Three games into the season and the Phoenix Suns have already been very intriguing. They pulled out a mini-revenge win over the Mavs to open the season before splitting their games against the Trail Blazers and Clippers. Are the Suns ready to make a lot of noise this season? Let’s see. Here we’ll look at four of the hottest Suns takes from the first week of the 2022-23 NBA season.

In their season opener, the Suns trailed the Mavericks by as many as 22 points before a 27-7 fourth-quarter surge helped them turn the tables. Also, Damion Lee made Monty Williams seem like the Coach of the Year by scoring the game-winning shot when the Mavs took the ball away from Booker.

Afterward, however, the Suns were on the receiving end of late-game heroics as they lost in OT to the Blazers. Deandre Ayton missed crucial free throws that would would have tied the game; otherwise, he was solid. Those freebies have been concerning, though, since the Suns have been outscored from the line by 7.0 points per game so far. That’s the fourth-worst difference in the NBA.

The Suns’ longest homestand of the season (six games in 12 days) begins Tuesday when the defending champion Warriors visit. Last season’s matchups between Phoenix and Golden State were must-see events, and this meeting promises to be the same.

Now, after their first few games, let’s look at four of the hottest Suns takes from the first week of the 2022-23 NBA season.

4. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson are difference-makers

There is no question about the value that Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson bring to this team in 2022-23. With Jae Crowder not around, both guys certainly have to step up.

Against the Clippers, Bridges was fairly quiet on offense, but this was due to his defensive focus. He helped limit Clippers star Paul George to just 16 points on 4-for-11 shooting. That was a welcome result after he was burned by Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard in the previous two games.

As for Johnson, he was limited to just 23 minutes of play against the Clippers. However, he was incredibly productive during that time. In fact, the Suns were a +13 with him on the court.

The 26-year-old showed no indications of the injury troubles that plagued him in the first two games, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. Two of those were in the opening quarter as the Suns jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Johnson finished with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal in just 23 minutes. That shows how and why he fits into this starting lineup quite well.

3. Deandre Ayton needs to work on a lot of stuff

Deandre Ayton was a hot topic in the offseason. He very nearly became an Indiana Pacer before the Suns matched the offer and ensured his return to Phoenix. So far, the Bahamian big man has not disappointed. He opened the season with an 18-10 double-double against the Mavs before a 26-point explosion against the Blazers. He also had a solid 13 and 8 in their win over the Clippers.

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There are chinks in the armor, though. Right now, Ayton is averaging close to five fouls per game and has turned the ball over four times in each of the Suns’ last two assignments. Additionally, he’s shooting just under 58 percent from the line. He’s the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder now, but again, there are things to improve before we even remotely consider him an elite center in 2022-23.

2. Devin Booker is the best SG on Planet Earth

With three consecutive NBA All-Star selections, Suns guard Devin Booker has already shown his worth and proven he’s the best shooting guard in the league. However, Booker’s early returns indicate that he may raise his game even higher this season.

In the Suns’ most recent win over the Clippers, Booker scored 35 points while shooting well from the field (13-for-21), from 3-point range (5-for-9), and from the free-throw line (4-for-4). He also did really well in their come-from-behind win against Dallas (28 points) and an overtime defeat to Portland (33 points). Suns coach Monty Williams attributed some of Booker’s performance to offseason training with teammate Chris Paul, which began shortly after the Suns’ Game 7 loss to Dallas in the Western Conference playoffs.

Some will still say the Suns are Chris Paul’s team but don’t be shocked if Booker sits on the throne at some point this season. Offensively, he just sets the tone for the rest of the squad. He showed that against the Clippers when he scored 18 points in the first half. Booker is usually aggressive, but he has increased that aggression a notch higher to start their 2022-23 campaign.

As of this writing, Booker is No. 8 on the league’s scoring leaders list with 32.0 points per game.

1. CP3 = 11K

Talismanic point guard Chris Paul joins John Stockton and Jason Kidd as the only NBA players with at least 11,000 career assists. He reached that milestone against the Clippers in their second win of the young season.

Chris Paul wasted little time in making history. Paul reached the 11,000-assist plateau with two assists only one minute and 11 seconds into Sunday’s game. Fittingly enough, it was the team’s top two scorers who helped him get there. First, he found Booker for a three-pointer that put him one dime under 11K. Then CP3 found Ayton for a lob finish to finally get assist No. 11,000 with 10:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Objectively speaking, Paul really is one of the top playmakers of all time. Again, only Stockton (15,806) and Kidd (12,091) have more assists in their careers than Paul. Remember as well that Paul already has 32 assists over their first three games. The scoring hasn’t picked up yet, but who cares, right? Paul has been a closer his entire career, but he can defer to Booker and Ayton here in Phoenix. Right now, Paul is second in assists to Atlanta’s Trae Young, but don’t be shocked if CP3 gets to No. 1 by the season’s end. With him steering the ship, the Suns will surely make a lot of noise again in 2022-23.