Book 50 wins for the Phoenix Suns.
Call them top heavy, but with three of the game’s most prolific scorers in Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the Suns should at least reach that mark.
In the past, teams would rest their main guys at the end of the season, especially if they were satisfied with their seeding. The Suns won’t have the luxury of shutting down Booker, Durant or Beal under the NBA's new player participation policy designed to have the star players play more.
This applies to players who were named to an All-NBA team or NBA All-Star team in any of the prior three seasons. Booker, Durant and Beal have done both during that time frame.
It’s also for a player who is an All-Star that given season.
Teams must provide an “approved reason” for a star player to sit out a game, but teams are asked to “refrain from any long-term ‘shutdowns’ in which a star player stops playing games.”
Those “shutdowns” typically happen in April because teams are trying to rest their “stars” going into the playoffs. This new policy will likely impact wins and losses at this point in the season. Here is the final installment of our month-by-month predictions of the Suns upcoming season with a look at April.
Apr. 1 – at New Orleans Pelicans (L).
Apr. 3 – Cleveland Cavaliers (W).
Apr. 5 – Minnesota Timberwolves (W).
Apr. 7 – New Orleans Pelicans (W).
Apr. 9 – Los Angeles Clippers (L).
Apr. 10 – at Los Angeles Clippers (W).
Apr. 12 – at Sacramento Kings (L).
Apr. 14 – at Minnesota Timberwolves (L).
“Sometimes It Snows In April”: The novice Prince fan may struggle remembering this song from the “Under The Cherry Moon” soundtrack, but with him being from Minneapolis, he knows that does happen there.
Depending on who is playing for what, this could get heated even in the finale of the regular season to conclude a three-game road trip.
Most anticipated: The Suns-Clippers back-to-back, especially if both teams are healthy. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fall under that player participation policy, too.
Final seeding: At best, a two seed behind the Nuggets, Lakers or Warriors. At worst, a four seed.
Record after 82 games: 54-28.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: April Prediction: Phoenix Suns finish regular season with 2nd seed in West at best