While the Phoenix Suns ended November on a six-game win streak, the top team in the West enters December with a slew of injuries that may hamper the team’s road to a conference title and a run at the 2023 championship.
Riding High in November
The Suns recovered from a two-game skid in mid-November by beating the Golden State Warriors. After a one-game setback at Utah, Phoenix finished the month with six straight wins.
In the last game of the month, guard Devin Booker scored a season-high 51 points against the Chicago Bulls in front of a sold-out Footprint Center crowd. His efforts landed him the Western Conference Player of the Month award for November. He is averaging 29 points per game.
"It's the best."
Most points ever by Suns player in this arena.
Gilbert Arenas has arena record of 54 Dec. 22, 2006 in 48 minutes in Wizards win to snap Suns 15-game win streak. pic.twitter.com/m0HbzkwyfH
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 1, 2022
The team received another accolade as the league named Suns head coach Monty Williams the Western Conference Coach of the Month.
In front office news, the team promoted general manager James Jones to president of basketball operations on Nov. 28. The former NBA player and the mastermind behind hiring Williams will hold both roles. The team has been on an upward trajectory since Jones joined the franchise as an executive in 2017. He played for Phoenix from 2005-07.
Suns’ Early Playoff Prediction and Injury Woes
NBA Playoffs don’t start until April, but Phoenix is hoping to get all of the injuries out of the way now. The Suns’ resolve will be tested in December as the franchise manages injuries to key players. Veteran All-Star guard Chris Paul is out with a sore right heel. Heading into the last month of the year, Paul has missed 12 straight games. However, Jones told the Arizona Republic that Paul is close to returning to the court. His status is day-to-day.
Cameron Payne took Paul’s spot and is averaging 13 points and 5.8 assists per game as a starter.
Forward Torrey Craig suffered a right groin strain, and his time out from play is uncertain. He was ruled out for the Dec. 5 game against the Dallas Mavericks. Craig was the replacement for Cam Johnson, who tore his right meniscus on Nov. 4 against the Portland Trailblazers and is expected to return in two months. In games he started, Craig averaged 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Suns’ Early Playoff Odds
The Suns are among the best three-point shooting teams in the league right now. Six players have three-point shooting percentages over 40 percent. Sportsbooks are still optimistic about the Suns, even with multiple injured players on the roster. Most list the team behind the Golden State Warriors for squads favored to win the West at . The Suns are at to win the NBA Title.
Below are the current Western Conference Title odds and the NBA Title odds.
If Phoenix Suns players recover well from injury, they may very well win the West and slip past the Golden State Warriors. Time will tell as the team’s fans keep their fingers crossed that the injury bug stays away.
Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire