It’s official: Phoenix Suns will play again this season

Jun 4, 2020, 4:28 PM

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns looks on in the second half against the Golden State Warriors a...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns looks on in the second half against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on December 27, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – After an unprecedented postponement of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suns are going to be playing basketball again.

The NBA return-to-play plan is set and is expected to be ratified by owners on Thursday. The story was first reported Wednesday by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and later detailed by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The teams will play in Orlando, Fla., which is just fine with Suns center Frank Kaminsky.

“I’ll go to Saturn to play basketball at this point,” he said recently.                       

The NBA, after much speculation that it would invite 20 teams to the tournament, decided to bring 22 teams to play.

In addition to the 16 teams that were set to make the playoffs, the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and the Suns will all be playing.

Every team will play eight regular season games before the postseason. This is meant to give players time to get back in shape and into the groove of an NBA season before playoff games begin.

Not all of Wednesday’s news favored the Suns, however. Initial speculation had the NBA testing a play-in tournament, where some or all of the teams that weren’t in the original 16 would get to compete for a playoff spot.

That’s not how it’s going to go. The only play-in game possible will occur if the ninth seed is four games or less behind the eighth seed.

The eighth seed would have to lose twice to be eliminated, while the ninth seed would only have to lose once. 

The Suns are six games behind the eighth seed and would have to jump four teams to make it to the ninth seed. It’s a difficult task for a team that was 26-39 when the season was suspended.

But there is hope. Mikal Bridges said during a media session that he didn’t care what kind of games the team would play “as long as we can play again.”

Gina Mizell, who covers the Suns for The Athletic, said she believes the Suns wanted to play again, no matter the circumstances.

The Suns believe they could surprise people. The team started the season 7-4 and only had one game all season where their entire 15-man roster was available.

They believe if they can return to where they were at the start of the year, get healthy and receive a standout performance from Devin Booker, who will be playing the most important eight games of his young career, the Suns could be a threat.

And if that doesn’t happen, the players will get an extra eight games to play under a new coaching staff. Mizell said that any time the players would have together would benefit them.

The games will all take place in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Players and necessary team members will live on the complex for the duration of the tournament to avoid the contraction or spread of COVID-19.                                

The NBA, pending the owners vote, will resume July 31 and is scheduled to play until October 12 at the latest.

Cronkite Sports

Cronkite Sports

Sports gambling in Arizona moves closer to reality

In the near future, the Arizona sports fan’s experience could include the ability to place bets inside sports venues while the action unfolds.

3 years ago

Higley quarterback Kai Millner committed to Cal this spring, despite visiting the campus just once ...

Cronkite Sports

Arizona high school football recruits still committing amid coronavirus

Despite visiting campuses few times if at all in some cases, class of 2021 high school football prospects from Arizona are committing at record rates.

4 years ago

(Photo via Cronkite News courtesy Mesa Community College Facebook)...

Arizona Sports

COVID-19 prompts junior colleges to push for cancellation of sports

The 2020-21 school year for Maricopa County community colleges may not include sports, schools await a decision by the district chancellor.

4 years ago

New Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez believes outreach in the Arizona Hispanic market is ...

Cronkite Sports

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez looks to reach Latino community

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez is the first Latino president and CEO in NHL history and hopes to reach new fans in the Valley.

4 years ago

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who joined the Phoenix Mercury in the offseason, is ready to get the WNBA...

Cronkite Sports

Full pay, 22-game season in Florida on tap for Phoenix Mercury

Another league has agreed on a return-to-play plan in the month of July. This time it’s the WNBA, whose members include the Phoenix Mercury.

4 years ago

Phoenix Rising FC assistant coaches Peter Ramage (left) and Blair Gavin are awaiting details about ...

Cronkite Sports

Phoenix Rising players await news on resumption of USL Championship

Phoenix Rising FC and the USL Championship are set to resume play July 11 while players wait on more details for the return.

4 years ago

It’s official: Phoenix Suns will play again this season