Zonie Nation Wins The Trade Deadline

In a massive league shakeup, this deadline saw 28 out of 30 teams make some kind of move.  We saw moves as small as MAGA Mike traded to the Celtics, and blockbuster trades causing power shifts in the league.

The Suns and Zonie Nation are easily the biggest winner of this year’s trade deadline. In his first week as Suns governor, owner Matt Ishbia’s negotiated a trade for Kevin Durant. Perhaps the greatest player ever traded mid-season in NBA history, and the first league-leading scorer traded since Wilt Chamberlin in 1965, this trade levels up the Suns in every imaginable way.

KD’s 37 points on 12-17 shooting yesterday against the Mavericks was a sign of what’s to come. He is widely considered the best scoring forward ever, makes it look effortless.  From 3-16 feet away from the basket he shoots 65%, the same rate as many big men hit layups.

Impact On the Team

KD will not only get his buckets but also get his teammates better shots.  He rises the tides that lifts all boats.  As Sam Vecenie points out, because KD is such a scoring threat, he draws defenses’ attention and opens the floor up for his teammates. This explains his long track record of improving his teammates’ effective field goal percentage.  On the Warriors, Steph Curry’s efg% went from 57.3 to 61.2 with KD sharing the floor, Klay Thompson went from 55.3% to 57.6%, Draymond Green went from 46.4% to 52.2%. 

On the Nets, Kyrie Irving’s efg% went from 55 to 58 with KD on the floor, Patty Mills, and Joe Harris also significantly improved.  A good sign for KD’s new Suns center Deandre Ayton is Nets’ center Nic Claxton went from 64-75% with KD on the floor.  Ayton will benefit from KD’s court presence and just by rolling to the rim will get high-percentage shots.    

One angle to take is the Suns’ success will largely depend on Devin Booker. He can be what Kyrie Irving couldn’t, a focused, consistent, reliable, and reasonably willing second-best player.  He’ll never have to whine about possible double teams (6) sharing the floor with his new teammate.  Now with KD, the opponents’ best defender will call KD’s number, and their team’s second-best defender will cover Booker.  It’ll be up to him, especially in a possible finals matchup with the Celtics to step up and score when KD gets tied up.  With finals experience, there’s no reason why Booker wouldn’t be able to.

No Drama Zon(i)e

If Zonie Nation is the biggest winner of the trade deadline, new Zonie Kevin Durant is the second biggest. He has everything he could want in his new city and squad.  He can now be on a championship contending team while also being the undisputed best player on the roster.  Devin Booker has the chops to be the second-best player on a title contending team without the overshadowing clout that Steph Curry held in Golden State, nor the distractions Kyrie Irving tirelessly brought.

After three seasons of Kyrie Irving’s hotep, flat earther, anti-vax drama, and whatever was wrong with James Harden, KD landed himself in the drama-free endless suburb.  KD just wants to focus on his craft? He wants the barber shop and TV punditry to be about what happens on the court as opposed to palace intrigue?  Look no further KD, Phoenix is the Mecca of boring, zonie, goober culture.  Getting sunburnt while golfing will be the spiciest experience he’ll have.

Looking Ahead

As a quick note for the Zonies who are concerned about the four unprotected picks sent to be sent to the Nets in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029.  Four draft picks stretching six seasons could potentially be the long-term, scorched earth destruction of a franchise, however considering in 2029 Deandre Ayton will only be 30 years old and Devin Booker will be 32, it is not such an audacious risk.

If playing with Booker and Durant wasn’t enough, for some reason Pheonix is towards the top of NBA players’ favorite cities.  The team could be a draw for vets looking to be role players this summer.  If they can snag some shooters and wing defenders to keep around a core of Durant, Booker, and Ayton, Zonie Nation will be happy contenders for the next few seasons. 

Congratulations to Zonie Nation and KD for winning the trade deadline and becoming legit.

For some excellent video breakdowns of how KD makes the Suns better, check out Jackson Frank’s Uproxx article, Breaking Down All The Ways Kevin Durant Makes The Suns Better


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s