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Center of the Sun: Fantable weighs in on David Nurse, CP3, and whether players want to come to Phoenix

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It sounds like good things are happening in Phoenix. It sounds like it.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly Phoenix Suns news roundup and round table of fans we call the FanTable!

We’ve got one more week before Rod Argent makes his triumphant return to BSOTS. Keith has Center of the Sun duties this week, please direct all hate mail his way.

Thankfully, the rumor mill is keeping Suns fans busy as we wait to see what will happen at the NBA Draft. We have coaching rumors, player rumors, and talk about how attractive playing in Phoenix is for free agents. The Fantable will tackle all three.


1. “Shooting czar” David Nurse is said to be a target for your Suns this offseason. Does a hire like that move the needle, and if so, how much?

Sun-Arc: I’m just glad we will have a shooting coach. We need it. Whether or not David Nurse’s other health tips are utilized (or valid), if he can teach the guys to shoot better we’ll be a much improved team. As stated by an article I found, while with the Nets last season, they went from being “one of the worst shooting squads at the start of the season to ranking first in the NBA in three-point shooting in February and March of 2016…” (https://hoopshype.com/2018/08/29/this-coach-wants-to-change-the-way-nba-players-train/)

The article goes on to say he worked with players like Aron Baynes, Jeremy Lin, Olynyk, Sabonis, Biyombo, and Kyle Singler during the last offseason. Baynes had never been a 3-pt shooter. In 2017-18 he shot .143 from three. After working out with Nurse he shot .344 this past season.

If he can do that with the Suns this season, it would be a great turn of events. Maybe they should also follow TJ Warren’s practicing regimen as well.

As for the other guys Nurse worked with… Sabonis went from 35% to 53%, but hardly took any 3-pt shots (17 attempts). Similarly, Kyle Singler has an incomplete record, playing only 59 minutes this past season and attempting only 5 threes (hitting two of them). Lin barely played as well, attempting only 55 threes but shot an abysmal 20%. Olynyk shot a lot, but didn’t improve his shooting at all, hitting just under league average at .355 from three. So, perhaps the jury is still out on Nurse’s ability as a shooting guru.

GuarGuar: I would certainly like it if we ended up hiring David Nurse. He’s got a great reputation around the league for a shooting coach, and we all know this team has been awful at shooting for years. We shot under 33% as a team last year from distance. League average was just under 36%. I don’t think there’s a player on our current roster who wouldn’t use his advice in some way.

Alex Sylvester: Considering how poorly the sons were beyond the arc last year, it’s good to see a potential solution towards fixing the issue! My two biggest guys I want to see improve are Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

If Ayton is able to shoot corner threes next year at a decent clip along with Bridges becoming a Premier shooter from the arch, that’ll go a long way towards improving the spacing and flow of this roster. So if a shooting coach can help this, of course it moves the needle.

SouthernSun: David Nurse would be a good addition to the staff. He’s worked with a number of players and helped them improve their shooting, which is something the Suns have been awful at for quite awhile now. I’d have to see the results first before I can proclaim it a “needle mover”, but it certainly seems like a step in the right direction and a smart hire, if it happens.

SDKyle: A little. I don’t think it’s that easy to make meaningful adjustments to basic skills in short periods of time, so any Suns who are serious about being better shooters next season had really better already be working with their personal shooting coaches. Still, having a qualified shooting coach on the staff is better than not having one and it could help at least a bit.

2. Recent history has shown Phoenix is not the most attractive destination for free agents. How soon can that change and what must be done to bring big names to the Valley?

Sun-Arc: PHX could become an attractive destination for free agents as soon as this summer. For all our hand wringing over the past few years, the hire of Monty Williams seems to have really resonated around the league. Barkley is bullish on the Suns all of a sudden, as are Durant and others. Now people are saying we have a lot of young talent instead of saying our youth is wasted here. So its possible. That doesn’t mean I’m expecting any big names to sign here this summer. It remains to be seen if the new FO can close any deals.

GuarGuar: I think James Jones and Monty Williams having big positions in this organization has already changed our attractiveness big time. Monty and James are two VERY well-regarded people around the league. Guys like AD and Durant have spoken in the past about how Monty Williams is one of their favorite people in the entire world. James Jones obviously has a strong reputation from his playing days. We definitely have the potential to be a very attractive free agent destination in the future. It’s not like Arizona is a bad place to live. We’ve heard KD talk about how Phoenix is one of his favorite cities.

What needs to change is our organization structure (which has changed except for that one guy all the way on top), and stability. We just signed Monty to a 5 year deal. That’s a start. Now how about we get Devin a consistent point guard to play next to!

Alex Sylvester: The suns need a Kings-like turnaround this season and the narrative can shift quickly. If the Suns can pair their coaching hire along with a competent point guard and power forward this summer, the league might take notice of an up-and-coming franchise. People know the talent is here, but there needs to be proof in the pudding.

Realistically the suns could be players in free agency within a couple years if they show these signs of progress.

SouthernSun: That will change as soon as they start winning games and no longer being a laughing stock dumpster fire. The permanent GM position being given to James Jones, less Sarver in public, and the hiring of Monty Williams to a long term deal have certainly bolstered the teams image a bit, but that’s just a start. Right now, the Suns don’t have top end free agents salivating to come play here. And they won’t until the Suns win some games. And to do that they’ll need to just get some solid players to help the young guys win in the meantime.

SDKyle: I’m a believer that free agents are attracted to money and success. If the Suns have money to offer and can realistically project to be a winner in the near future, free agents will sign in Phoenix. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Phoenix that big name free agents wouldn’t sign here. Sure, Sarver’s bad rep isn’t helping...but money and success make it all possible.

3. Chris Paul, anyone?

Sun-Arc: Oh, to have gotten CP3 in his prime. The last of the V-8 Point-God Passers. He could have been a king himself, but offered the crown to Harden instead. And now his watch has ended. Rest well, Chris. You did your best. Rest well.

GuarGuar: Big NO to trading for Chris Paul and taking on that horrendous contract. I really don’t want to be paying that guy 44 million a year at age 37. No thank you! I’d rather stick with Melton/Okobo starting than acquire Paul. That’s how against this deal I am. I’ll take PJ Tucker back though!

Alex Sylvester: It would probably be my 7th option for a starting point guard.

The Suns haven’t used cap space well of late so if they were able to move Johnson/Warren/Jackson while even receiving a future 1st, I could see the vision.

Paul’s contract is up when Ayton/Bridges would be due and he could bring experience and solid play at the PG position that could elevate this roster to a fridge playoff team. That’s 100% better than a 19 win lottery team last time I checked.

But the lack of cap flexibility would stink.

SouthernSun: I would have gladly signed Chris Paul to the Suns a couple years ago, but not anymore. He’s about to fall off a cliff. He already did, but he grabbed a root or something and held on and averaged 15 and 8 this past season, but those numbers are likely to deteriorate even more drastically next season, and the year after that, and the year after that, all while he’s getting paid the GDP of a small country (see: Tuvalu).

SDKyle: Nah. CP3 is a deserving hall of famer but he’s 34 and noticeably depleted. Given what he’d cost the Suns to acquire and what he’s owed in salary, it just wouldn’t be worth the investment for the Suns.


Quote of the Week:

How about one more feel-good sound bite?


News and Notes

Beyond the Bright Side

Does Deandre Ayton have a shot at winning Rookie of the Year?

James Jones is a new man with Monty in the house.

Your Suns appear to now what they’re doing when it comes to pre-draft workouts.

Devin Booker was in attendance for the Phoenix Mercury’s home-opener against the Las Vegas Aces.