Phoenix Suns Built To Finish Strong, Even Without CP3

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Take a deep breath Suns fans. 

The second half of the season starts tonight in Oklahoma City for the 48-10 Phoenix Suns. The best 58-game start in franchise history is the good news. The play of Devin Book is another. The depth? Also a plus.

The bad is Chris Paul’s “right thumb aversion fracture” that will force him to miss six-eight weeks. This is a blow for the team with a 6 1/2 game lead for best-record in the west over the Golden State Warriors.

However, this 24 game stretch is not going to break the Suns’ season. In fact Monty Williams’ team may not even miss a beat. 

Since the Suns acquired Paul after the bubble season, the team is 11-0 without him. Not a better team, but one still more than capable of winning. Prior to this injury there’s been talk in the valley about Paul and Booker being co-mvp of the league. Now, Booker could set himself up for that award (although Joel Embiid may have other plans for that).

Those 11 games without Paul were exceptional for Booker. He’s averaging 30.9 PPG, 49.4% FG, 35.8% 3PT, and 6.5 APG.

Potential Starting Lineups

The assists numbers from Booker are the key for the rest of the regular season. He can be and should be the starting point guard for most games. He can be paired with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and Deandre Ayton. That starting five is well rounded with shooting, play making, defense, and size. This may be a rotation that is seen on the court often, even if it’s not as the starting five.

If Williams’s doesn’t want Booker to start at point guard, there are other options. Cam Payne is likely the best option, but he’s still listed as day-to-day with a right wrist sprain he suffered on Jan. 27. So the backup point guard right now is the newly acquired Aaron Holiday. Holiday is off to a great start with Phoenix, but it;s unknown what he would do with 30 plus minutes of playing time. Landry Shamet is returning from his ankle injury tonight and could be used as a primary ball-handler as well. Elfrid Payton is also available too after bring the primary backup point guard for most of the season.

The Suns could also search the waiver wire to find an extra point guard if James Jones feels the need to add more spark.