COMMENTARY | Without getting too far ahead of myself and without sounding like too much of a homer, I think we can all agree that the Phoenix Suns are one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. Will they win the 2014 NBA championship? No, but 2015 absolutely could be that special season when the Suns bring home their first title.
At 16-10, the Suns would make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed if they were to start today. Could they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in a series? No, but once they evaluate the holes and stop them up, they'll be able to contend.
Whether it's through the draft, free agency or trades, the Suns need to address a few major issues. The good news is that the Suns have a bevy of assets to use.
Need No. 1: Better Paint Presence
There aren't many big and powerful centers in the league anymore. Shaquille O'Neal isn't making trips to US Airways Center (at least not to play) a few times per year. With that said, Miles Plumlee and company aren't getting it done in the paint. The Suns are routinely beat up in the paint and are the third-worst team at defending the non-restricted area, allowing 162 field goals (42.6 percent) there.
Need No. 2: The Dap Master
This goes far beyond special handshakes and celebrations. There's usually a guy on the team -- whether or not he's a bench guy or a starter -- who keeps things loose and fun. Watch the Suns closely and you'll see that they obviously like winning (who doesn't), but they're a far cry from looking like they're enjoying each other and having fun. Team chemistry is important, especially when the tough times come.
Need No. 3: Backup Point Guard
Head coach Jeff Hornacek has both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, but he's pledged to have at least one of them on the court at all times. The reason for that is necessity. With respect to Ish Smith, the Suns need a point guard who can handle the ball and run the offense so that Dragic and Bledsoe can get some rest. In higher-intensity games (such as in the playoffs), they'll burn themselves out. The Suns got a good look at Jose Calderon on Saturday night...someone like him would be perfect.
Need No. 4: A Clutch Scorer
I love the dynamic that Dragic and Bledsoe bring to the team. Over the long haul, they'll produce and will be successful. However, are either of those guys the player you want at the end of the game when you need a basket? When the Suns have lost games this year (most notably the recent Spurs loss), they get stagnant late in games and the opposition out-executes them. A big reason is the lack of a true scorer to pull them through. The Suns have money to spend on a superstar and the end of games is where they make their money.
Only time will tell, but the Suns are way ahead of schedule, have a magician in the front office and have money to spend. It's going to be quite a fun rest of the year and a great 2014-15.
Michael Dunlap is the author of the " Daily NBA Fix ", an all-encompassing daily column that covers the NBA. He is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the gambling site GamblersGrind.com . He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic.
- Sports & Recreation
- Phoenix Suns
- NBA championship