The Phoenix Suns may have lost to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday nightBut help is on the way.
Phoenix acquired 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets before the NBA trade deadline, setting the Suns up for an NBA championship run.
Deandre Ayton, who spent his entire five-year career in Phoenix, said Thursday that Durant’s addition puts the Suns in prime position for a championship.
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«Damn,» Ayton said when asked if he felt the pieces were now in place for the Suns to win a title this year, according to ESPN. «You’re absolutely right. That’s how I feel. Where we are, especially early in the season, we lost a few games and we’ve seen what it’s like.»
«I think we got punched in the face so many times when we adapted and accepted where, accepted adversity, it helped build confidence where we’ve been in situations where a team threw everything at us to stop us even though we didn’t have the right pieces on the court… knowing what these teams can throw at us, we’re ready for that, man, and it’s going to be a lot of fun because it’s a lot of pieces, geez. It’s a problem, and it’s fun because it’s about time. We’ve got real firepower, and you can feel it.»
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The Suns have been in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference for most of the season. 2022 NBA seasonfalling to 30-27 with a 116-107 loss to the Hawks.
After going 64-18 in 2021-22, injuries and age have caught up with Phoenix, who needed a «shake up» to clinch the organization’s first championship.
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«I think it’s more of a boost. I think it’s a jolt if that makes sense.» said Suns head coach Monty Williams. «Not just because of who he is as a player, but because of his love of the game. I think guys are going to see something that they may not have seen before. In terms of his approach and how much he loves to play.» play basketball.»
Durant hasn’t played since Jan. 8 after suffering a sprained MCL, but there’s optimism he’ll return after the NBA All-Star break.