The Suns are 48-10 at the All Star Break. Let that sink in.
They have 10 more wins than the East leading Chicago Bulls and 35 more wins than the NBA’s worst teams, the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons.
Furthermore, the Suns have the best clutch numbers in the NBA in 26 years, have the league’s deepest roster that was wisely accentuated with the deadline acquisitions of professional basketball players Torrey Craig and Aaron Holiday and have sold out 17 straight games at the Footprint Center.
Life is very good right now on Planet Orange.
In almost every way the Suns are a better team than they were a year ago.
Most NBA Final teams aren’t on the ascent but the Suns were and continue to prove that.
Mikal Bridges typifies how much better the Suns can be this year compared to last year. Last year, Bridges as a talented young player largely known for his defense and three point shooting. This year, the Suns are running crunch time screens for him and feeding him the ball in the high post.
In other words, the Suns trust him enough to lean on him in big moments. Last year, Bridges scored single digit points in nine of the Suns 16 playoff games. This year, Bridges is currently working on an 11 game streak of scoring double digit points, the longest streak of his career.
With Bridges emergence, the Suns now boast four different players they can absolutely rely on in critical situation to get buckets: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.
And Cam Johnson isn’t far off.
There’s only one thing that keep Suns fans up at night heading into the home stretch of the NBA regular season: Chris Paul’s body.
This Suns team doesn’t have any better CP3 insurance than they did last year.
For a guy who became real world famous hawking insurance, the Suns probably need to make a call to Cliff Paul.
After CP3 injured his finger against the Rockets during the first half finale for the Suns, the Suns morphed into a team that looked like they were left at home without mom and dad for the first time.
Devin Booker turned the ball over, bricked shots and even airballed a critical three point attempt. Ayton disappeared in the pick and roll game and the rest of the Suns struggled to pick up the slack left when CP3 wasn’t there to anchor everything.
Of course most of this can be chalked up to the second game on a back to back against a dreadful Rockets team played right before the All Star Break but the Suns still need to figure out how to manage if CP3 isn’t there.
Who can step up as a secondary playmaker if CP3 is out and Point Book has to make a return? Its not Landry Shamet or Cam Payne. Its probably not Aaron Holiday. Are we back to asking more from Mikal Bridges?
Or do the Suns still have some work to do in the buyout market? Goran Dragic would be perfect as the missing piece to a title in the city that originally drafted him but at this point there isn’t anything pointing to a third trip to the desert for the Dragon.
The Suns don’t have many problems at all. This isn’t a chicken little moment. Its an acknowledgement that the margin for error to win a ring is razor thin and Chris Paul’s body can crash through that ice at any moment.
Life without CP3 thankfully isn’t something the Suns have to worry about for a few years but if they were smart they’d start planning right now.