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Bleacher Report Labels Suns as Pretenders

Among the many contenders in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns were listed as pretenders for the upcoming season.

The time for talk is nearly over, but conversations around who the best teams are in the league will still engage even after the return of basketball.

When it comes to the Phoenix Suns, you'll hear varying opinions. Some believe the championship window for Chris Paul and company has already passed, while others still believe the Suns can piece together another run to the NBA Finals.

Most of that same roster still exists in the Valley, but is it too little, too late?

Bleacher Report believes so, listing the Suns as "pretenders" in their list discussing which top teams in the league are for real heading into this season:

Bleacher Report Labels Suns as Pretenders

Contender Argument

"No team won more than the Suns' 64 games last season, and this is a core that remains largely unchanged.

"Devin Booker could make his case as a top-10 player this year, especially if Phoenix does a better job of managing Chris Paul's workload. The 37-year-old point guard played his highest minute total (32.9 per game) since the 2014-15 season.

"Dario Šarić's return from a torn ACL will be a nice boost to the frontcourt, and players like Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson should only keep getting better."

Pretender Argument

"Can the Suns really repeat a plus-33.4 clutch time net rating again, one that more than doubled any other NBA team? Will Ayton be happy in Phoenix after originally signing an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers? Can this team shake off one of the biggest Game 7 collapses in NBA playoff history? How long can Paul truly keep up his All-Star form? Will the summer Kevin Durant rumors have any effect on this locker room?

"There's no questioning the talent this team possesses, as the Suns were the only franchise to rank in the top five in both offense and defense last season. Still, there's a lot of questions that need to be answered and some legendary clutch play that may never be duplicated again."

Conclusion: Pretender

"The Suns are still going to be very good, but the Ayton situation feels far from settled and Paul is destined for some decline. A title window that was open the past two years could be closing if this roster doesn't make a trade."

The Suns were listed as pretenders alongside Memphis, Miami, and Brooklyn. 

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Denver, Golden State, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee and Boston were named contenders. 

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