Welcome to Hoop Dreams, a season preview unlike any other. The premise is simple: We’ll be providing 30 of these fictional forays because it simply stinks that only one team can win the title each year. The list of contending teams seems to shrink with each succeeding campaign, and we wanted to provide something to those fans who only get to dream of Larry O’Brien during the offseason. Before October, every team can win the NBA title. Don’t believe us? Then keep reading. – Ed
The Phoenix Suns may not be the worst team in the NBA this season, but they might be the most, well, blah. That’s not to say they won’t be as exciting as Suns teams of yesteryear, but this particular lineup makes it very difficult to put a finger on how this team could win it all. However, that might actually tell us everything we need to know.
Sometimes a team just clicks. Sometimes a team just wins games because everything works, each guy does his job (and then some), and everyone gets hot when it matters most. And when the Suns win the Larry O’Brien trophy this season, it will be because this is that classic true grit team comprised of a bunch of guys who go out night after night and get the damn thing done. It’s almost communistic, the way each player has his role and responsibility, but everyone is paid well and we won’t send John Jenkins off to the gulag if he doesn’t dazzle in his role as third string guard.
Some players and even personnel will obviously be more important than others. This is a team that appears, on paper, to be built to contend for the 8-seed, but the Suns are going to win it all. So, let’s rank the eight most important people in the Suns’ campaign to win the NBA Championship this season, which is most certainly going to happen, since this will all come true.
8) Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender
What they will do: Contribute, learn, don’t make a lot of mistakes
Those don’t even sound like real names, but we assure you they are and they’re actual human basketball players, and some people think they’ll be very good someday. The Suns probably don’t expect Chriss and Bender to step in and begin dominating right away, so there’s no pressure on them. But why wouldn’t they want to be good right away and help the team cruise to a championship? More players should just say, “Okay, I’m going to be good now.”
7) Tyson Chandler
What he will do: Teach and rebound, but mostly rebound
At 34, Chandler is the oldest guy on the Suns’ roster, and he’s also one of the highest paid. But his job is so simple: Rebound, dude. Jump up and grab the ball approximately 10-15 times a game. That’s it. If he feels like it, Chandler can put the ball in the basket if he thinks he has a shot, but it’s not even that big a deal for him. Just get the ball if it bounces off the rim or board and then give it to someone else. Bonus points will be awarded (in the form of postgame ice cream) if he mentors Chriss as the team’s center of the future.
6) Devin Booker
What he will do: Be very good and exciting
Booker flashed a ton of potential in his rookie season, so if he simply offers the same production we can probably pour gasoline on that “this team is blah” remark and burn it like a car outside the Talking Stick Resort Arena after Game 4. (Not that we condone such behavior in championship celebrations. Suns fans know their team is going to win, so they should act accordingly when it happens.)