It was safe to say that the Phoenix Suns did not have much of a chance to compete deep in the playoffs until they acquired Kevin Durant. They had a fairly decent start to the season hovering between the top six seeds in the Western Conference. But the elephant in the room was yet to be addressed. Were the Suns good enough to go all the way and win a title? They have been criticized for this ever since the 2021 NBA Finals.
Devin Booker suffered from an injury midway through the season which sidelined him for almost a month. Meanwhile, Durant was acquired and the Suns sent their defensive star Mikal Bridges and three-point marksman Cameron Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. Following Durant’s debut, the Suns were undefeated while he was on the court. This was a sign of hope for the Suns’ franchise moving into the postseason.
Phoenix had an awkward start to the playoffs against the LA Clippers. But after Kawhi Leonard went down with a torn meniscus, their pathway was cleared. It wasn’t until they met the Denver Nuggets that things began to fall apart. The Nuggets have eliminated the Suns in six games. Fans slammed KD for failing to lead another superteam to a championship. One fan said, “Kevin Durant yet again failed super team.” Here are a few other reactions.
Kevin Durant yet again failed super team pic.twitter.com/9Qhqa8kEAI
— Mink Flow (@currypistonn) May 12, 2023
The three owners of Phoenix Suns 🤣 pic.twitter.com/jpk5B6snjY
— $ra • (@Sra_world) May 12, 2023
Phoenix suns really added Kevin Durant to their roster just to lose the same way they did in game 7 last year😭😭 pic.twitter.com/gDZvr4qDIH
— Raps gen (@RaptorsGen) May 12, 2023
Nothing to see here…
Just the co-owners of the Phoenix Suns franchise. pic.twitter.com/zxgEoq4GLV
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) May 12, 2023
Should the Phoenix Suns regret trading Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and 4 first-round picks for Kevin Durant? pic.twitter.com/mXlV7wYx8U
— Guru (@DrGuru_) May 12, 2023
Nikola Jokic nearly averaged a triple-double to put the Suns away for good. He finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists in Game 6 as the Nuggets won 125-100. Even Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon played major roles on the Nuggets roster. The star of the night was Cameron Payne who scored 31 points. Phoenix’s main players did not have a great game.
How will the Phoenix Suns respond to their abysmal playoff elimination?
It is quite tough to say how the Phoenix Suns will respond. Monty Williams has been a great coach as he had led them to three consecutive playoff appearances since his arrival. Even though Chris Paul injured himself and exited the playoff series due to a groin injury, he plays a big part in controlling the game.
All eyes are on Deandre Ayton at the moment, who has been barely putting up winning numbers. He helped the Suns through deep playoff runs over the last two years but it seems as if the center is their biggest weakness.
After trading Bridges, Ayton was left to anchor the defense. But in reality, Ayton is more of a scorer rather than a defensive piece. Considering the contract dispute he had and his lackluster performances during the playoffs, he could potentially be shipped.