How will Kevin Durant Fit with the Phoenix Suns?    

Photo Credit: The Athletic 

It’s almost time. The All-Star break is over, and Kevin Durant is finally aiming to return from injury on March 1st. In a game-changing move, the Phoenix Suns traded for Durant on February 9th. The trade also sent T.J. Warren, a solid scorer when healthy, to PHX. Phoenix sent a package to the Nets that included Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, and Jae Crowder. They also traded four unprotected future first-round picks to Brooklyn. The Suns are now title contenders in a Western Conference with no obvious frontrunner. Although this team is now stacked with star power, how will its players mesh on the court?     

A Rising Super Team? 

The Suns’ core now consists of Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton. Durant is arguably the best scorer of the four. Before he sprained his MCL, KD averaged 29.7 points per game, which is the highest scoring average amongst the four. He should be the go-to option, especially in clutch situations. At the same time, Devin Booker is an excellent scorer averaging 26.5 points per game. Booker will have to adjust to Durant being the primary scorer, but he should still have great scoring numbers. The two stars may already have some chemistry since they won a gold medal together on Team USA in 2021.  

Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall, AP 

Meanwhile, Chris Paul’s role on the team should not change much. He should remain the vocal leader and floor general that the team needs. However, Deandre Ayton’s role seems to be the most ambiguous after this trade. Will he score more because opposing teams will focus defensive attention on Durant? Or will he be scoring less because of the addition of Durant as a primary scorer? Time will tell, but Ayton must be a defensive presence for this team to have deep playoff success.  


Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports 

The Mid-Range Mafia  

Durant, Paul, and Booker are all incredible, deadly shooters from mid-range (10-16 feet out). As a result, they have been dubbed the “Mid-Range Mafia” by fans.  Durant is shooting an incredible 60% from this area. Devin Booker is shooting 50%, while CP3 is at a solid 47% in this range. All these players take a high volume of mid-range shots and are efficient in doing so.   

Photo Credit: Redbubble 

Three-Point Shooting  

One thing that is perhaps understated is the three-point shooting of this group. Kevin and Devin are both players who can make threes at a high volume. Durant is 20th in all-time three-pointers made in NBA history. Simultaneously, Booker is now the franchise leader in three-point field goals for Phoenix. Additionally, CP3 is no slouch from three. He is 33rd in all-time-three-pointers made. Simply put, the offensive potential of this team is phenomenal.  

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports 

Booker’s Expectations  

After the Suns’ victory against the Thunder on Friday, Booker expressed his thoughts on KD. “He has a type of game that you could throw into any system. I’m excited to play with him. Should be a lot of space out there, we’re going to defend at a high level, and I’m looking forward to it”, Booker said. Just like Booker, basketball fans across the league wait in anticipation to see how KD plays with PHX.   

Photo Credit: ESPN  

Lingering Questions  

Despite their stars, the key factors in the Suns’ hopes of a championship will be their defense and bench production. The team traded away two great role players in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. They are both shooters that can hold their own on defense. Bridges is a definitive 3-and-D player, which is something the team lacks now. With the loss of these key role players, the team will need their bench to provide consistent scoring and defense in the playoffs. Overall, if they can reach their offensive potential while playing solid defense, the Suns have a chance to reach the finals once more and finally win a championship.  

Photo Credit: Bright Side of the Sun 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.