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Phoenix Suns End of Season Report

Phoenix Suns Durant Booker Chris Paul
Photo by SB Nation

Phoenix Suns End of Season Overview

The Phoenix Suns finished the 2022-2023 season with a record of 45-37. This put them one game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth-place in the Western Conference.

Although the Suns advanced in the first round beating the Clippers handily in five games, the Clips were without the contributions of Paul George and most of Kawhi Leonard. Their next round was the downfall. The Suns fell at the hands to a fully healthy Denver Nuggets squad in six games. eliminating them from the NBA Playoffs.


Phoenix came into the season with relatively high expectations in regards to their performance. For Coach Monty Williams’ squad, it was a Championship or Bust mentality. Two seasons ago, they were in the NBA Finals. Even though they came up short losing to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Suns established themselves as mainstay title contenders in the West. However, in the next two seasons the Suns felt short of expectations, as they never came farther than a Conference Semifinals appearance.

The Suns came into the season with their franchise player in superstar Devin Booker. Alongside Booker, is future hall-of-famer and veteran point guard Chris Paul in addition to center Deandre Ayton. The Suns also had solid three-and-d wing players in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.

Big Three Coming Back?

Coming into the trade deadline, the Phoenix Suns were 9-2 in their last 11 games and had a record of 30-26. The Suns struggled in the winter as injuries to Paul and Booker caused them to go on some big losing streaks. In early December, with Paul out, the Suns were on a five-game losing streak. In late December, into early January, this time Booker missed time as the Suns were on a six-game losing streak.

The Suns believed they had to make a splash at the trade deadline to bolster this teams offense and really push for a championship. Hence, they made a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets, acquiring superstar Kevin Durant. This sent away a haul consisting of both Bridges and Johnson, several first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and a first-round pick swap in 2028 from the Suns. In addition to Durant, the Suns also reunited with small-forward TJ Warren.

The Suns went full championship or bust by sacrificing their depth and their future draft capital with that trade. Additionally, it poised the question regarding the capability of the big three coming back with Durant, Paul, and Booker. There’s big Big 3 history in the past, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or even Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Durant. Given Paul’s age at 38, it’s arguable that Booker and Durant are just an elite dynamic duo.

Offense Regular Season

Before the Durant trade, all five of the Suns starters were averaging double-digits. Bridges was averaging 17.2 points-per-game with 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. Johnson the other forward, averaged 13.9 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and almost a steal a game.

In the regular season, the Suns were 14th in the league in offensive rating at 114.5. They also did a great job at taking care of the basketball as they were tenth in the league in turnover ratio at 13.6.

Another crucial offensive statistic the Suns did well was spreading around the ball and assisting their teammates as they were fifth in the league in assists at 26.9 per game. The Suns also shot the ball very well as they were top-ten in the league in both free throw percentage and three-point percentage at 79.3% and 37.3%.

Grade: A-

Offense Playoffs

In the playoffs, the Suns were fifth in offensive rating of 116.1. They also did a good job of taking care of the basketball as they were third in turnover ratio at 12.3.

In the playoffs, they heavily relied on Durant and Booker as Durant averaged 33.7 points per game and Booker averaged 29. Durant and Booker each played about 45 minutes in the playoffs and carried the load due to how depleted their bench unit after the Durant trade. Durant getting overused in the playoffs could’ve played a result of him getting injured down the stretch.

Booker and Durant had hardly anytime to get used to playing with each other. Most teams get a few months in the off-season to figure out their new teammates and gain chemistry. However, since being acquired at the deadline and then Durant being injured, this elite dynamic duo did not get much time to introduce themselves.

Grade: A-

Supporting Cast

The Suns supporting cast was not the best as their best bench player was Cameron Payne who averaged 10.3 points per game. However, their bench was nonexistent in the playoffs. Bench players who were key contributors in the regular season, were not as impactful in the playoffs such as Torrey Craig, Landry Shamet, Josh Okogie, Terrence Ross, and Warren.

Warren and Ross each played in only six of the 11 playoff games. They each are some of the more talented players on their bench unit and each could have impactful in their own way.

Ross was one of their better bench players as he averaged nine points per game. He also averaged 3.3 rebounds and two assists per game.

Warren could have been impactful due to his length and his defensive abilities at the wing position. With the losses of Bridges and Johnson, they not only lose two great wing players, but they were also good defensively.

Grade: D+

Defense Regular Season

In the regular season, the Suns were seventh in defensive rating at 112.3. Booker, Paul, and Bridges each averaged at least a steal a game.

In the regular season, the Suns defense was exceptional as they were top-ten in almost every overall defensive statistic.

It is interesting to note, the Suns are an amazing defensive team in the first half. However, they were average defensively in the second half. It is unclear as to why whether it is players getting tired or the opposing team making adjustments and executing a better game plan.

Grade: B

Defense Playoffs

However, in the playoffs their defense was lackluster as amongst playoff teams, were the fourth worst in defensive rating at 118.3. Not having Bridges and Johnson defensively was evident as the Nuggets had too much firepower.

The Suns simply had no answer defensively for Nikola Jokic as he had a 53 point game in Game 4. Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. were also key contributors for the Nuggets that went off.

Grade: D-

Overall Grade of Phoenix Suns End of Season Report

Overall grade of the Phoenix Suns end of season report was a B-. The Phoenix Suns end of season report takes a hit from their supporting cast and their playoffs in the defense. In the offseason, the Suns need to improve their bench and get better defensively.

New Owner

The Suns previous owner Robert Sarver was forced to sell the team due to workplace misconducts such as allegations and racism.

Mat Ishbia bought both the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury for $4 billion dollars.

Monty Williams Fired

On May 13, the Suns fired head coach Monty Williams after four seasons. Williams finishes his Suns tenure with a record of 194-115. Despite not winning a title, he took them to the NBA Finals in the 2020-2021 season.

Who Should Be The Suns New Coach?

The Suns next head coach should come out of house. Two guys the Suns should consider is Nick Nurse or Mike Budenholzer. However, an in-house candidate could be assistant coach Kevin Young. Durant and Booker each have vouched for Young to be the next head coach of the Suns. It’s also worth noting that Doc Rivers has been talked about as a finalist to take the Phoenix Suns head coaching job. Rivers was fired from the Philadelphia 76ers after blowing a 3-2 lead against Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.


Brian Ramos is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his B.A. in Sports Communications, he has over a year of experience in the sports industry, and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry such as Bobby Portis, Don La Greca, Adam Schefter, and others. Ramos has a podcast on YouTube called Cut The Nets along with his co-host Jeremy Gretzer. You can find Brian on Instagram at @Brian.ramos0219 and Twitter at @brianramos0219.

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