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Phoenix Suns preview: Will Booker-Durant-Beal trio deliver franchise’s first title?

Here’s a look at the Suns ahead of the upcoming NBA season.

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns
Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns watch from the bench during the second half of the NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at Footprint Center on October 10, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, DK Network is taking an in-depth look at all 30 teams. We’re going over all the big moves from the offseason, predicting the starting lineup, providing a fantasy basketball perspective, looking at relevant odds and assessing season expectations for each franchise. Here’s a look at the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix Suns 2023-24 Outlook

Key additions: Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon

Gordon and Allen help Phoenix’s depth tremendously, but the big additions are Beal and Nurkic. The former Wizards shooting guard has finally made a move to win a championship, and he should fit well with his star teammates if healthy. Nurkic is the right type of big man for this group, someone who can rebound and make hustle plays while not needing too many touches to stay happy.

Key departures: Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Jock Landale

Ultimately, the injuries did Paul in with Phoenix and his salary number was too much for how little he contributed in the postseason. Despite his role in making the Suns a regular contender, he is not going to be a part of this next iteration of the team. Ayton was pouting after the loss to Dallas in 2022, and was unhappy the team matched his offer sheet. He was non-existent in the playoffs and actually got replaced in the rotation by Landale. The Suns will miss his energy in the backup center role.

Projected starting lineup

Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Beal and Nurkic will start. The fifth spot is up in the air, and it’ll be about where the Suns want to play Durant. The best guess right now is Josh Okogie getting in the lineup, but Allen might get in over him.

Fantasy basketball player to watch: Devin Booker

The Suns deployed Booker as the primary ball handler in the playoffs, and it was awesome to see. Phoenix lacked the depth to ultimately get past Denver, but Booker is going to take on that role this season. He’s going to cede some touches to Beal, although the additional responsibilities being a playmaker will make up for that loss. Booker is going to be among the top picks in fantasy drafts. If this offense is what many think it can be, he will put up massive numbers in 2023-24.

Notable odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Win total: 51.5
To make playoffs: Yes -1000, No +650
To win West: +350
To win NBA title: +650

Season expectations

You don’t make trades for Durant and Beal if your goal is to be a regular playoff team. You make those trades to win a title. The Suns have been aggressively pursuing a championship and have decided it is all that matters, with any personal relationships that get damaged along the way as part of the process. The Suns traded for Paul, made a Finals, and then doubled down by adding Durant and Beal while parting ways with the veteran point guard.

The oddsmakers have Phoenix behind Denver in the West, but those teams did play a heated six-game series in 2022-23. Hopefully, we’ll have a rematch in the Western Conference Finals this season. That’s the minimum expectation for Phoenix.