In both the Eastern and Western conferences the playoff seeds are being dispersed; and as anyone could guess, it’s getting competitive. The Suns have fallen to the 8 seed in the West, but with the way the number 1 seed Thunder have been playing since Westbrook returned, maybe that isn’t the worst seed to have. There’s no reason to lose optimism for Suns fans though especially when considering Bledsoe will probably be back in the line up within a week or so and Dragic will be able to rest his injured ankle while giving Bledsoe ample minutes to get back into the swing of things.
While some players (like Westbrook and Bledsoe) may be returning from injuries, many teams are catching the injury bug around the league. The Trail Blazers’ luck seems to be sour as month-old milk, losing LaMarcus Aldridge and Thomas Robinson in the same seven day span. Robin Lopez and Damian Lillard are each stepping up for the Blazers, but without the return of their big men soon they could be in danger of dropping down in the standings. Jamal Crawford and Anthony Davis each suffered injuries during ESPN’s Wednesday Night Basketball in separate games as well. That news is more worrysome to Clippers fans than Pelicans fans as it seems the Pelicans are still another year or so away from the playoffs. Considering Crawford’s been stepping up in place of the injured J.J. Redick, his injury could be detrimental to the Clippers. The Clippers have acquired Glen “Big Baby” Davis and are working on signing Danny Granger (so long as the Spurs don’t snag him first). What the Suns will need to do is continue to see production from P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Gerald Green, and Ish Smith until Dragic and Bledsoe are each playing at 100% because of the hot streak the Mavericks have put together and the Grizzlies not so distantly in the rear-view mirror.
What sucks the most for the Suns is that if they were in the Eastern conference with their record, they’d have the 3 seed and all but locked up home-court advantage for at least one round of the playoffs. While they could have a higher seed and an easier first round of the playoffs if they were in the East, they’d still ultimately have to deal with one of the two most complete teams in the league right now: the Pacers and Heat. The Heat I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to because of LeBron and being the defending champs. The Pacers, meanwhile, by dishing Danny Granger to Philly for Evan Turner (a deal which will surely pay off in large dividends come playoff time) have solitified themselves as the favorites to win the title, in my eyes. In Turner’s first game with the Pacers they had a season-high in field goal makes, attempts, and in bench points. This is a good sign for Pacers, but not really for any other teams who may potentially face them in the postseason.
At any rate, look for the Suns to heat back up with the return of their starting guards in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, their role players will need to step up to keep the Suns in contention.