EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Heading into offseason, Devin Booker believes Suns ‘changed’ culture

Apr 10, 2019, 5:20 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Devin Booker (1) in the first half during an NBA basketb...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Devin Booker (1) in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns won two fewer games this season than last, but looking at strictly records will fool anyone trying to declare a stance on whether or not the Suns have progressed from year-to-year.

The biggest difference is after ending last season losing 32 of their last 36 games, Phoenix went 8-13 in its last 21 games to wrap up this season.

They found their Nos. 1 and 2 for the present and future in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton supported by complementary pieces like Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr. and T.J. Warren. Those 21 games, even through numerous injuries, were a peek at what’s possible for this group if they stick together and improve.

In a locker room and building that has been desperate for an alteration to the culture, Booker believes that has come.

“I think going into the summer, us as a team, we’re going to take those bright spots when we were playing really good basketball and be motivated by that,” he said. “The culture was changed at that time.”

That, and not a 19-63 mark, is what the Suns are focusing on.

Those stretches Booker references include winning five of seven at two separate points in the season.

In December, a rotation that couldn’t stop shuffling finally settled and was boosted by the arrival of Oubre.

In March, it was more change. Dragan Bender and Oubre’s insertion into the starting lineup along with Tyler Johnson’s presence had another encouraging period brought on.

“Those stretches gave us hope and we’re gonna build on those,” Booker said.

When Booker was asked about his future and how happy he is in Phoenix, he once again reiterated when it was going right.

“Those bright spots have been very bright and the young core that we have moving forward I’m very excited to be a part of,” Booker said.

In the meeting the team had together on Wednesday, Booker said it was an emphasis that they’ve seen what it looks like when it’s working and they know the potential is there.

“We should all take a little bit of that feeling and just want that all the time,” he said.

“This summer we can make tremendous strides to make that jump to the place we’re trying to get to.”

Empire of the Suns

Ryan Dunn #0 of the Phoenix Suns poses for a portrait during the 2024 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at UNL...

Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns pick up 1st win of summer league vs. Thunder

The Phoenix Suns pulled out their first win of summer league on Wednesday in a 100-99 final over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

2 days ago

Phoenix Suns owner, Mat Ishbia looks on during the first half of the NBA game against the Oklahoma ...

Kellan Olson

Suns’ Mat Ishbia sees other teams ‘hiding’ from spending in 2nd apron

The Phoenix Suns have continued to zig while other teams zag with the new limitations in place for the NBA's mega-spenders.

2 days ago

(Twitter photo/@Suns)...

Kellan Olson

Oso Ighodaro, David Roddy flash for summer Suns in loss to Pacers

Phoenix Suns second-round pick Oso Ighodaro flashed some of what he is capable of as an NBA-ready player in a loss for the summer Suns.

3 days ago

Devin Booker #15 of the United States drives against Canada in the second half of their exhibition ...

Kellan Olson

Devin Booker, Team USA continue exhibition tour with win over Australia

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker had another solid performance in the Team USA Showcase exhibition tour ahead of the Olympics.

5 days ago

Royce O'Neale of the Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s Marks: Royce O’Neale’s contract details show bargain for Suns

If we're to shrug at how Mat Ishbia cares to spend his money, Royce O'Neale's four-year, $42 million contract is a bargain.

8 days ago

Amen Thompson #29 of the 2024 USA Basketball Men's Select Team guards Devin Booker #15 of the 2024 ...

Kellan Olson

Devin Booker continues to look the part for Team USA vs. Canada

Devin Booker continued to prove why he will be a valuable asset in the Paris Olympics for Team USA in an exhibition win against Canada.

9 days ago

Heading into offseason, Devin Booker believes Suns ‘changed’ culture