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5 reasons why Phoenix Suns can challenge for the championship again in the 2021-2022 NBA Season

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns signals to his team.
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns signals to his team.

The Phoenix Suns' 2020-21 NBA season undoubtedly ended with heartbreak, but there were definitely various positives to take from their great season. Though they could not pull it off in the NBA Finals, there are reasons to think the Phoenix Suns could find themselves in a similar place next year.

The Chris Paul-led team came within two victories of achieving an NBA championship that was probably unthinkable before GM James Jones pulled the trigger and brought CP3 into the Phoenix mix.

It wasn't all about Paul's arrival though, as the young players on the team started to find their groove as a group when they went 8-0 in the 2020 NBA bubble.

Five Reasons why the Phoenix Suns can still be NBA title contenders

With Paul and Devin Booker leading the way, the Monty Williams-coached team finished the regular season with a second-best record of 51-21. They beat the defending champions LA Lakers in a series in which they dealt with CP3's shoulder injury early, and LA suffered Anthony Davis' absence late in the battle.

They then swept NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the second round before taking the LA Clippers down in a six-game Western Conference Finals.

Paul once again had something to deal with in the WCF as he missed the Phoenix Suns' first two games of the series due to the health and safety protocols (they won both games).

Although Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took the Phoenix Suns down in the NBA Finals, the now more experienced Suns' squad should look ahead with hope.

In this article, we will give you five reasons why the Phoenix Suns could remain as NBA title contenders next year.

Without further ado, let us start


#5 Solid additions in NBA Free Agency

Javale McGee of Team United States during the 2020 Olympics.
Javale McGee of Team United States during the 2020 Olympics.

Keeping Chris Paul was definitely the main task for the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Free Agency. The 36-year-old proved to be the team leader and his experience should be back at Phoenix if the franchise hoped to stay in the elite of the Western Conference.

Apart from Paul and the big contract he signed, the Phoenix Suns also made some interesting adjustments. They did not make big headlines, but the Phoenix Suns managed to maintain a solid roster and add important pieces to it.

In the NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns struggled to protect the rim when Deandre Ayton was not on the court, and they addressed that issue by signing three-time champion JaVale McGee, who is a solid rim-protector.

Moreover, they kept backup point guard Cameron Payne and signed Elfrid Payton, who can be an effective playmaker. Payton is coming off a good year with the New York Knicks. starting 63 games and averaging 10 points, three rebounds and three assists per night.


#4 Deandre Ayton's growth as a player

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up.
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up.

The first pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton, is surely not the best player out of that draft class (that goes to Luka Doncic and Trae Young). However, the Phoenix Suns did not really blew their pick in that draft, as Ayton is definitely a good center with tremendous potential.

Last year, his role on offense decreased a bit in the regular season, but he was still efficient for the team. In the NBA Playoffs, Ayton was able to dominate in the paint in several games and showed he is tough to handle in the key.

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In the regular season, the 23-year-old averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, while making 62.6% of his field goals and 76.9% from the foul line. In his first NBA Playoffs appearance, Ayton put up 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in 22 games, while making 65.8% of his shots from the field and 73.6% from the free-throw line.

After such a good run, Ayton should come back as an even better, more confident player in the upcoming NBA season, and that con only mean good things for the Phoenix Suns.

Also Read: How much is Chris Paul’s Net Worth in 2021?

#3 Devin Booker's superstar status

<a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/basketball/devin-booker' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Devin Booker</a> #1 of the Phoenix Suns scores on a slam dunk.
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns scores on a slam dunk.

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker proved in the 2020-21 NBA season that his previous years, where he had great individual numbers but his team wasn't good did not define him. While some said that Booker's numbers were empty and simply came for being the best player on a bad team, he proved that he can be the best player on a great team.

In his first NBA Playoffs, Booker broke the record for most points scored in a player's first experience in the postseason, surpassing Rick Barry's tally from the 1967 playoffs.

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Booker ended with 601 points in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, breaking the previous record held by Barry with 521.

The Phoenix Suns' shooting guard has now established himself as one of the best scorers in the game, though he had some rough nights in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. He still averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.


#2 Chris Paul's leadership

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns goes up for a shot against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns goes up for a shot against the Milwaukee Bucks.

As mentioned before, the Phoenix Suns had a priority heading in to the 2021 NBA Free Agency, and that was keeping Chris Paul and his leadership in Arizona. The 36-year-old point guard did sign a big, probably questionable deal to remain at Phoenix, but the franchise needed to stay heading in the right direction.

Paul joined last year to help the team enter the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2010 and then reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. He had done something similar the year before with the OKC Thunder, when the team was not expected to even make the postseason and he led a young group to the NBA Playoffs.

Now, in his second year with the Phoenix Suns and the good chemistry they seemed to establish over there, the team could definitely remain in contention to come out of the WEst, even if it is not favorite to do so.

Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists in the regular season, while making 49.9% from the field, 39.5% from three and a league-leading 93.4% from the free-throw line. In the NBA Playoffs, the Phoenix Suns' guard put up 19.2 points and 8.6 assists per game with 49/44/87 shooting splits in 20 games.


#1 Experience

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3, <a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/basketball/deandre-ayton' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Deandre Ayton</a> #22, Mikal Bridges #25, Jae Crowder #99 and Devin Booker #1.
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3, Deandre Ayton #22, Mikal Bridges #25, Jae Crowder #99 and Devin Booker #1.

As a unit and a nice mixture of veteran leadership and young, exciting players, the Phoenix Suns should have an even better dynamic in the 2021-22 NBA season. Even if they still fall short of accomplishing something similar to last year, the team could still be better than last year. The competition will simply get better for the upcoming campaign.

With Paul leading the team with a year under his belt already and young stars like Booker and Ayton having already tasted the highest stage of NBA basketball, the Phoenix Suns should definitely be on the right path for the 2021-22 NBA season.

A league-leading record in the regular season could definitely be on the cards, as other veteran squads could probably be focusing entirely on health and the NBA Playoffs. An overall young team behind Paul, the Phoenix Suns could again put up a solid regular-season and start from there in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.


Also read: "Devin Booker, his mid-range game is amazing" - NBA Academy India graduate Riyanshu Negi reveals he wants to model his game around the Phoenix Suns star

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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