Devin Booker proclaims the Suns went from “laughing stock of the NBA” to title contenders this season
Suns star Devin Booker recently spoke out on how his squad has suffered an amazing transformation over the last NBA seasons only to become one of this year’s title candidates after struggling the first half of this current campaign.
“We take a lot of pride in what we’ve built here,” Booker said yesterday to Arizonan journalist Kellan Olson. “We were probably the laughing stock of the NBA about 4-5 years ago and just turning that around to something serious, to championships contenders, is a quick turnaround for us.”
Let’s recap on Phoenix’s last five tournaments. The Suns finished 15th overall during their three seasons from 2017 to 2019. That last championship they produced the second worst campaign in the franchise’s history with a 10-63 record in regular season, only after 1969’s 16-66.
"We've built something that the league has picked up on. We were probably the laughing stock of the #NBA about four or five years ago and just turning that around to something serious to championship contenders."
Devin Booker as #Suns now "destination" Kevin Durant wants to be. pic.twitter.com/PiMJRoS59v
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 14, 2023
The year after, 2019-20 marked their first real signs of resurrection, as they improved with a 10th-place finish. The following tournament they kept at it, as in 2021 the Phoenix side finally made the NBA Finals for the first time in almost 30 years! The only bad news was they encountered that year’s champions and suffered four straight losses against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee squad.
And now we are back to the last championship, as the 2021-22 regular season had the best performing squad the Suns’ franchise has ever produced, registering a new franchise record with 64 wins. Booker produced his best stats as an NBA professional with 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds plus 4.8 assists, all career-highs until then.
It was Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks who ended Phoenix’s dreams last season, in the Western Conference semifinals.
Kevin Durant’s arrival is a huge inspiration at Phoenix
After adding superstar Kevin Durant to their roster, the Suns have suddenly become the team to beat in the West. Most of our favorite sport betting sites now consider the Phoenix side to be in the top five teams with best odds to conquer the NBA title this campaign. BetOnline, for example, believe they are the third favorites (+500) now that KD will lead the team.
The former Brooklyn player got transfered to Arizona after a blockbuster trade that included an exchange for dynamic forward Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected future first-round picks, the team announced on Thursday.
The fact that Phoenix was Durant’s preferred destination means a lot to Booker, who believes that’s because Phoenix are a solid franchise that has a legitimate case to go all the way to the Finals this year.
“For this to be a destination that Kev wanted to come to is a big sign of that, to show respect of what we’ve done so far,” Booker commented. “We still have more to do but we’re moving in the right direction.”
Booker is the team’s highest scorer this tournament with 26.8 points, and has also achieved an impressive 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 33.8 minutes per game, over 32 matches so far.
After 59 matches this season, the Suns stand in the 4th position in the Western Conference with a 32-27 record. The Arizona squad still has two more games before the All-Star break, as they face the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow at 9:00pm CST and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday (8:00pm CST).
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