NBA Season Preview 2019-20: The one reason to watch each and every team

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker with real NBA players

Heading into his fifth NBA season, 22-year-old Devin Booker will be playing for his fifth head coach, his second GM and with his 69th teammate. Offseason additions like Ricky Rubio, Dario Saric, Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky may not seem like much, but they’re miles better than the rookies, G League standouts and over-the-hill vets Booker has played with thus far in his career. It’s no exaggeration to say this is the first legitimate supporting cast he’s ever had.

To that end, it’ll be fascinating to see whether he actually can impact winning and be more than the “good stats, bad team” player he’s been incorrectly labeled as. The guy averaged 26.6 points, 6.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game on 58.4 percent true shooting for the Phoenix Suns last year (without an actual NBA point guard), but nobody wants to heap praise on the leader of a 19-win team.

There will be no excuse for Booker in 2019-20, even with a bunch of league-average supporting players and a new head coach. He and Deandre Ayton have to prove they can be the franchise pillars to lead an average team, which is a daunting task in a brutal Western Conference where nearly everyone got better or stayed the same over the summer.

Rubio will have a positive impact, Saric is an upgrade from Dragan Bender and midseason additions like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tyler Johnson will have a chance to contribute to winning basketball in their first full season in Phoenix. But the Suns need to take tangible steps toward getting this rebuild off the ground, even if a “successful season” only means 30-35 wins. Watching Booker navigate that path to true stardom, with actual support this time, should keep viewers invested.