'Long time coming': Countdown to Phoenix Suns playoff return
"It's been a long time coming." – Devin Booker
The Phoenix Suns have waited long enough.
So have their fans.
It's been a little more than a decade since the Suns were part of the NBA playoffs. That's when they made a run to the 2010 Western Conference finals before falling to the late, great Kobe Bryant and eventual back-to-back NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Eleven years later, the Suns are heading back to the postseason.
They're ready. So are their fans.
And so are we.
The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com are riding along with you on this return to the postseason.
Let the countdown begin to the NBA playoffs, which get underway on May 22. Here is what you can look forward to this month in our coverage as we follow the Phoenix Suns into the post-season:
More stories. More videos.
More analysis. More opinions.
Revisit teams and playoffs past.
Dissect playoff hopes.
Scout potential first-round opponents.
Can Phoenix return to the finals for the first time since Sir Charles in 1993?
If so, how. If not, why not?
We'll take a closer look at Booker. The franchise's highest-paid player ever endured five losing seasons. Now a two-time All-Star, the more seasoned Booker is primed and ready to erupt on the playoff stage for the first time.
And Chris Paul. The Suns swung a major trade to acquire the 35-year-old in his 16th NBA season. In return, "Point God" has blessed them with leadership, precision, focus, clutch shot/playing making – and become an NBA MVP candidate.
Talk Deandre Ayton. The top overall pick in 2018 isn't Luke Doncic. He's not putting up huge numbers, but the talented big man is impacting games in ways his teammates so value and appreciate.
And that's just the beginning.
Talk Monty Williams. Getting a second chance to lead a program, Williams established a culture that's now the foundation for Phoenix having the second-best record in the NBA two years removed from winning just 19 games the year before he arrived.
Talk Mikal Jail Bridges. Cam Hair Raising Johnson. Bossman Jae Crowder.
Comeback Cameron Payne. Super Dario Saric.
Bulldog Jevon Carter. Frank The Tank Kaminsky III.
Pros' Pros Langston Galloway and E'Twaun Moore.
Rookies Jalen Smith and Ty-Shon Alexander.
How 15 players bond as one to have the city lit for the Suns again?
Revisit the signature wins and head-scratching losses.
Track how they're trending going into the playoffs.
Will Williams finally rest players, particularly the stubborn Paul who will turn 36 next week, but wants to play all the time like he's 10 years younger?
Will this season be a disappointment if it ends in the first round?
Will we witness one of the most unprecedented seasons in NBA history end with the Suns rising to the top among the super giants in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Denver.
Whatever happens, we'll be there the whole way.
Let the countdown begin.
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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