Before this season started, the idea of the Phoenix Suns missing the NBA playoffs seemed like utter balderdash.
After all, they had reached the NBA Finals in 2021 and finished with the best record in the league last season, and they were returning virtually the same core that allowed them to achieve that level of success after Deandre Ayton flirted with leaving.
But after starting 15-6, the Suns have been seemingly in eclipse, as they have lost 16 of their last 22 games.
After their 126-97 blowout loss at the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, the Suns have now slipped under .500 and are in seventh place in the Western Conference, which means that if the playoffs started today, they would have to go through the play-in tournament.
Phoenix fans have to consider the possibility of not taking part in the playoffs this spring.
Booker’s groin strain will heal and he will eventually return, but the team’s problems may go deeper than injuries.
Over its last 12 games, it has ranked just 22nd in defensive rating and last in offensive rating, and it desperately needs to find some sort of solution to its woes on both ends of the floor.
Phoenix has been held under 100 points in five of its last six games, something which means instant death in the modern NBA.
Top 8 & Bottom 8 Offenses Based on ORTG (Last 2 Weeks)
1. Nuggets (125.6)
2. Thunder (121.3)
3. Bulls (120.3)
29. Bucks (105.9)
30. Suns (104.9) pic.twitter.com/xNwLftehSv
— Coast 2 Coast (@Coast2CoastNBA) January 9, 2023
If its offensive woes continue, it will be hard-pressed to win games in bunches and improve its positioning in the Western Conference.
Even if it does reach the postseason, it’s hard to imagine the squad having a real shot at the world championship it has never won.