The Phoenix Suns Continue to Learn Each Other Through Ugly Wins

The trade deadline saw the Phoenix Suns acquire star Forward and two-time NBA Champion and MVP Kevin Durant and gave up the pieces that made them a cohesive unit over the years.

When it comes to chemistry, it can be very unpredictable because there is no timetable as to when every person learns his own role and learn the tendencies of his teammates.

The Suns had this issue since acquiring Durant at the deadline and his unicorn style was said to fit with any group of players in a short period of time.

Chemistry is probably the main ingredient to winning a Championship along with some plain old luck, and this year’s Suns are in the middle of the storm of both components.

So far they have received the luck when both of the Clippers superstar players ended up out for most of the series, Kawhi Leonard went down after playing on a hurt knee in games 1 and 2 and was held out of games 3 and 4, and have yet to return as the Clippers face elimination (3-1) in the next game on the road in Phoenix.

The Clippers are playing on sure will and determination and plain old school grit, but this lucky situation for the Suns is allowing them to work on the other component to winning a title and that is their team chemistry.

Kevin Durant appears to have become the world’s most expensive decoy in this series, but that is not the case from a team chemistry standpoint, he is a decoy because of who he is,(Kevin Durant) and Ty Lue is picking the poison of allowing Devin Booker and Chris Paul to flat out beat them as he is doubling on Durant all series.

This was probably to be expected, as the Suns are trying to learn how to play with Kevin and vice versa, the time frame of coming together is taking a bit longer than expected.

The biggest plus in all of this learning process is that the Suns have only lost once with Durant in the lineup since the trade was completed.

Winning while you learn is the best scenario that could have happened for the Suns and the league may need to serve notice that this is nowhere near the finished product we are seeing right now.

The fortunate bad luck of a Clipper team that seems snake-bitten has been the ultimate on-the-job training,  with both stars out, allowing for the Suns to play against speed and the toughest defensive pressure they probably will see should they reach the Finals.

The small ball units that Lue has had to play to speed the game up have taken the deadly Durant out of the game to a degree, but in the process, it’s allowing Durant to learn his teammates and them him, as tendencies began to become a little clearer.

The amount of minutes averaged by the stars in this first round of the Playoffs has been a blessing in disguise, as the unit is on the floor together for more than 35 minutes per game allowing for all the mistakes and mishaps that come along with learning each other and allows the learning how to finish games as well.

The lack of bench production allowed the starters to play more, but how long could that last throughout this Playoff run.

The style of the Clippers and the lack of a bench for the Suns has bought some time, and with one more game in round one to advance, a closeout game will bring more experience together and get them ready for the next series.

The style against the Nuggets in the next round will be a different game, and we may get to see Kevin Durant freed up a little more as the Nuggets don’t have the speed that the Clippers possessed, and their main source of what they do comes from a big in the paint (Joker).

The Suns have not looked like the team on paper as of yet, but during this Clippers series, we have seen short stints of them coming together, they are playing through their mistakes with their raw talent alone but in the process glimpses showing just how unstoppable they can be.

Problems with the pass have been apparent, as we have seen many of the balls tipped or stolen just on basic entry passes to KD at times, and those passes from Chris Paul and Devin Booker, so we know it’s a learning tendency process of where each other like to attack a defense as a unit.

Part of that learning from point guard Chris Paul is how to become an off-the-ball playmaker, shooting open three-pointers is not what Paul is used to doing on a court and that has been an adjustment.

The one thing that is scary, is this team has found ways to win games ugly, but when they figure it out, it will probably be the deadliest offense in basketball history.

The only enemy is time itself, how much time does this team have left to learn this thing together? That is yet to be seen, not only do the starting five have to learn to play with each other, but at some point, all of them will need to learn to play with the reserves who haven’t had much time on the court these playoffs.

That is the only concern for the Suns going forward, is there enough time to figure this all out? As the opponent gets tougher the harder it will become to get that chemistry needed to be successful in a Championship run.

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