Expect a few more wins from the Suns, says ESPN’s Kevin Pelton

Aug 3, 2017, 9:08 AM | Updated: 11:30 am

Dallas Mavericks' Ding Yanyuhang, center, battles for the ball with Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chriss, ...

Dallas Mavericks' Ding Yanyuhang, center, battles for the ball with Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chriss, left, and Josh Jackson during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

It’s been seven years since the Phoenix Suns played in the postseason.

It doesn’t appear that the 2017-18 campaign will see an end to that playoff drought, the longest in franchise history. Phoenix’s front office, headed by general manager Ryan McDonough, appears to be playing the patience game, building around young talent like Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and 2017 first-round pick Josh Jackson.

Young teams typically don’t win much. But they do improve, and ESPN’s Kevin Pelton believes that will happen, in the form of more victories, this upcoming season.

Pelton, an analytics-minded insider, used real-plus minus to project NBA teams’ win totals. He sees the Suns’ getting over the 30-win hump.

Projected wins: 30.3

The Suns are one of the two teams projected worse on defense than the Lakers. That might undersell the defensive contributions of rookie Josh Jackson. Still, Phoenix is firmly committed to developing its young talent rather than chasing 35 wins this season — at least for now.

Of course, this projection could change should the Suns engage in a trade for disgruntled Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, which has been rumored for the last couple of weeks.

Last season, the same projections put the Suns’ win total at 28.9 and had them 14th in the Western Conference. They finished with 24 wins — the least in the conference and second-lowest total in the NBA.

Phoenix Suns


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Something feels very different with Devin Booker and the Suns

On the latest Bickley Blast, Dan Bickley asks if a Devin Booker trade request is in the near future.

5 hours ago

Devin Booker #1 and head coach Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns...

Arizona Sports

NBA playoff standings: Suns need outside help to avoid play-in

Where are the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference standings? They're fighting for playoff positioning and hoping to avoid the play-in.

16 hours ago

(L-R) Ish Wainright #12, Isaiah Thomas #4, Drew Eubanks #14 and David Roddy #21 of the Phoenix Suns...

Damon Allred

Isaiah Thomas: ‘The world knows how scary’ Phoenix Suns can be in playoffs

Isaiah Thomas joined Burns & Gambo on Thursday to talk about the final week of the regular season and the fight for postseason positioning.

19 hours ago

Karl-Anthony Towns posts up Kevin Durant...

Damon Allred

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns expected to make return before regular season finale vs. Suns

Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns is on track to return from a torn meniscus on Friday when the Wolves match up against the Atlanta Hawks.

20 hours ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Can a Phoenix Suns playoff run can force this team to reconcile its issues?

Despite the bad vibes surrounding the Phoenix Suns, Dan Bickley debates if an NBA playoff run can be the determining factor in what makes or breaks this team's underlying issues.

1 day ago

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts as he walks past Kevin Durant #35 during the first half ...

Kellan Olson

Suns show same bad vibes, do barely enough to beat depleted Clippers

The Phoenix Suns were gifted a depleted Los Angeles Clippers squad on Wednesday the night after a terrible loss to L.A.

2 days ago

Expect a few more wins from the Suns, says ESPN’s Kevin Pelton