The Phoenix Suns are counting down the days until the start of their opening round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers. After experiencing numerous ups-and-downs throughout the 2022-23 season, superstar Devin Booker knows that it’s time for the Suns to make a push towards a championship.
Booker sat down with Duane Rankin of azcentral.com to discuss his thoughts about the regular season and what Phoenix needs to do when it comes to bringing home a title in the 2023 playoffs. While Booker admitted it’s been a rollercoaster of a season, he knows that “it’s time” for the Suns to make a push towards getting back to the finals.
“It’s been all over the place, but I think the main goal and what we realize since we lost last year and lost in the finals the year before that it comes down to this year. That’s the only thing that matters. It’s an important time and we’re at full health, full strength and it’s time to do it.”
The Suns (45-37) will take on the Los Angeles Clippers (44-38) in Game 1 on Sunday, April 16. Despite entering the playoffs as the fourth seed, Phoenix is considered one of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference and win it all.
After acquiring superstar forward Kevin Durant at the NBA’s trade deadline, Phoenix has looked as dangerous as ever when healthy. Durant made his long awaited Suns debut on March 1, as Phoenix went on to win three-straight games. That was until an ankle injury resulted in Durant missing the next ten games. Durant has played in a total of eight games with the Suns. In those eight games, Phoenix has posted a perfect 8-0 record.
Devin Booker on Excitement Ahead of Playoffs: ‘Everybody is Juiced’
Suns fans have rallied around Booker throughout his career in the NBA. He’s become the face of the franchise and has been a fan favorite on and off the court. With one of the most talented rosters that Booker has had as a member of the Suns, the superstar guard knows that it’s an exciting time for fans.
Booker touched on the excitement surrounding the organization ahead of the playoffs while speaking to Duane Rankin of azcentral.com. The three-time All-Star admitted that “everybody is juiced” for what the team has ahead.
“This city has always showed love and it’s an exciting time,” Booker said. “Everybody is juiced up ready for what we got coming up. The atmosphere is there.”
Phoenix has shown that when healthy, they can be a dominant force on the court. Despite a limited number of games playing alongside Durant, the Suns have shown the offensive firepower to give opposing teams headaches. In the eight games in which Durant has played, the Suns have gone on to win by an average of 11 points per game.
Suns Look for Stars to Continue Stellar Recent Play
Phoenix ended the 2022-23 regular season on a high note, winning seven of their last nine games. Despite ending the year with two consecutive losses, Phoenix had decided to rest their starters during those games in preparation for the playoffs.
When the Suns have been healthy, they’ve gotten sensational production from their stars. During Phoenix’s most recent five-game winning streak, both Devin Booker and Kevin Durant went on to combine to average 50.0 points per game.
The threat of having both Booker and Durant on the floor at the same time has given opposing defenses nightmares. But it’s also allowed for life to be easier for some of the other important pieces of the roster. Veteran floor general Chris Paul has started to play some of his best basketball of the season. In his last five games, Paul went on to average 17.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.6% from the field and 46.9% from three-point range.
Phoenix has also gotten promising play from star big man Deandre Ayton. With so much defensive attention being paid to Booker, Durant and Paul, Ayton has started to find his groove as well. In his last five games, Ayton averaged 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 58.3% from the field. The Suns know they have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with any opponent. Now, the team will look to maintain that success at the most important time of the year.