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The Suns built a superteam with Durant, Booker and Beal. It produced zero playoff wins

Timberwolves Suns Basketball
Posted at 2:51 PM, Apr 29, 2024

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns thought they had built a formidable superteam during the offseason by adding three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to form a star-studded trio with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

It looked great on paper. It added up to exactly zero playoff wins.

The Suns were knocked out of the playoffs Sunday night after a 122-116 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, despite a 49-point effort from Booker and 33 points from Durant. The four-game sweep was a gut punch for a team that entered the season with championship aspirations.

Now the Suns have to decide whether to blow up the roster or run it back. Booker — who led the Suns to the Finals in 2021 before losing to the Bucks in six games — sounded as though he votes for the latter.

“It's a tough league,” Booker said. "At the end of all this, there's only going to be one winner. Everybody that doesn't win is going to go into somewhat of a panic mode and feel like they have to make changes — do this and do that.

“But I think, over time, experience is the best teacher. The more you can spend time and feel this hurt together, go through it together, the better off you are in the future.”

Sticking together might be the only real choice the Suns have.

Phoenix general manager James Jones doesn't have much room to maneuver under the league's salary cap unless major changes are made. Durant, Booker and Beal all have big salaries and Grayson Allen just received a $70 million, four-year extension.

Allen led the league in 3-point shooting percentage this season and averaged a career-high 13.8 points per game, but suffered a sprained ankle in Game 1 against the Wolves and wasn't able to contribute much.

The biggest question revolves around the future of first-year coach Frank Vogel, who struggled to turn this Suns team into a consistent winner. Owner Mat Ishbia has been unafraid to make big changes during his first 18 months.

But Vogel said on Sunday he expects to be back for a second season.

“I've got the full support of Mat Ishbia,” he said before Game 4.

To be fair, Vogel was given a tough assignment thanks to questionable roster construction. The Suns didn't have a true point guard — asking Booker and Beal to handle that responsibility — and the team struggled all year with turnovers.

Beal was also hurt for a big chunk of the first half of the season, costing valuable time as the team tried to learn to play together.

The 35-year-old Durant continued to defy Father Time with another stellar season, averaging more than 27 points per game. He's one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, but it's also fair to wonder how long he can play at this elite level.

Booker and Durant are among the 12 players who will represent the U.S. in the Paris Olympics this summer.

“You reflect back on the season, we were just inconsistent with our play and the style of play that we wanted,” Durant said. “But I think guys will dig deep this summer, work on what they need to work on individually, the coaches will make adjustments because we've got stuff on film from all season on who we can be."

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