Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says healthy Suns team could be Nuggets’ biggest threat in West

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns haven’t entirely lived up to expectations this season, but Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still sees Phoenix as a potential problem in the Western Conference if the team is healthy.

Caldwell-Pope was asked to name Denver’s biggest threat in the West. He showed love to three teams in response — the Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder — but Phoenix was the first team out of his mouth.

“I would say a healthy Phoenix, a healthy Minnesota,” he said. “… And there’s a lot of young teams. OKC is on the rise, too, man.”

The Nuggets are looking to defend their 2023 NBA title this season, and so far, they’ve looked the part. The squad is 45-20, good for the No. 2 spot in the West.

In the standings, Denver is sandwiched between two of the teams that Caldwell-Pope named. The Thunder own the No. 1 spot in the West with a 45-19 record, and the Timberwolves own the No. 3 spot with a 44-21 record.

The Suns are further down with a record of 38-27. They’re the No. 6 seed at this point in time.

But due to injuries, Phoenix has only been able to see its Big 3 — Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal — on the court together for a portion of the campaign. The hope is that the trio will be available throughout the playoffs.

Durant, Booker and Beal are averaging a combined 74.6 points per game this season, and although that figure may be an imperfect estimate of what to expect from them when they’re all on the floor at the same time, it’s still a striking statistic. The potential of the Big 3 is likely a major reason why folks like Caldwell-Pope aren’t willing to overlook the Suns.

Last season, Denver and Phoenix met in the playoffs in the second round. The Nuggets, of course, won the series before ultimately completing their run to the NBA title.

The two teams could meet again in the playoffs this season, and that matchup would certainly attract a lot of attention. The regular season is nearing the finish line, so time will tell if a rematch is in the cards.

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