Who will follow the Phoenix Suns as the NBA’s next breakout team?

Aging legend Chris Paul and his young Phoenix Suns charges were the story of the 2020-21 NBA season, until Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo stole every headline, punctuating the Milwaukee Bucks’ first championship in 50 years with arguably the greatest close-out performance in league history.

Only, Antetokounmpo’s ascent is far harder to replicate than how the Suns constructed their contender.

Even if the 2019-20 campaign ultimately ended in another lottery appearance, first-year Phoenix coach Monty Williams untapped the winning potential of Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, the young foundation of a 19-win roster one year earlier. Suns general manager James Jones upgraded the veterans around them, from Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. to Paul and Jae Crowder, and collectively they transformed the Suns from scrappy underdog to Western Conference No. 2 seed and bona fide contender.

Can the Suns remain in the championship hunt? Or will another team’s turnaround steal their thunder?

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