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Monty Williams

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December hasn’t been kind to the Phoenix Suns, but amidst their 5-9 record and mounting injury woes, Josh Okogie sure has been. In fact, he’s been nothing short of an X-factor handily exceeding his contract value during one of the team’s most trying stretches of the season. Landing in Phoenix on a veteran minimum deal, Okogie’s first brush with free…...

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Monty Williams and Deandre Ayton explained their heated exchange in the huddle near the end of the Phoenix Suns' loss to the Washington Wizards.

There were a number of basketball-related takeaways that could be found in the Phoenix Suns’ 113-110 loss to the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. The main focus could’ve been Phoenix’s continued slippage on the defensive end, since the Suns gave up 25 points in the final 5:35 of game time and have ranked 24th in defensive rating in the month of December. There were conversations to be had about Landry Shamet’s career-high 31 points, Chris Paul’s injury scare, or how Deandre Ayton has looked in the last two games as more of an offensive hub while Devin Booker remains sidelined. But instead, all anyone wanted to talk about was yet another heated exchange between Ayton and coach Monty Williams in the…

Chris Paul is starting to look more comfortable in his new role with the Phoenix Suns.

As the third all-time assist leader in NBA history, even Chris Paul needs to be told to shoot sometimes. Lately, the message seems to be sinking in a bit deeper. On Monday, Paul’s season-high 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting served as the catalyst behind the Phoenix Suns’ 130-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Playing without Devin Booker, who’s carried this team for most of the season, not to mention a host of other key players, the Suns needed it. “I told him, I could tell when he came out here with his pace, his tone, the shots he was taking, I kind of knew it was gonna be a big night for him,” Torrey Craig said. “And I love…

Devin Booker carried the Phoenix Suns to a 24-point comeback win over the New Orleans Pelicans, but it's not a sustainable formula for success.

Devin Booker has had some memorable and historic performances in his eight-year career, but Saturday’s masterpiece may be his finest yet. It wasn’t just Booker’s season-high 58 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. It wasn’t the 25 straight points he scored for the Phoenix Suns to bridge the third and fourth quarters, and it wasn’t the stunning nature of their 118-114 comeback win over the New Orleans Pelicans — the current 2-seed in the Western Conference who have had their number lately — after trailing by as many as 24 points. Booker has been in situations where he’s basically had to score half his team’s points. He’s scored more than 58 points in a game before, after all. But what…

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker has become a masterful manipulator of double-teams.

Much like the summer of 2019, the biggest topic surrounding Devin Booker right now is double-teams. Or at least, it should be. But unlike those mind-numbingly stupid arguments about what should and shouldn’t fly in open gyms, this new narrative is a positive one: Book has mastered the very traps that inspired all those doubly lame jokes in the first...

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The Phoenix Suns need to face three fundamental truths holding them back from title contention.

Friday night represented the kind of get-right opportunity the Phoenix Suns have typically relished over the last three years. They were coming off a loss, which, in and of itself, was usually a winning recipe for a group of “sore losers” who own the NBA’s best record coming off a loss dating since 2020-21. They were embarrassed in that loss, getting gobsmacked by 27 points at home against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference. And that humiliation was the second course after an appetizer of humble pie 48 hours prior, when the team that sent them home in the playoffs in such embarrassing fashion whipped Phoenix by double digits. But instead of following up those inexplicable efforts against…

After a second straight beatdown against the Boston Celtics, the Phoenix Suns have some soul-searching to do.

One play early in the Boston Celtics’ beatdown of the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night spoke volumes about the game as a whole. In the first quarter, Grant Williams drove the lane, forcibly bodied Deandre Ayton to free himself up, and sunk a little floater right over the top. This was long before the score got out of hand, and DA was hardly the only one to blame for what followed, but the 6-foot-6 Grant hitting the 6-foot-11 Ayton with the “too small” gesture was the perfect representation of the night. On what should’ve been an uplifting occasion, with Chris Paul returning after a sore right heel sidelined him for 14 games, the Suns got demolished in a 27-point loss at…

Josh Okogie has been a bright spot despite the Phoenix Suns' injury troubles.

Joining a completely new NBA environment after spending four years in the same place requires an adjustment. That’s especially true for Josh Okogie, who went from playing consistent minutes during his time on non-contending Minnesota Timberwolves teams to struggling for playing time on a Phoenix Suns squad with title aspirations. Now in his fifth NBA season, Okogie is averaging career-lows in points, minutes and shooting percentages across the board. On a roster this deep, it’s hard to guarantee minutes for any reserve, especially one shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 3-for-23 from deep. But Okogie’s first brush with free agency prepared him for a different role, as long as it meant being on a winning team. That adjustment process…

Damion Lee has rapidly become an indispensable piece of the Phoenix Suns bench.

By all accounts, Damion Lee wasn’t expected to be where he is right now. Lee said as much when he told Suns.com that, due to oxygen problems, he came out of the womb purple, and doctors were concerned whether he’d be all right. After going undrafted, suffering two torn ACLs — one in college, the other in the G League — might have been an unscalable obstacle for some players. Even joining a title contender like the Phoenix Suns on a veteran minimum contract, expectations were tempered. And yet, even through all of that adversity, Lee persevered, bringing him to this exact moment where he’s become an intrinsic piece of Phoenix’s second unit. “Everybody says, ‘I’m blessed, I’m thankful to…

Deandre Ayton has had an uneven start to the season, but he's pushing toward a new norm for the Phoenix Suns.

Coming off a playoff run and offseason that didn’t go according to plan, it was only fitting that Deandre Ayton’s start to the 2022-23 campaign followed suit. His widely publicized Game 7 spat with Monty Williams, rampant trade rumors, the fact that he had to sign an offer sheet with another team to force the Phoenix Suns’ hand in contract negotiations, whether he and his coach actually spoke over the summer — all of it loomed overhead (to say nothing of the Robert Sarver investigation). So despite his usual pre-season talk about wanting to take over games and dominate in all facets, the first month of Ayton’s fifth season largely underwhelmed. Through 12 games, he was averaging 14.6 points, a…

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