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3 Things We Learned From The Suns’ Season Opener

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Phoenix Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 121-100 in their season opener on Wednesday. It’s only one game, but it’s never too early to start evaluating a young team with a new head coach. It was a great start for the Suns, though it was against another young team. The Mavs were also without Dirk Nowtizki and Harrison Barnes, but wins are still hard to come by in this league and the this was only the second season-opening win for the Suns since Steve Nash left town six years ago. If you are a Suns fan, you should be happy with what you saw in game one.

Here are three major takeaways:

1. Devin Booker Is More Than Fine

Devin Booker came in to the game with some injury concerns. He is not that far removed from a surgery on his shooting hand, but showed no signs of the injury. He scored 19 in the fourth including 14 straight. The 3-ball was falling and he was clearly the best player on the court. That’s not saying much on this night, but he sure looked like an All-Star in the making. The more he plays like a super star worth his max contract, the better this Suns team will be. Booker has improved every year he has been in the league and that trend may continue this year as well. When he is on, he is one of the elite marksman even in today’s NBA, which is full of good shooters. Booker’s play was one of the many things to get excited about for the Suns’ fans.

Here are some of the highlights:

2. Deandre Ayton Is Ready

The Mavs rookie Luka Doncic has more intrigue, but Deandre Ayton was the better rookie in this game. Ayton had a 18-10-6 night and looked fluid on the court. We could even see some budding chemistry between Ayton and Booker. Ayton shot 8-11 and his athleticism and size were a factor all night. The Suns have seen many stars come and go, but a franchise center has been a rare commodity in these parts. Ayton looked every bit like one at least for a night. His first bucket of the game against Luka was a precursor of the things to come. Here’s a compilation of both their highlights on this night.

3. There May be a New Coach K in Town

Monikers like Coach K are earned and not just handed out on day one of your NBA head coaching career. However, Head Coach Igor Kokoskov showed up large on his first real day on the job. The ball was moving even without a star point guard. Suns had 35 assists and shot 54 percent from the floor. The offense looked efficient, effective, and most of all, competent. The system generated assists more than the athletes and Coach K gets the credit for that.

Coach Kokoskov also seem to integrate the new pieces and the bench effectively. Trevor Ariza, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren had great nights. Booker seemed to handle the ball a lot down the stretch in the 4th. Starting the game with Isaiah Canaan and finishing with Booker is a smart strategy for this team. Coach K may not have a stud point guard yet, but he maybe able to compensate for it with his system. If and when he gets a real point guard, watch out! This coach might know what to do with him. Now, if only Coach K figures out a way to play and maximize Mikal Bridges and Dragan Bender, the 2018-19 Phoenix Suns will be really cooking!

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About Aravind Srinivasan

Aravind loves two things- the Phoenix Suns and writing. He has been a long-time Suns fans since the Charles Barkley-Kevin Johnson era of the mid-90's. An avid sports and NBA blogger since the early days of blogging, he is now a Suns writer for TLSM. His favorite Sun is Steve Nash. Twitter: @15cent

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