After competing for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference for most of the year, the Phoenix Suns collapsed late last season, dropping 9 of their final 10 games. This stretch of competitions killed their playoff hopes and marked their fifth consecutive missed postseason. This matches the longest playoff drought in franchise-history since a 5-year gap from 1971 to 1976.
While the Suns have made some quality under the radar by drafting Devin Booker and signing Sonny Weems, their biggest splash was luring defensive anchor Tyson Chandler. Phoenix finished 17th in the association for defensive efficiency and 24th in rebound rate, which are two areas in particular where Chandler can immediately help. If he remains healthy, the 33-year old should be able to easily replicate his 11.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks throughout this first month of action.
This new-look defense, further bolstered on the perimeter by quick guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, will be put to the test on multiple occasions throughout October/November. The Suns are slated to meet against the league’s top offenses on multiple occasions. The high-powered Los Angeles Clippers square-off against the Suns on two separate occasions (Nov. 2nd and 12th), while matches against the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers and Toronto Raptors are spread out through the 17 games before December.
A potentially defining 8-game stretch for the Phoenix Suns will occur from November 4th to the 20th. 6 of these 8 games will be played at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Arizona against the likes of the Kings, Pistons, Thunder, Clippers, Nuggets, Lakers and Bulls. This is a crucial series of winnable competitions for Jeff Hornacek and his team as following this stretch, as 9 of their next 10 opponents made playoff appearances last season. Their schedule seems to take a complete detour after November 20th as 8 of their next 10 games will be played on the road. It is imperative for the Phoenix Suns to start the season off on the right foot or they risk missing the playoffs and finishing in the dreaded middle of the pack.
Courtesy of Fitforherlife.com