Suns 2022-23 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 17, 2022

AP Photo/Matt York

The Phoenix Suns rolled into the NBA playoffs with a league-best 64-18 record last season despite their big three of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton missing a combined 55 games.

After making the NBA Finals the year before, it appeared the Suns were ready to conquer the West once again en route to another crack at the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

However, the Suns could not get it done in the playoffs. They struggled to dispatch the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans in six games before falling to Luka Doncic and the No. 5 seed Dallas Mavericks in the second round. That series ended in tough fashion with the Mavs beating the Suns 123-90 in Game 7.

Despite an ugly finish to the season, the Suns still set a franchise record for wins and, for much of the season, looked like the best team in the league. They return Paul, Booker and Ayton alongside reigning Coach of the Year Monty Williams.

That's in addition to important wing talents Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson returning to the squad alongside guard Cameron Payne.

The expectations remain high in Phoenix, which is still searching for its first NBA title. Here's a look at the Suns' 2022-23 schedule alongside some matchups and season predictions.

2022-23 Suns Schedule Details

Season Opener: Oct. 19 vs. Dallas Mavericks

Championship Odds: 10-1 (FanDuel)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

Top Matchups

Dallas Mavericks (First Game: Oct. 19)

Naturally, the season-opening rematch featuring the Suns and Mavs will be must-see television.

Mavs point guard Luka Doncic torched the Suns to the tune of 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in the playoffs. He also scored as many points in the first half of Game 7 (27) as the Suns did as a team.

The Suns will want revenge on Doncic and Dallas, but it won't be easy. An old friend in uber-productive center JaVale McGee is now on the Mavericks, and Dallas also traded for nightly double-double threat Christian Wood. That gives the Mavs a much-improved frontcourt, although the backcourt took a hit with Jalen Brunson leaving in free agency for the New York Knicks.

Still, the Suns-Mavs game should ultimately feature two of the NBA's best teams. Now that pairing has a little history as well, it will make for one of the most anticipated regular-season games of the year.

Golden State Warriors (First Game: Oct. 25)

Every NBA team is going to circle games against the Golden State Warriors on their calendars after the Dubs won their fourth NBA title, but it's a bit different for a Suns team that will directly compete with them for conference supremacy.

The Suns and Warriors split a quartet of regular-season games last year. The most notable game occurred on Dec. 3, 2021, when Golden State broke the Suns' 18-game winning streak with a 118-96 victory.

By all measures, it would appear that the Warriors should be as good as last year (if not better) assuming that they aren't snakebit by injuries to key players.

The trio of four-time champions (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green) is back alongside a younger group of talented players who should take the torch from them someday (Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, etc.).

The Warriors did lose some bench players, such as Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson, but the Dubs still return their top five scorers.

With Phoenix retaining much of its talent, that should make for an excellent regular-season series, which could well preview the Western Conference Finals.

Season Forecast

The Suns should be at or near the top of the Western Conference once again. They returned their top five scorers, including their All-Star backcourt of Paul and Booker. The Suns have a young, emerging star in Ayton down low and another one in Bridges on the wing. Williams is one of the game's best head coaches and a true asset on the sidelines.

The problem is that the Suns have a tremendous amount of competition in the West. It's not a top-heavy league anymore when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors would wipe the floor with their opponents before meeting in the NBA Finals. Parity is alive and well in the NBA right now, and while the Suns should be right in the thick of the race, they will need a little luck to survive the gauntlet.

In the West, the defending champion Warriors should be as good if not better. Doncic could be the unquestioned best player in basketball by the time next season is over. The New Orleans Pelicans return Zion Williamson, and the Los Angeles Clippers will welcome back Kawhi Leonard. Plus, there's the deep and talented Memphis Grizzlies alongside a team on the rise in the Minnesota Timberwolves, who added Rudy Gobert to solve some defensive woes.

All in all, it's going to be a massive fight to the finish. Look for the Suns to finish top four for the third straight year, but the guess here is that the Warriors and Mavs edge the Suns out in the regular season. However, a No. 3 seed won it all last time, so perhaps the Suns can do the same in 2023.

Record Prediction: 56-26 (No. 3 in West)

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