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Suns 2020-21 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 4, 2020

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker dribbles the ball down court against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

It was a tale of two seasons for the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns

The team struggled to earn a 26-39 record prior to the league's suspension because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it shined during the seeding game portion of the schedule at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, with an 8-0 record. 

The Suns roll into next season with plenty of momentum and many pieces from last year's team returning, including the dynamic duo of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, plus they acquired 10-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul to tie it all together.

Will they sustain their late-season success and parlay it into a playoff appearance, or will the early season Suns re-emerge and struggle to find their footing in the Western Conference?

After the release of the first half of the 2020-21 NBA schedule, we know when and where the Suns will be playing as they look for their first playoff appearance since 2010.

          

2020-21 Suns Schedule Details

Season Opener: Wednesday, Dec. 23 vs. Dallas Mavericks

Championship Odds: 55-1 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

First-Half Schedule: NBA.com

       

Top Matchups

Los Angeles Lakers (First Game: Tuesday, March 2)

Games against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the champion Los Angeles Lakers will be must-see television for every team, but it's particularly important for the Suns, who are looking to take a big leap with a winning regular season and playoff appearance.

Their games against the Lakers will be good litmus tests to see where the team stands. L.A. crushed Phoenix last year, winning its three games by an average of 14.3 points per game.

The Suns have gone 2-9 against L.A. over the past three seasons, so they'd obviously love to take down the Lakers.

           

Memphis Grizzlies (First Game: Monday, Jan. 18)

The Suns could well find themselves fighting the Memphis Grizzlies for one of the final few playoff spots. That was the case this year as the Grizzlies barely edged Phoenix for the last Western Conference play-in spot despite the Suns' 8-0 finish.

Memphis lost the play-in contest to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Grizz should be back competing for a playoff spot in 2020-21 thanks to Rookie of the Year Ja Morant and his sidekick, Jaren Jackson Jr., who have the chance to form a dynamic duo and turn Memphis into perennial playoff participants through the 2020s.

The Suns, who are led by Booker and Ayton, should be right there with them, making Phoenix vs. Memphis an interesting matchup every time they take the floor.

                      

Season Forecast

The Suns' late-season surge was not a fluke. Seven of the eight teams they played made the playoffs, including the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Western Conference's No. 2 seed.

Phoenix outscored its opponents by 11.9 points per game during stretch, with Devin Booker scoring 30.5 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting to go along with 6.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

Keep in mind that the Suns battled significant injuries all season and still finished just short of the playoffs. Kelly Oubre Jr., who was second on the team with 18.7 points per game, missed 17 contests.

Ayton, who posted 18.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, sat nearly half the season with ailments in addition to a 25-game suspension for "violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for a diuretic," per NBA.com.

Ayton should be healthy and good to go for the 2020-21 season, and while Oubre is no longer in the fold, he was dealt for a player in Paul who could add a completely different dimension to the team.

With Paul adding veteran leadership and the ability to excel on both ends at the point guard position, the Suns are better positioned now than they have been in quite so time to compete for a playoff spot.

    

Record Prediction: 45-27, Western Conference No. 6 seed

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