After an active offseason, the Phoenix Suns kicked off the 2023-24 season in the right direction. The Suns won their first game of the season with a 108-104 victory over Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Suns’ star Kevin Durant netted 18 points against his former team in his first appearance at the Chase Center. After securing their first win of the season on the road, something that they struggled with in last year’s playoffs, Durant said that he is “excited” about the direction the team is headed in.
“I like the identity we’re building, I like the days we’ve been stacking,” Durant said to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports following the Victory.
“We’ve got talent. That’s half the battle in sports is to have the talent. Now, it’s on us to put it together. I’m excited about the talent being bought in. I like what we’re doing, and the attention to detail. We’ve got a good start, we just gotta see how it goes.”
Kevin Durant Reveals Role in Suns Roster Construction
Most knew how talented the Phoenix Suns would be coming into this season. At +600 they have the fourth-best odds to win the 2024 NBA title, trailing only the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks.
But it is not just their talent that has them among the title favorites. It is their depth as well. That depth was on display in their win over the Warriors. While Durant and Devin Booker were the headliners on opening night, it was the contributions of role players such as Josh Okogie, Eric Gordon, and Jusuf Nurkic that paid dividends in them securing the win over the Western Conference powerhouse.
Though Durant has earned the reputation of a player who is more focused on what is happening on the court, he admits that he was actively involved in the Suns’ personnel decisions during the offseason, which could play big into their fluidity as a team this season.
“Yeah, I got to know Mat Ishbia more, to know Josh [Bartelstein, Suns CEO] and James [Jones, Suns general manager] and then once Frank [Vogel, head coach] came on and get to know him, as well,” Durant added.
“I just want to be aware on making decisions, who should be on the team, I give my suggestions and input and hopefully they take it in and value my opinion. But if they don’t, I still come to work and do my job.
Bradley Beal Misses Suns’ Opener Due to Injury
Not just our team. I’d like to see how stuff is working behind the scenes because a lot of [stuff] moving, but that we don’t see from the surface level. So, I feel like I’ve always been interested in that side of the game. I think that they are involving the players and asking for our input, which is cool.”
The biggest acquisition the Suns front office made this summer was when they pulled off a blockbuster trade to land All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal in June. And the Suns were looking forward to debuting their new All-Star trio on opening night, despite head coach Frank Vogel revealing that both Beal and Booker were dealing with injuries.
Booker did suit up and netted 32 points in the win. But hours before tip-off, Shams Charania of “The Athletic” revealed that Beal was still dealing with a lingering back injury, which ultimately held him out of the contest against the Warriors.
It is something worth keeping an eye on as the Suns prepare for their next game against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 26.