The Phoenix Suns have an extremely tough schedule to begin their season, as four of their five opponents made the playoffs last year.
The Phoenix Suns need to start the new season off strong, and they aim to do just that as they tip off the 2016-17 season with Wednesday’s home opener against the Sacramento Kings.
Although the Suns finished at 23-59 last season, they could find themselves sitting at 1-0 after Wednesday. The Kings were not much better (33-49), and they’ve always struggled against the Suns. In the 218 regular season match-ups the two teams have ever played, the Suns hold a dominating 130-88 advantage.
Wednesday’s opener is crucial due to the fact that the Suns schedule does not get any easier after that. Their next four contests are against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Portland Trail Blazers. All four teams made it into the playoffs last season, with the Warriors going as far as the NBA Finals.
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If the Suns struggle with the Kings, who have missed the playoffs in ten straight seasons, they will surely have a hard time competing against the next four opponents. Getting off on the right foot is very important for head coach Earl Watson’s squad. Failing to do so almost guarantees an 0-5 start to the season.
However, on their way to the second worst season in franchise history last year, the Suns started at 6-4. Four of those victories came against the Kings, Clippers, and twice against the Trail Blazers. The schedule is relatively similar, and hopefully the results follow.
The Suns, unfortunately, are stuck in a competitive Western Conference which means they will have to play these teams frequently over the course of the 82-game season. Starting off on the right foot with a win against the Kings can hopefully build momentum going into the next four match-ups.
If not, the Suns will pick up right where they left off; trying to keep their heads above water in the conference that boasts some of basketball’s best teams.