The Los Angeles Lakers‘ nightmare season has dominated most headlines coming out of the NBA’s Western Conference this season. Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have been the fun new story. Meanwhile, quietly chugging along in the background have been the Phoenix Suns.
The West’s representative in last year’s NBA Finals has its best record in 2021-22. The best record in the entire league in ’21-22, as a matter of fact.
And while James Harden and Ben Simmons dominated the trade deadline, the Suns continued to do what they do best.
Phoenix made two small moves to shore up some depth, but the team’s lack of any real deadline noise should be a warning to the rest of the league: The Suns like what they have, and what they have is the most complete roster in the NBA.
The Phoenix Suns have been the league’s best team in 2021-22
The team that resides in the desert has been hot since the start of the year.
While Stephen Curry set all kinds of records and the Golden State Warriors rolled early, Phoenix was right on their heels. When the Utah Jazz got off to a quick start, the Suns were just a few games behind.
Utah has faded to fourth in the West and the Warriors hit a slump, but Phoenix is on cruise control at 46-10 with a 4.5-game lead in the conference. A Feb. 3 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks was the team’s 10th loss of the season as the Suns became the final squad to hit double digits in the loss column.
Phoenix has won five in a row since.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker have led the Suns to the second-best offense in the league. Phoenix is also fourth in rebounding, fifth in assists, and seventh in scoring defense.
The Suns were a complete team that didn’t need to make much of a change at the NBA’s trade deadline, and they didn’t. Just a few tiny tweaks to an already-balanced and loaded roster.
The Suns made two fringe moves at the trade deadline
While the NBA world was busy consuming the Harden-Simmons drama, the Suns were busy doing … not much.
Phoenix made one deal with the Indiana Pacers to re-acquire forward Torrey Craig and another to bring in Aaron Holiday as added depth behind CP3.
Neither were game-changing moves, but one of the fun parts of being the best team in basketball is that your roster is already stacked, and that’s definitely the case in Phoenix.
Booker is once again the team’s leading scorer. The star shooting guard is putting up 25.5 points per game and is shooting 36.9% from three on more than seven attempts per contest.
But the 25-year-old has had plenty of help.
Deandre Ayton is averaging a double-double this season. Paul is scoring 15 points a night. Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Cam Payne, and JaVale McGee are all averaging double figures in scoring as well.
McGee was an offseason addition, but Booker, Paul, Bridges, Johnson, Payne, and Ayton were the core members of the Suns’ rotation during last year’s NBA Finals. They’re still together and still producing.
The league’s best team seems primed for another deep run
That group was two wins away from a championship. It’s often forgotten, but Phoenix had a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 Finals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team responded to win four straight and bring home the title, but Paul, Booker, and Ayton were that close to hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Suns know what they have — it’s the same thing they had last year, and it worked. They’re ready to roll.
The only thing left to do is bring home those last two games.
All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.