PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns haven’t been to the NBA playoffs in more than a decade, back when players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Steve Nash and Grant Hill were running up and down the court in Arizona.
In an effort to break out of its constant state of mediocrity, the franchise made some of the boldest around the league moves during the NBA’s coronavirus-condensed offseason.
The Suns traded for 10-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul in November, a move that started a flurry of offseason deals as Phoenix worked to build around its young core of guard Devin Booker and forward Deandre Ayton.
While all teams are looking to get better, a few standout: including the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.
In Phoenix, Booker has been a beacon of light during the Suns recent playoff drought.
He has toiled through five straight losing seasons in the desert since being drafted 13th overall in 2015 out of Kentucky. He made his first All-Star game last season is thrilled with the offseason additions.
But Booker knows a lot of moves look good on paper and a lot of hard work is ahead.
“You’ve got to build and nurture and grow,” Booker said. “We’ve taken tremendous steps. And with the players we added, we’ve got a deep team with a lot of IQ and guys who know how to play the game. I think everyone in this locker room is locked in.”
The Suns didn’t stop with Paul. Soon after his arrival, Phoenix signed a handful of veterans including, forward Jae Crowder and guards Langston Galloway and E’Twaun Moore.
The 35-year-old Paul is reunited with coach Monty Williams, who is in his second season with the Suns. Williams coached Paul In New Orleans during the 2010-11 season and the two have stayed in touch.
Paul said he loves the way Williams builds teams and the Suns match his personality.
“We’ve got a lot of pros,” Paul said. “Anybody who plays in the league, or is around the league knows what I mean when I say that. Guys come in and prepare, they work. When we have shootarounds and practice, it’s hard to get guys out of the gym.
“When you’ve got guys like that, you build.”