For the first time in over 28 years, the Phoenix Suns are headed back to the NBA Finals. I don’t care what you have to say about their “easy” path to the Finals, they proved everyone wrong and silenced every single doubter from the beginning of the season till now.
Yes, it is unfortunate that Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray, and Kawhi Leonard were injured. But to the Sun’s credit they are the number two seed for a reason. They were better than all of these teams in the regular season when those guys were healthy, hence why they were better than them now.
All of these off-season moves made by James Jones, the 2021 Executive of the Year, were brought into question by fans and experts. Boy, have they shut all of them up and made them eat their words. The addition of Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, and Jae Crowder have all been crucial for their success this season. But, there are two people that are the cornerstone assets to this team and will be for a long time hopefully.
First overall pick in 2018, Deandre Ayton, and 13th overall pick in 2015, Devin Booker. These two guys have been absolutely stellar for the Suns throughout these playoffs. They have led this team to the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years. The last Suns team to make the playoffs? Led by Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Many people were wondering whether or not the Suns made the right pick, selecting Ayton with the first overall pick, in an insanely stacked draft class. This draft class includes big name young stars such as Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
He has played decently in his first 3 seasons in the league but nothing consistent. He was sidelined most of last season with an injury and saw a dip in his numbers this regular season. But in these playoffs he has shown glimpses of what he truly can be, and that is a dominant force in the paint and on the glass.
It seems almost as if Chris Paul has activated a gear within Ayton that nobody thought was possible. But to Ayton’s credit he has been utilizing his big frame to dominate teams that use small ball and has been taking high quality shots in the post. He has also picked up his game on the defensive end as well.
He said when he was drafted that he and Booker were going to be on a Shaq and Kobe type of level, and although he’s nowhere close to Shaq’s level, he is putting in the work and showing everyone why he was the #1 overall pick.
One of the brightest young stars in the league and one of the best scorers in today’s NBA. Devin Booker has always been underrated his entire life, even at Kentucky. But with his hard work and dedication to the game, he has put in work and improved every season he’s played in.
The late great Kobe Bryant said that Devin Booker was going to be something special, during his rookie season. Having that type of praise from Kobe is a sign of great things to come, and they have for the 24 year-old. He has made the previous 2 all-star games, only as a replacement, but he definitely deserved it.
Many of his criticism comes from the fact that he has never made the playoffs up until this season. But he has exceeded all expectations in his first playoffs, he is currently averaging 27.2 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 4.8 assists per game. One of the top players in these playoffs, he has shown that he deserves to be in the conversation about being one of the best in the league.
Both of these young players have more to prove in their young careers, and this season they are just getting started. They have a great team around them and one of the best chances to win the NBA Finals in a season that was riddled with injuries to superstars.