Can the Phoenix Suns Make It to the Playoffs?

Bill AnterlineContributor IMarch 22, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 15:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game on March 15, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Now, this is not an article saying what will happen if the Phoenix Suns make the playoffs.  Everyone knows that eight seed plays first seed in the playoffs—I'll leave it at that.

This is an article asking whether the Suns CAN make it to the eight place in the Western Conference.  I know I will not cover every aspect, but I'll try and cover what I can think of.

Point One: Remaining Matchups

Phoenix has two less home games out of the remaining thirteen games.  This late in the season, that is not a good sign for the Suns.  Currently the Mavericks have a better record at home than the Suns do.  The Mavs' record at home is 25-8 while the Suns' record is 22-13.

On the up-side, the Suns play six sub-.500 teams out of their remaining thirteen, while the Mavs only play four teams with sub-.500 records. 

To add to this advantage, the Suns have done extremely well against sub-.500 teams ever since the hiring of Alvin Gentry as head coach.  I'll also mention that Phoenix has kept many of their recent losses against ranked teams within five points.  An extra five points is possible.

Point Two: Team Health

First off, there have been several changes to the Suns' roster this year and some may think that this will hurt chemistry between players.  I will not disagree, but for such a big transition year, the team could be doing a lot worse.

Next is the issue of Phoenix not having its starting power forward, Amar'e Stoudemire and biggest bench asset, Leandro Barbosa.  With Stoudemire, all we can do is keep him in our prayers and hope that the team can continue to make up for his absence. 

But with Barbosa, there is a possibility that he will be back by Wednesday to play against the Utah Jazz.  And when the "Brazilian Blur" is hot, he's hot.  Lately he's had upwards of twenty points in four of his last six games, beating his season average by more than five points.

There is also the possibility that Barbosa doesn't make it back until the Suns play the Memphis Grizzlies on April 10.  This will certainly cause a problem for the Suns and would likely cost the Suns the playoff spot. 

Also not looking good for Phoenix is the fact that Dallas is looking strong.  All their guns are going to be firing every game.  Injury doesn't seem to be plaguing them this year.

Overall, it is a toss up whether the Suns can make it into the playoffs this year.  it all comes down to whether they deserve it or not.  I am a die hard Suns fan, but in all honesty: if a team cant beat the higher ranked teams, then they don't deserve to move up in the ranks.  It is a simple truth.  We will just have to wait and see if the Suns prove they deserve to make it to the playoffs.

And just to put a smile on some Suns fans faces: We have seen some great underdog stories take place in the NBA playoffs.  One a separate note, the Lakers aren't invincible.  The Suns beat them this year without the help of Amar'e Stoudemire or Steve Nash.

Personally, I would love to see a repeat of the 2007 playoffs, when the Suns beat out the Lakers.  I know it's probably just a dream, but hey, anything could happen.