Monday’s matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies was a tough game to watch. It seemed no matter what the Phoenix Suns did, they couldn’t get anything going. Most fans are worried about the loss and wondering if Phoenix can bounce back against Houston on Wednesday night. If the Suns want to beat the Houston Rockets, they have to improve on these three key aspects of their game.
Three Things Wrong With the Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker Has to Play Better
As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. Devin Booker shot 5/21 from the field on Monday and only finished with 12 points. I think the worst part of the game was the fact that he was the one who got the first basket of the game and seemed like he would set the tone. But that couldn’t be further from reality.
Countless times the ball was given to Booker and he couldn’t convert. At one point I wanted Monty Williams to pull Booker from the game for a couple of minutes to save Booker from himself. I thought maybe he needed to regroup and reset, especially after he traveled and then proceed to throw the ball into a sideline screen all while picking up a technical foul.
What Does Devin Booker Need to do to Play Better?
Devin Booker just needs to keep shooting the basketball. Booker is a shooter and there will be some nights where it seems like every shot you take goes everywhere except through the net. Unfortunately for Booker that was Monday night. The last time Booker shot this bad from the field, he followed it up with 26 points, 10/17 from the field, six rebounds, and six assists. That is why I am extremely confident he will regroup and reset himself to be ready for Wednesday’s bout. It already seems like Booker is ready to move on.
He said today “It didn’t sit well with me or anybody in this gym…letting one slip away in this league is tough, especially after how we played. But we have another one tomorrow. That’s my main focus now.”
If that doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to get after it on Wednesday night, then I don’t know what does.
Rust and COVID-19
Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns were one of the several teams in the NBA that got caught up in the NBA safety and health protocols and last night showed that. The entire team looked rusty and it wasn’t Phoenix Suns basketball. Although many Suns fans want to blame Booker for the loss, I would argue and suggest that it is on the entire team. I don’t care if you’re the reigning NBA Champions or the worst team in the league, if you turn the ball over 18 times you deserve to lose. Ball security is something they teach you in K-ball and last night it seemed like the entire Suns’ roster missed that lesson.
The worst part of the turnover situation is six of those turnovers were committed by the All-Star point guard, Chris Paul. Chris Paul has done a lot of things right this season, but six turnovers are six too many. If it was a guy like Deandre Ayton, you could live with it because Ayton probably lost the ball in the paint or near the basket. But for your point guard to commit six of them is ridiculous. That is catastrophic for the Suns because Chris Paul is usually bringing the ball up the floor which will put the opposing team on the fast break.
Although the Grizzlies were ranked second in fast-break points entering Monday’s game, Memphis only had four fast-break points. Phoenix will not be this lucky in every game and it is crucial they refine their ball security skills if they want to win basketball games.
Lack Of Focus
It seemed the Phoenix Suns weren’t ready to play at times. Early in the first quarter, the Suns got hit with a delay of game. Usually, the team is first given a warning but oddly enough that wasn’t the case this time around.
Looking back on it, I feel like this was foreshadowing the rest of the game. Heading into the final minutes, Phoenix had a six-point lead that seemed to vanish away in seconds. Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder missed two wide-open threes that basically sealed the game for the Memphis Grizzlies. In a situation like this, one of those shots has to go in. If one of those shots goes in, Phoenix could have actually have called a play and drawn up something. Instead, Booker and the Suns’ only hope was hoping for some misses at the charity stripe.
What’s Next For The Phoenix Suns?
Heading into their next game, the Phoenix Suns fall to 7-5 and sit as the fourth seed in the West, only two and a half games behind the Los Angelos Lakers. This week, Phoenix will travel to Houston on Wednesday to take on the Rockets. After that, they’ll head home and play the Denver Nuggets in back to back games before wrapping up the week.
Some things to look for this week is how Deandre Ayton will handle playing against big men like DeMarcus Cousins and superstar, Nikola Jokić. I expect all three of these games to be very intense and competitive games. Although the West isn’t considered the Wild West anymore, it is still NBA basketball and you have to bring your best game every night. I believe the Suns will take care of business against the Rockets, but split their matchup against the Nuggets.