The Suns are just steps away from an NBA championship, according to general manager James Jones.

The Suns, who were one of the favorites to win the championship after they traded for Kevin Durant, lost to the Denver Nuggets in six games in the conference semifinals. Phoenix took two games from the Nuggets but lacked offensive contribution and continuity with Durant on the team.

The Suns recognized they had to make changes. They fired coach Monty Williams and reportedly another executive to push closer to a title.

Phoenix feels like it got closer to its championship goals by hiring Frank Vogel. He is known for building high-level defenses and won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

At his introductory press conference Tuesday, Vogel said the Suns will be “scrappy as hell.”

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“I will be committed to bringing a championship-level culture, both on and off the court,” Vogel said. “A culture centered around hard work, toughness, intelligence, teamwork.

“We’re going to have talent out there, but we’re going to be a scrappy team that plays harder than our opponent every night. And we’re going to be a team that makes this community very proud.” 

Vogel is known for having tough teams. The Indiana Pacers were one of the NBA's most physical groups when Paul George was with the team. The Lakers had physicality and two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which made them a difficult opponent every night.

Vogel said the Suns will focus on one habit that should push them closer to a championship.

“Our guys are going to hear that the No. 1 habit that we develop all year is that we have to play harder and tougher and with more hustle than our opponents every night,” Vogel said. “Because if you develop that habit over 82 games, boy, come playoff time, when every team’s trying to ratchet it up, it’s already going to be there for us.

The Suns have some players who can fit into Vogel's plan. The new coach said center Deandre Ayton can be “one of the best centers in the league.”

He also said he loves how Booker and Durant compete defensively.

“[Durant] even hit me when we were talking and says, ‘I can't wait to guard in your system,'” Vogel said. “He wants to get after it on both sides of the ball, he feels like that’s something that really gets him going on the other end. And I love that.”

Frank Vogel said he is yet to determine roles for his coaching staff, which will reportedly include associate head coach Kevin Young and former NBA coach David Fizdale, but that Young's “offensive coordinator” duties under Williams will be valuable.

“I got a great deal of respect for his offensive mind,” Vogel said. 

The new Suns' coach said he is looking forward to embracing the franchise's championship expectations. When asked about the challenge, he said, “Hell yeah.”

He is expected to be one of the steps the team needed to take to win a championship. His concepts have worked, and he is confident they will with the Suns.

“This is a beginning of a new era in Phoenix Suns basketball,” Vogel said. “And it’s going to be an exciting one.

“We are committed to bringing in championship-level talent. I will be committed to bringing a championship-level culture, both on and off the court.”