The Phoenix Suns are currently on a five-game losing streak. Injuries have also given them a much more difficult task this season. Phoenix has lost three players during that five-game stretch, which could impact how home-court advantage plays out in the Western Conference.
Phoenix recently lost to the Houston Rockets after starting the game without their star shooting guard, Devin Booker. Landry Shamet took over his starting spot, and the team struggled against the Rockets from the get-go. Before halftime, Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne sustained foot injuries that caused them to miss the entire second half of the game.
Ayton accidentally rolled his left ankle on Kevin Porter Jr.’s foot while Payne started to limp in the middle of the second period.
One thing that impacts athletes and teams substantially is injuries. Many have missed opportunities to be their best after being held back from competing for 100%. At the start of the season, the Suns looked healthy. But their starting power forward Cameron Johnson suffered a significant knee injury and has been out since.
Meanwhile, Booker has missed his second straight game of the season with a hamstring issue. The star guard has been phenomenal, and the team relies heavily on his production. His absence has taken a toll on the Suns and is impacting their on-court performance.
Additionally, forward Jae Crowder has refused to suit up for the Suns, adding more problems for the team. These problems, especially the injuries, could play an enormous role when determing seeding in the NBA Playoffs.
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Phoenix Suns must add more depth
The Suns missed the playoffs for a decade, from the 2010-11 season until the 2019-20 campaign. In their return to the postseason in the 2020-21 crusade, they made it to the Finals.
Since then, they’ve had home-court advantage that helped them win tough series against legitimate contending teams. In their 2021 playoff run, they finished as the second seed, which gave them an edge against all their playoff opponents. The Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers were all at a disadvantage against Phoenix.
They followed it up with an even more impressive 2021-22 season when they finished as the first seed in the Western Conference. Due to the many injuries the team has had thus far, it looks like the Phoenix Suns could lose that dominance this season. One thing that could be a temporary fix for the squad is to move a few of their pieces, particularly Crowder.
A few weeks ago, there were rumors that Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards could be a trade target by the Suns’ front office. However, those talks slowly died down as Ayton played a series of exceptional basketball.
Adding Kuzma in exchange for Crowder could breathe new life into the Suns’ weary season. The Wizards’ forward has also made known that he wants out of Washington and prefers to be in a contending team. The Lakers could be at the forefront in acquiring the 2020 champion, but Phoenix could try and give the trade a shot.
Since Booker is out, the 6-foot-10 forward would have a chance at being a primary scorer for the team if the trade happens. Kuzma is a proven talent capable of stepping up when asked. His rebounding is also a skill the Suns could use to their advantage if James Jones decides to make the trade happen. It won’t fix a lot of their problems at the four position. Nevertheless, Phoenix should call Washington’s front office to inquire about their asking price.
The Phoenix Suns aren’t in deep trouble. But addressing these concerns could lead to the current players putting less pressure on themselves. And once the injured players are ready to return to the lineup, the team will have a deeper rotation.