The Phoenix Suns are doing very well in the 2021-22 season. Fresh out of an NBA Finals, this team wasted no time in getting back to the heart of the matter. They currently lead the entire NBA with a 39-9 record and are riding a nine-game winning streak in February.
Truth be told, this team has been near perfect in the regular season so far. Their biggest moves have been to retain their stellar front office. However, there are some areas the Suns can at least look into in the trade deadline to further optimize their production. In particular, their three-point shooting has been a problem… a bit.
The biggest need the Suns have to meet at the 2022 NBA trade deadline
The Suns have played great ball this season. Ranking in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating, there are hardly any flaws to report in their scheme. Everyone did their job well and they look set to represent the West again in the NBA Finals.
The few remarks you might have about the Suns can all be easily explained. They seem to lack size at the power forward position? Regardless: the team still ranks 12th in rebound percentage. They don’t often line up? Well, the NBA officiating difference this season has impacted all teams equally.
However, there is one particular stat this team should be better at: three-point shooting. They’re not bad at shooting the ball deep; far from it actually. The Suns rank 5th in the NBA in three-point percentage with a 36.7% clip from deep. When they shoot deep, you are very likely to get burned.
The problem for the Suns, however, has been their volume. Despite their 5th best percentage, Phoenix is shooting just 31.7 attempts per game, 25th in the league. Almost every positional player on their roster is capable of making threes, but this team just doesn’t get much out of them.
The reason is because of their best players: Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Both Suns stars are highly effective scorers who can torture defenses from anywhere on the field. However, they prefer to do most of their work in the mid-range game. Paul made his living shooting from the free throw line, while Booker’s shot from inside the arc was insane.
Is this a huge weakness for the Suns? Well, not as huge as you might think. A team like this should definitely shoot the ball deeper. When you have guys like Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Landry Shamet on your team, you should do your best to do deep damage. However, shooting three-pointers in volume in the playoffs is not a prerequisite for victory. Ask Paul’s Rockets teams back then.
However, a little boost to their shooting could be the difference between title contender and title favorite this season. Their central position lacks outside shooting, which kind of prevents them from getting out of full small-ball lineups. If they could find a significant chunk in the market before the trade deadline, that could be a big help.
Do they have the coins to make a big trade without emptying their rotation? The Suns will most likely look to free agents to seek out a stretch 5. Someone like Mike Scott or Patrick Peterson would be a good insurance plan to acquire, even if they don’t use them often.
The playoffs demand the utmost preparation from all teams. You have to be flexible enough to adapt to your opponent, or be extremely dominant to the point where his schemes no longer matter. For the Suns, it’s about being ready for anything their opponent can throw at them.