76 season where they lost to the Boston Celtics.
The Phoenix Suns have had many Hall of Famers play for their franchise over the years. From All-Star Power Forward Charles Barkley, who won an MVP award with the franchise, to Steve Nash who won back-to-back MVPs with the Suns.
The Phoenix Suns have the second-highest winning percentage of any team to have never won an NBA Championship. However, with the arrival of Devin Booker through the # 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the fortunes of the franchise have changed considerably.
The Phoenix Suns are real contenders in the West ahead of the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs
The hiring of Coach Monty Williams in 2019 and the recruitment of Chris Paul in the offseason have only added to the Phoenix Suns' firepower and given major support to franchise star Devin Booker.
After missing out on the NBA Playoffs for an entire decade, the Phoenix Suns are set to feature in the 2021 postseason. It will be their first appearance since Alvin Gentry led the Suns to the Western Conference Finals in 2010.
Here are three reasons why the Suns could make some noise in this year's playoffs.
1. The arrival of Chris Paul
Current stat line: 16.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 8.7 APG
The Phoenix Suns acquired Chris Paul in a blockbuster deal from the Oklahoma City Thunder. CP3 is regarded as one of the best point guards to ever play the game. The veteran is known for his great leadership skills and was the perfect fit for the franchise, which needed a piece to guide them to the playoffs and mentor Devin Booker.
The Suns are currently sitting pretty at the 2nd spot in the Western Conference, a massive jump from their 10th place finish last year. They are closing in on their first playoff appearance since 2010 and a major reason for this is the Chris Paul effect.
Phoenix Suns legend Charles Barkley recently made an argument for Paul to be in the MVP conversation.
2. Coach Monty Williams' impact on the franchise
Coach Monty Williams signed with the Suns in 2019 on a five-year deal. In his first year, the Phoenix Suns finished with a 26-39 record before being invited to the Orlando Bubble where they went on an 8-0 streak, improving their overall season record to 34-39. However, the Suns ultimately failed to secure a spot in the playoffs.
When the Suns signed Chris Paul in 2020, the PG was reunited with Williams, who had earlier coached Paul in 2011 with the Charlotte Hornets.
Since Chris Paul's arrival, the Phoenix Suns have not looked back and are currently sitting comfortably at the 2nd spot in the West. Meanwhile, Monty Williams was also named the Western Conference Coach of the month in March.
3. The young duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton
Devin Booker: 25.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 4.5 APG
Deandre Ayton: 14.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.5 APG
The Phoenix Suns' young stars have been making a significant impact on their team. Devin Booker's game is often compared to the late Kobe Bryant. In 2017, Booker became the youngest player to score 60 points as he dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics.
Often regarded as a clutch player, Booker has made many game-winning shots in his career so far, including memorable winners over Kawhi Leonard and against the Dallas Mavericks. He has also developed great play-making and ball-handling skills. Booker is a 2-time NBA All-Star and a 3-point contest champion.
Deandre Ayton was the No.1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Although he didn't live up to expectations at first, the big man showed immense progress after returning from a 25-game suspension last year.
Ayton has been leading the league in paint touches and has also improved as a defender.