'Real talk' Suns working to have West's best record so Williams, coaching staff can make All-Star trip

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Monty Williams
    American basketball coach
  • Chris Paul
    Chris Paul
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Deandre Ayton
    Deandre Ayton
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Devin Booker
    Devin Booker
    American basketball player
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) high fives head coach Monty Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns won 104-96.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) high fives head coach Monty Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns won 104-96.

INDIANAPOLIS — The odds are against Devin Booker making next month's NBA All-Star game as a starter.

The two-time All-Star remains 5th in the fan voting for starters in the Western Conference backcourt after the second return of votes released Thursday.

Chris Paul, an 11-time All-Star, went from 6th after the first run of fan votes to 7th behind Lakers guard Russell Westbrook while Deandre Ayton is still 10th in the fan voting for West frontcourt starters.

The starter voting is for two backcourt players and three frontcourt players. The fans make up 50% of the voting for the starters, the current players account for 25% while the media make up the remaining 25%.

So while the Suns probably won't have a starter for the Feb. 20 game, they're focused on having the best record in the West, which would guarantee their head coach, Monty Williams, and his coaching staff a trip to Cleveland for the All-Star weekend.

"Real talk," Paul said after Tuesday's win in Toronto. "That's our only goal is to get our coaching staff there. I think they deserve it. The way that they've built this program here and us being there right on the cusp of it. We've got to do our part to get them there."

The Suns (31-9) as of Thursday had the league's best record with Golden State (30-10) right behind them in the Western Conference.

When told what Paul said, Williams' initial reaction was "Is that right?" with a smile that not even his mask could fully hide.

"Gosh, I don't even know what to say," Williams said. "That's pretty cool."

After giving it some thought, Williams spoke on the situation from coaching perspective.

"I don't think coaches think about that as much as you would think," Williams said. "I think we think the other way. You'd love to get two, three, four guys in. Let those guys go have a good time. It's pretty cool that he would say that and the team is thinking that."

Booker is thinking along the same lines when talking about how having the best record could lead to having multiple Suns represented in the All-Star game.

Oct 27, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and center Deandre Ayton (22) against the Sacramento Kings at Footprint Center.
Oct 27, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and center Deandre Ayton (22) against the Sacramento Kings at Footprint Center.

"If we take care of what we have to do on the court, I'm sure everything else will take care of itself," Booker said last week. "I think having the best record in the league also helps to get maybe three or four guys in."

The head coaches vote for the reserves, making this the more likely path for Phoenix to have "three or four guys" in the All-Star game.

"Book has been preaching that," Ayton said. "He's been freaking filling up the media with it, showing love and we truly appreciate Book for even taking the time out and putting us out there in the world, for real. That's a big platform coming from him."

With at least a million Twitter followers, Booker has tweeted for Mikal Bridges, Paul and Ayton to be all-stars.

"Showing everybody," Ayton later said. "Got their eyes and ears open now on him putting a stamp on us like that."

In his fourth season, Ayton has yet to make the league's All-Star game, but is happy to be voted in the top 10 for West frontcourt players.

"My girlfriend woke me up and said, 'Hey babe, you know you're in the top 10 All-Star vote,'" Ayton said in recalling when the first fan voting results dropped. "I thought she was trolling me, but I saw everybody mentioning me in the post on Twitter. It's almost unbelievable because I have a lot of doubters. Sometimes when stuff like that happens or occurs, it's kind of hard to believe because the whole world has been doubting you."

Ayton continued by saying he believes in himself, but said how people view a person can shape how everyone else views someone.

"When I saw it, I thought, dang, I really could be an All-Star," Ayton said. "This is real. This part of the dream is true, but that's all the hard work and stuff. Sacrificing and just putting away all the individual and giving it all out to the team. Team success becomes individual accolades and just a little sneak peak, an example just by getting some votes. The world is seeing what I'm doing and everybody else on that list."

Dec 19, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks the ball against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Center.
Dec 19, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks the ball against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Center.

So the idea of winning for Williams and the Suns coaching staff to represent the West in next month's All-Star game is even more real for Ayton and his teammates.

"We have a big (goal) and that's to get a ring," said Ayton as the Suns were two wins away from winning an NBA title before losing four straight to Milwaukee to lose the series in six last season.

"There's nothing to hide to say that's what our goal is," Ayton continued. "I think the whole world knows that. That's what we're going to keep it as, but these rewards are what comes with winning. Of course we'd love to have our teammates and our coaching staff and everybody over there in that and feeling that experience with us."

Looking at the West fan voting, Stephen Curry (Golden State) and Ja Morant (Memphis) are 1-2 in the backcourt as Morant leapfrogged Luka Doncic (Dallas).

Nov 30, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) talk into their hands at Footprint Center.
Nov 30, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) talk into their hands at Footprint Center.
  1. Stephen Curry (GSW) – 4,463,426

  2. Ja Morant (MEM) – 1,633,313

  3. Luka Dončić (DAL) – 1,410,605

  4. Klay Thompson (GSW) – 749,038

  5. Devin Booker (PHX) – 648,317

  6. Russell Westbrook (LAL) – 576,512

  7. Chris Paul (PHX) – 561,896

  8. Donovan Mitchell (UTA) – 441,247

  9. Damian Lillard (POR) – 364,217

  10. Anthony Edwards (MIN) – 224,293

LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Nikola Jokic (Denver) and Andrew Wiggins (Golden State) are the top three vote getters for the West frontcourt starters.

Oct 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) is defended by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and center Deandre Ayton (22) in the first half at Staples Center.
Oct 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) is defended by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and center Deandre Ayton (22) in the first half at Staples Center.
  1. LeBron James (LAL) – 4,386,392

  2. Nikola Jokić (DEN) – 3,016,380

  3. Andrew Wiggins (GSW) – 1,829,733

  4. Paul George (LAC) – 1,773,447

  5. Anthony Davis (LAL) – 1,342,294

  6. Draymond Green (GSW) – 1,295,848

  7. Carmelo Anthony (LAL) – 886,014

  8. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) – 851,033

  9. Rudy Gobert (UTA) – 419,853

  10. Deandre Ayton (PHX) – 344,688

Paul got into last year’s All-Star game as a reserve while Booker made it as an injury replacement for a second time.

Booker declined to go due to injury.

The next All-Star fan voting update will be shared Thursday, Jan. 20.

The voting concludes Saturday, Jan. 22 at midnight ET.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

Support local journalism. Start your online subscription.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: NBA's best record can land more than just multiple Suns players in next month's NBA All-Star game

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting