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Friday, July 19, 2024
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How the Suns’ Current Success Started in the Bubble

  • The Suns (53-13) became the first team to clinch the playoffs.
  • They've won 75% of their games since the Orlando Bubble.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

A few seasons ago, the Suns finished dead last in the West (19-63). Now they’re 53-13 and the first team to clinch a postseason spot.

They’ve been nearly unstoppable since an 8-0 run in the Orlando bubble ended an otherwise lackluster 2019-20 season — a streak that now appears to have been a turning point.

The bubble streak made a strong enough impression to compel GM James Jones to keep those core pieces with one essential addition: Chris Paul. The result was a Finals appearance last year and the current best odds (+380*) to win their first NBA title.

  • The Suns have won 75% of their games — 126-42 record — since the bubble, including playoffs.
  • They’re 22-9 against teams above .500 and 27-5 in “clutch” games — both best in the Association.
  • Their payroll ($136.4) ranks just 13th in the NBA.
  • They have an 8.5-game lead over the 2-seed Grizzlies.

Jones allocated $48 million (35%) of the payroll to leading scorer Devin Booker (25.6 PPG), glue guy and iron man Mikal Bridges, G League success story Cameron Payne, and sharpshooter Cameron Johnson (44.8% 3PT, tied-2nd in NBA). 

Deandre Ayton ($12.6M) and Frank Kaminsky ($2M) were also part of the 2019-20 squad forged in the bubble.

The Suns would need to finish 10-6 to set a new franchise-record for wins in a season (62) from 2004-05. There’s little reason to doubt them.

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