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Top 3 Things The Suns Need To Do To Become NBA Champions in Second Half of Season

© Mark J. Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

The second half of the season is fast approaching after the NBA All-Star weekend has reached a conclusion. Most players are enjoying their final days of rest before they report back to practices for their respective teams.

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After a big trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns, the Suns now have eyes on them around the league to see if they can win their first-ever NBA championship in franchise history.

It’s going to take a lot for this to happen, but, the Suns have formed a roster now that is ready to win now more than ever. With a newly revamped bench rotation filled with veterans and the addition of Durant to play alongside Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, the Suns will have all the tools to show the NBA world that the road to the Finals is through them.

In this article, I’m going to write my top 3 three things that the Suns need to do in order to become NBA champions entering the second half of the season with their new revamped team.

1. Consistency With Bench Rotation

I wrote an article about this last week. But, if there’s one thing that head coach Monty Williams has to get in order going into the second half of the season, it’s consistent playing time and chemistry with players coming off the bench.

Last game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, Williams alluded to an issue in which he felt he played too many guys off the bench. This didn’t help players off the bench get into a rhythm playing alongside one another especially new guys like Terrence Ross and T.J. Warren who have only been with the team for a week.

It doesn’t get any easier with Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet coming back after the all-star break. One thing is for certain though and that’s the Suns have everything they need in terms of their rotation to complement the starting lineup.

Ross serves as a good all-around scorer that can keep the game afloat when Booker comes out of the lineup. Warren does the same when  Durant has to come out for some time. Payne has already shown in his time being healthy how good of a facilitator he is capped off by his aggression as a scorer can help pay dividends when Chris Paul comes out of the lineup.

Bismack Biyombo gives the Suns rim protection on defense as a shot blocker and rebounder when Deandre Ayton has to come out. The Suns have the pieces that complement the starting lineup, it’s all about finding consistency to play with and coach Williams and his coaching staff will have a big task on their hand to make that happen.

2. Who Gets The Fifth Starting Spot Between Okogie and Craig

The second one ties in with the first point I made. I feel as though, in order for Monty Williams to make a decision in terms of how he wants the flow of the bench to go, it ultimately will not be settled until the Suns know who’s going to be starting alongside Paul, Booker, Durant, and Ayton.

Last week after the loss to the Clippers, Williams said that there may be a situation as to them going to one game where Torrey Craig starts and another game where Josh Okogie starts. He says ultimately it will depend on different matchups and teams they play until they get a feel for who gives them the best chance to succeed.

There has clearly been an argument made for Okogie based on how he’s played over the past four games since he’s been starting. He’s been averaging 21 PPG, 5 RPG, and has shot 15 of 27 from three. Just last game against the Clippers, he made a career-high 6 three-pointers while scoring 24 points and shooting 56.3% from the floor.

As for Craig, he’s been starting for the majority of the season and has shot the ball exceptionally well from behind the arc. Due to Cameron Johnson’s injury and the trade that was made, Craig has had a big sample size of how well he has been in the starting lineup. This season as a starter, he’s been averaging 8.4 PPG while shooting 40.9% from three-point range.

To a lot of people, that looks like bench stats but his ability to defend and grab offensive rebounds to give his team second chance opportunities have allowed them to be able to be good on the offensive end and it’s given them a little bit of a Jae Crowder feel for them that they have been missing.

Ultimately it won’t be an easy decision but regardless of who starts next to them four, that person will have a very good chance of getting open looks and succeeding. This leads me to my last and final point.

3. Stay Healthy

This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s like Kevin Durant said at his introductory press conference, this team has all the pieces they need to win a championship. Now it’s all about putting it together and staying healthy.

The Suns got two elite-level scorers in Booker and Durant that can take over on any given night. They got a double-double machine in Deandre Ayton that will be able to get more easy looks with Durant playing alongside him. They got one of the best facilitators in the game to complement all three.

They got a guy on the bench that can score at will in Terrence Ross and they got an all-around defender that can pick up the best player on the team in Josh Okogie. The Suns have all the right pieces everywhere in all facets of the game that can all contribute to bringing home the Bill O’Brien trophy to Phoenix. They just got to stay healthy and put it all together.

Only 22 games remain for the Suns, and a rough road lies ahead

The Suns got 22 games left plus playoffs to put forth a memorable season that can last in Suns history for a lifetime. It’s going to take everybody in that locker room to get it done and I believe they got the right pieces to do it.

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