The Slim Reaper has found a new home, and he’s already given his new team something they desperately needed- time.
Early Thursday morning, The Phoenix Suns traded for 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant (and T.J. Warren), and sent the Brooklyn Nets Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected first round picks in return.
The move clearly extends the Suns’ tight championship window, but only as long as Durant is willing to remain in the desert. In this sense, the Suns’ title window is on borrowed time.
If not for the addition of Durant, Phoenix would not be considered a legitimate Western threat this year due to their lack of a pure offensive “closer.” Chris Paul has experienced ups and downs this year due to age, and Devin Booker has yet to prove he’s at the offensive level of someone like Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, or Durant.
At the time of this article, Phoenix holds a 31-27 record and is 22nd in the NBA in terms of field goal percentage. They currently hold the league’s 5th best 3-point shooting percentage and 7th best defensive rating.
Adding Durant will certainly help the Suns’ scoring efforts, but the loss of Bridges will damage their ability to defend talented Western opponents. Both Paul and Durant are aging. Further, Booker is not known for his defensive prowess. In essence, the Suns lost their best wing-defender, and will have to rely on their offensive firepower.
Given the newly revamped Western Conference, this will be a tall task. Teams such as the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Los Angeles Clippers thrive on the perimeter and use shifty wings and guards to slice their way towards the paint or get easy jump-shots.
The Phoenix Suns’ title hopes are on borrowed time. A two-time NBA champion, Kevin Durant undoubtedly increases their title chances, but the team will need to put on an offensive show to do so. Outside of Deandre Ayton, Phoenix does not have a defensive piece that provides true stability, especially on the perimeter.
The valley could be in for an exciting spring run, but they will need to capitalize quickly. Time is not on their side.