For this conversation, let's assume the Suns re-sign restricted free agent Brandon Knight, and hold on to Eric Bledsoe going into 2015-16. Bledsoe and Knight will be starters, leaving the rest of the guards to compete for backup minutes. While the list of players who have been able to contribute at Booker's age 19 (his age at start of this coming season) is tiny, GM Ryan McDonough expressed confidence Booker can earn minutes for this season's Suns.
Here's the forecast for each of the players Booker might compete with for playing time:
The most senior and accomplished member of this group, Green is also the least likely to wear a Suns uniform in the future. 29 year old Green had a surprisingly fantastic 2013-14 season, followed by a crash back down to Earth last season which seemed to validate the reasons he's been unable to stick with an NBA team. Green didn't help his cause by publicly grousing about his reduced playing time.
As an unrestricted free agent coming off a poor season, Green was unlikely to return even before the selection of Booker. Now, I'll be surprised if the Suns see Green as any more than a last resort, to bring back only on a league minimum contract at the end of free agency if he'll accept his role deep on the bench. In other words, goodbye and thanks for the memories, Gerald.
Goodwin will enter his third NBA season after the Suns selected the athletically gifted guard 29th in the 2013 draft. The Suns hold a small (little over $2M) option for 2016-17 on Goodwin, and if he hasn't proven to be at least a rotation player after three years of development, it might be time to move on to the next project.
Last season, Goodwin showed scant improvement from his rookie year. His FG% dropped overall, and categorically from every distance except for an uptick in 3 point % from an awful 14% to a merely bad 29%. He also looked stronger in the upper body, and more able to withstand contact and finish in the paint, though his stats there don't demonstrate it.
This will be a bit of a make or break season for Goodwin in Phoenix. If he can't beat out fellow Kentucky product and youngster Booker for minutes, it's hard to imagine Goodwin having a future on the Suns. The projected absence of Green should allow him the opportunity to showcase his skills.
Acquired in a "What the hell? Why not?" move by the Suns last season in exchange for only end of bench big Shavlik Randolph, little should be expected of Bullock. If a player is a one-dimensional shooter, he should be great at it, but Bullock is not. He isn't a ballhandler, or much of a defender, so has to bring high end shooting.
Bullock played decently for the Clippers on paper, making 39% of his 3s before the Clips pulled the plug on the 25th choice of the 2013 draft, and dumped him in the quest for a better wing in their failed push for Western Conference supremacy.
When the team that drafts a player and has a need at his position gives up on him, it says something. Also, Bullock is 24 years old and not a proven NBA rotation player. How much upside is left? Under contract for $1.2M this coming season, expect to see Bullock riding the end of the bench.
In the future, Booker and Bogdanović might overlap and compete for minutes at the two, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it. The Suns hold the rights to Bogdan after selecting him 27th in the 2014 draft (pick acquired from Pacers in exchange for Luis Scola), and the plan was always to stash him overseas for two seasons before bringing him to the NBA.
A two-time Euroleague Rising Star winner (Bulls' Nikola Mirotić also accomplished this), Bogdan shows good size (6'6", 200 lbs) and all-around skills for a combo guard, though he's still a mystery man to us here in the U.S. who have never seen him in full game action.
Important to note is that Bogdan is currently playing for Turkish team Fenerbahçe, coached by fellow Serbian Željko Obradović, who is sort of the Gregg Popovich of European basketball. Pay less attention to Bogdan's stats, and even his highlight reels, and know he is being well coached in a winning program in preparation for his NBA career.
Under contract this coming season with Fenerbahçe, Bogdan figures to play in the NBA in 2016-17, but won't be a factor for the Suns in 2015-16.
On second thought, who am I to kill the fun? Please do enjoy this highlight reel of Bogdan. He has a sweet shooting stroke, plus a little swagger.
Called up by the Suns from D-League affiliate Bakersfield Jam late in the season, 27 year old PG McNeal has a non-guaranteed contract with the Suns for 2015-16, and might be a player the Suns want back if conditions are right. None of the players listed above have the true PG skills McNeal does, though the journeyman has only demonstrated them in minor leagues so far.
Bledsoe and Knight figure to stagger minutes so that one of them is on the floor to run point at all times, as the Suns played Bledsoe and Dragic in 2013-14, but there will still be the need for another backup PG. It's entirely possible the Suns will be in the market this summer for a proven veteran PG to fill this role, or McNeal could provide it. Booker is a pure shooter, and not a PG by any stretch, so his presence shouldn't have any impact on McNeal's future in Phoenix.