Photo Credit: Sporting Logic
Now that we have finished the Eastern Conference, it is time to take a look at the Western Conference. We will start at the bottom and move our way up to the top. Today we will look at the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns entered the offseason focus started with needing help at PG. The Suns had drafted and developed players at the 2-5 a lot in recent years, but have struggled to answer the point guard position. This offseason they targetted Ricky Rubio to fill that role. I believe they overpaid Rubio, but they had money and would have really struggled to add a better point guard. Rubio’s veteran leadership and defensive grit was probably a big factor in this move. Putting that attitude around the young talents of Ayton, Booker and the other young prospects. The Suns also drafted Ty Jarome, an older more experienced college player that spent a lot of time playing in one of the toughest defenses in the country at UVA. Cam Johnson was a player many thought was a reach, but it stuck with the theme of more developed and experienced players added to the roster. I thought Cam Johnson could have been a sleeper for a contender needing shooting help right now (Pacers or Bucks), but the Suns should be able to put him to use with Mikal Bridges.
G: Ricky Rubio
G: Devin Booker
F: Mikal Bridges
F: Dario Saric
C: DeAndre Ayton
Bench: Ty Jarome, Cam Johnson, Aaron Baynes, Dragan Bender and Tyler Johnson
Help Devin Booker. That has to be the primary goal for the roster this year. Ayton looked great at a rookie, and giving options to spread the floor around him like Saric or going small with Cam Johnson/Bridges at the 4 could really help this roster. Devin Booker will finally get to go back to playing SG where he is best, and Ricky Rubio should help control the offense a little more. The roster fits together well, but getting players to be bought in on defense and developing will be the key for the roster.
Prediction: 25-57 (15th in West) / Miss the Playoffs.
There are 14 teams in the west who could have a playoff argument in the East (I don’t think all 14 would make it but could make a strong case), but the Suns are the 1 with just about no chance. The Suns have young talent and need to start hitting on talent and not have more Josh Jackson or Bender/Chriss mishaps. The team on paper has 2 players with real star potential, and have surrounded them with solid guys who stayed in college at top programs to come in a little more polished (Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Ty Jarome). This year has to be about improving and culture. The west is to stacked for this team to make a true run right now.
The team right now has some great building pieces, and really doesn’t need a top draft pick, but likely will get one. Adding a guard like Cole Anthony could be a huge addition to this team. They are starting to get to the point the T-Wolves got a few years ago. They have the talent from the lottery picks, now its a cultural failure within the organization. They need to avoid that and take notes from the T-Wolves. We have seen them start that this offseason, and if they can show they are functional this team could improve quickly. Unlike the T-Wolves, Phoenix is a big city that could be able to keep stars in place. If they make a trade for a star, he likely would not ask to be moved as quickly as a player like Jimmy Butler did. Living in Minnesota is much harder than living in Phoenix. The Suns need to look more towards the Nets, and less towards the Suns. As GM I would look at trading a top pick if I got it next year for a veteran star that has proven himself in the league.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder