Matt York/Associated Press
Here’s a look at the latest Western Conference standings and playoff picture following the Suns’ win.
Western Conference Standings
1. Utah Jazz: 45-17
2. Phoenix Suns: 44-18
3. Los Angeles Clippers: 43-21
4. Denver Nuggets: 41-21
5. Los Angeles Lakers: 36-26
6. Dallas Mavericks: 34-27
7. Portland Trail Blazers: 34-28
8. Memphis Grizzlies: 31-30
9. San Antonio Spurs: 31-30
10. Golden State Warriors: 31-31
11. New Orleans Pelicans: 27-35
12. Sacramento Kings: 25-37
13. Oklahoma City Thunder: 21-41
14. Minnesota Timberwolves: 19-44
15. Houston Rockets: 15-47
Western Conference Play-In If Season Ended Wednesday
Play-in Game 1: No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies at No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers (winner would play No. 2 Phoenix Suns)
Play-in Game 2: No. 10 Golden State Warriors at No. 9 San Antonio Spurs (loser eliminated)
Play-in Game 3: Game 2 winner at Game 1 loser (winner would play No. 1 Utah Jazz)
Western Conference: Round 1
No. 1 Utah Jazz vs. No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies, No. 9 San Antonio Spurs or No. 10 Golden State Warriors
No. 2 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers, No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies or No. 9 San Antonio Spurs
No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 Dallas Mavericks
No. 4 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Lakers
After just missing out on the playoffs despite going on an eight-game winning streak inside the NBA bubble last year, the Suns returned in 2020-21 with a motivated roster, plenty to prove and a new point guard to help them reach the next level.
The addition of Chris Paul via preseason trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder proved to be the missing piece in Phoenix. At age 35, Paul put up numbers that had him in the MVP conversation, averaging 16.1 points, 8.7 assists and 1.4 steals entering Wednesday.
That took pressure off the likes of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton and helped the club deftly navigate a stacked Western Conference.
There’s no denying how impressive a feat the Suns pulled off. In a Pacific Division featuring the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, it was Phoenix separating itself from the pack early on this season and continually showing just how much its young players have grown.
Now those players take on a new challenge with the postseason around the corner.
The Suns haven’t lost in the first round since a 4-1 series blowout to the San Antonio Spurs in 2008.
Phoenix’s Big Three of Paul, Ayton and Booker will look to prove themselves up to the task just as soon as the field is set and the Suns learn who they’ll play.
Until then, the Suns will keep wearing down the Western Conference while resting up for the bigger task ahead.