The Suns have been historically unfortunate to play the in the Western Conference, repeatedly posting good records and still missing the playoffs.
That frustration has been particularly felt the last two years.
Phoenix won 48 games – 10 more than the Hawks, who made the Eastern Conference playoffs – and missed the 2014 postseason. Last season, the Suns were 38-33 before seemingly accepting they would miss the playoffs in the loaded West. They slumped to a 39-43 finish – which was still better than the eighth-seeded Nets in the East.
So, merely reaching the playoffs this season would seem like a victory for Phoenix.
Suns guard Bledsoe, via ABC 15 Arizona:
We’re definitely trying to make a run at a playoff spot. We’re not trying to get the last spot, either. We’re trying to get a high spot.
I appreciate Bledsoe’s big goals, but it will be hard for Phoenix to top the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets and Thunder. Besting the Grizzlies and Pelicans will be no easy task, either.
Just making the playoffs would make the Suns’ season successful in my eyes.
More immediately, Phoenix must figure out what to do with Markieff Morris, who keeps insisting he’s not long for the Suns even though they reportedly don’t plan to trade him. He’s important on the court as their starting power forward, but he could also prove disruptive if brought to training camp. It’d be hard to make the playoffs without him, but maybe even harder with him.
Phoenix must find a way to make Bledsoe’s optimism, not Morris’ unhappiness, spread throughout the rest of the team.