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Windhorst: In the Western Conference, bring it or get embarrassed

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) drives by San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Phoenix. The Spurs defeated the Suns 120-90. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Despite spending most of Halloween watching Derrick Rose score 50 points against the Utah Jazz, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst saw enough from the Phoenix Suns’ 120-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday to determine the Suns need to show more effort in order to be competitive.

“The effort level last night was not indicative of a team that was trying to break out of a 1-5 slump,” Windhorst told Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“In the Western Conference, if you don’t bring it, if you don’t come with intensity, you can get embarrassed on a regular basis.”

Through their first seven games of the season, the Suns have the worst average scoring differential in the NBA at -14.7 points per game. The Washington Wizards are second worst at -10.6.

However, it is early in the season and with star shooting guard Devin Booker sidelined for three of the Suns’ first seven games, some young players have been stepping up in his absence.

“There’s some positive things. (Deandre) Ayton has had some good games. I know (Mikal) Bridges had a good game last night and certainly you don’t expect a team to play its best when its best player just is not there,” Windhorst said.

Even with those developing core pieces, the Suns still have a long way to go if they want to be in playoff contention.

“You would have though that with this many high picks, they would have more guys that you would be excited about besides Booker. Ayton could be there, Bridges could be there, but they are not there yet,” Windhorst said.

Another problem Windhorst sees in the Suns is the development at point guard.

“The Suns arguably had the worst point guard situation in the league last year,” Windhorst said. “When training camp began, they had not solved it. To be honest, they are not even close to solving it, as far as I can tell.”

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