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Will offseason moves push Suns into West playoff mix?

Phoenix made small moves in hopes of jumping up a few spots

POSTED: Oct 22, 2015 7:24 PM ET

By Scott Howard-Cooper

BY Scott Howard-Cooper

NBA.com

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Suns Season Preview: Outlook

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough gives his perspective on the Suns outlook heading into the start of the season.

The expectations of a year ago, after the surprising surge into playoff contention in 2013-14, are gone. The Suns are back to an unknown after a season and summer of roster moves, decisions that at least keep them on the postseason bubble in the Western Conference bracket.

ICYMI

The Suns got a credibility boost by unexpectedly staying in the LaMarcus Aldridge Derby late. But they did not get Aldridge. ... Tyson Chandler signed as the projected new anchor for the defense inside, at a reported four years and $52 million. ... Needing an upgrade in 3-point shooting after finishing 21st last season, the Suns drafted Devin Booker, one of the top perimeter threats in college.

THREE POINTS

1. Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas are gone, but the Suns could still go double point guards with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.

2. The Markieff Morris saga has to reach a conclusion. He said he wanted to be traded. The Suns had no intention (or at least no good options) of making that happen. So training camp begins with an important player either deciding the situation is workable after all -- or maintaining a hard line until he gets out.

3. Newcomer Tyson Chandler has a chance to make a positive impact for a team that finished 18th in shooting defense and 25th in rebounding percentage. Except that the Suns have a big commitment in Alex Len at center, with Len in his third season and coming off a 2014-15 season of some very encouraging moments.

MAN ON THE SPOT

Tyson Chandler can handle the spotlight after 14 seasons, many in major markets, and some championship drives. But four years and $52 million for a 33-year-old? That's a new set of expectations.

STARTING FIVE

Brandon Knight | 13.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 4.5 apg
Only 11 appearances with the Suns after being traded from Detroit.

Eric Bledsoe | 17.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.1 apg
From a serious knee injury two seasons ago to 81 games in 2014-15.

Markieff Morris | 15.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.3 apg
It may all come down to attitude for the remaining Morris brother.

P.J. Tucker | 9.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
Suns need the dependable P.J. Tucker back.

Tyson Chandler | 10.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.1 apg
Can have a large presence off the court as well.

KEY RESERVES

Alex Len | 6.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.5 apg
Started 44 games last season.

T.J. Warren | 6.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.6 apg
Impressive finish to rookie season followed by big summer league.

Devin Booker | rookie
If he hits 3s, he plays.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Suns will open the season on the bubble for the playoffs. Don't expect the front office to sit patiently if that does not become reality.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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