The Suns’ off-season produced enough fireworks to sustain Kenny Powers on the Fourth of July.  Unfortunately, if you’re a Suns fan, the drama was less of the blockbuster trade or free agent acquisition variety, and more front-page-of-the-tabloid variety.  For starters, majority owner Robert Sarver is putting the team up for sale after being suspended for the entire season.   The news unleashed a circus of speculation surrounding the identity of the next owner, with Bob Iger, Shaq, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. being mentioned as candidates with varying levels of seriousness.  The Suns are also trying to deal a frustrated Jae Crowder, who capped off his summer of discontent by sitting out training camp and pre-season while the franchise works out a trade.  Speaking of pre-season, the Suns got off to an inauspicious start when the Adelaide 36ers came from Down Under and handed Phoenix a loss on their home court.  We all know not to read into pre-season too much, but between distractions at the top, the cloud hanging over Crowder’s exit, and simmering tensions between coach Monty Williams and Deandre Ayton, one gets the feeling that the turmoil from their disastrous second round ouster may extend into this season.

Whatever happens, there is still fantasy goodness to be mined from this fast-paced squad.  Here are my assessments as we near the start of the action:

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The Phoenix Suns exceeded the majority of expectations in 2020-21. However, the same cannot be said for the team’s starting five from a fantasy perspective. The addition of Chris Paul and strong coaching from Monty Williams resulted in a team-first approach that spread contributions thin. Devin Booker’s assists dried up, Mikal Bridges’ steal rate took a dive, and Deandre Ayton seemed to forget that he was seven feet tall. Newcomer Paul, meanwhile, surged. With the Suns’ lineup remaining relatively stagnant during the flurry of off-season moves, what fantasy outlook should we have for their starting five this coming season?

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After ending the season on an 8-0 run in the Bubble and just missing out on the 8th/9th seed play-in game, the Suns entered this offseason looking to elevate themselves to a legitimate contender in the tough Western Conference. That is exactly what they did, acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul to form a tremendous backcourt duo with fellow All-Star Devin Booker. The Suns will be looking for Paul to continue his All-NBA caliber play and for their young core to take another leap this season to solidify themselves amongst the top teams in the West. 

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Even though the Suns finished dead last in the Western Conference last year, and last in the entire NBA the year before that, they’ll always be first in the hearts and minds of fantasy owners everywhere. Their score first and play defense later mentality is fantasy gold, and this year is no different. There is reason to be optimistic this year though, with the arrival of Ricky Rubio and the emergence of Kelly Oubre. The Suns finally get their true point guard to distribute the ball and a veteran mentor for the young guns. Booker is looking healthy (for now) and Ayton should take a big step forward. I love the Suns when it comes to fantasy, and I have a sneaking suspicion they won’t be that bad in real life either.

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