The Phoenix Suns are chugging along just fine in the 2021 – 22 season. Fresh off an NBA Finals run, this team has wasted no time getting back into the thick of things. They currently lead the entire NBA with a 39 – 9 record, and are riding a nine-game winning streak heading into February.
Truth be told, this team has been damn near perfect in the regular season so far. Their biggest moves have been retaining their stellar front office. However, there are certain areas that the Suns can at least look into in the trade deadline to further optimize their production. In particular, their three-point shooting has been problematic… a little bit.
Biggest need the Suns must address at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline
The Suns have been playing excellent ball this season. Ranking in the top five in both offensive rating and defensive rating, there’s virtually no flaw to point out in their scheme. Everyone has been playing their job well, and they look poised to represent the West in the NBA Finals once again.
The few nitpicks you may have about the Suns can all be easily explained. They seem to lack size at the power forward position? Doesn’t matter: the team still ranks 12th in rebounding percentage. They don’t get to the line that often? Well, the NBA’s difference in refereeing this season has impacted every team equally.
However, there’s one particular stat that this team should be better at: three-point shooting. They’re not bad at shooting the deep ball; far from it actually. The Suns rank 5th in the NBA in three-point percentage with a 36.7% clip from deep. When they shoot from deep, you’re more than likely going to get burned.
The problem for the Suns, though, has been their volume. Despite their 5th-best percentage, Phoenix only shoots 31.7 attempts per game, 25th in the league. Nearly every position player in their roster is capable of making threes, but this team just doesn’t shoot a lot of them.
The reason for this is because of their best players: Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Both Suns stars are highly efficient scorers who can torture defenses from anywhere on the court. However, they prefer to do most of their work in the mid-range game. Paul has made a living of shooting from the free-throw line, while Booker’s shot-making from inside the arc has been insane.
Is this a huge weakness for the Suns? Well, not nearly as huge as you’d think. A team like this should absolutely be shooting the ball more from deep. When you have guys like Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Landry Shamet on your team, you should do your hardest to do damage from deep. However, volume three-point shooting in the playoffs isn’t a prerequisite to winning. Just ask Paul’s Rockets teams back then.
However, a little boost to their shooting could be the difference between title contender and title favorite this season. Their center position is lacking in outside shooting, which kind of disallows them from trotting out full small-ball lineups. If they could find a stretch big on the market before the trade deadline, it could be a huge help.
Do they have the pieces to make a big trade without gutting their rotation, though? The Suns will most likely look towards the free agents to scour for a stretch 5. Someone like Mike Scott or Patrick Peterson would be a nice insurance plan for them to acquire, even if they don’t use them that often.
The playoffs demand the utmost preparation from all teams. You have to be flexible enough to adjust to your opponent, or be supremely dominant to the point where their schemes don’t matter. For the Suns, it’s a matter of being ready for anything their opponent may throw at them.