Phoenix’s two-year run of being one of the top teams in the West came to an end during that embarrassing second-round playoff series against Dallas. Forget about the series, Game 7 alone was enough to make you barf. When you lose Game 7 at home by 33 points, it’s safe to say somebody mailed it in.
Chris Paul’s ability seemingly walked off a cliff in the middle of the series, and Deandre Ayton looked less interested from game-to-game in that series. Ayton was playing for an extension, which he got in the summer, but it felt like the damage was already done at that point. Indiana signed him to an offer sheet in the summer, which Phoenix matched, much to the surprise of many. That should’ve been done a year ago, but they let Ayton walk into the season with hurt feelings over not getting the extension he felt he’d earned.
The Suns bring back most of the same players from the last two years, minus one of their key role players ultimately in Jae Crowder. It’s rumored that Crowder wants out of Phoenix, and he and the team have agreed on him staying away until something is worked out.
We also can’t forget about owner Robert Sarver and the allegations of racism and misogyny in the workplace. That behavior should never be accepted anywhere, especially in a work environment. But this is something else along with Phoenix’s on-court issues the franchise faces heading into the season. The Suns could fall out of the top six in the Western Conference, especially if Paul continues to decline, as we witnessed in the Mavs series.