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Suns GM Jones: Booker the “closer,” Baynes the enforcer

The Summer Suns played a game, but the most gold came from James Jones in a sideline interview.

NBA: Summer League-Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Suns General Manager James Jones gave an interview to ESPN’ Doris Burke and Mark Jones tonight during the Suns Summer League game.

This gives us the first insight into Jones’ thinking with all his moves and signings.

Take a read...

On what he told Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton this summer:

“I told them that we would be drastically better. I told them that this was their team and we expect them to take a huge leap going into next year but it was my responsibility to put the players around them that will allow them to blossom and grow.

“They’re phenomenal young men, phenomenal talents. But we need a guy who could help bring that out in the them, and I think Ricky at the point can help do that for us.”

On Booker, Doris asking ‘combo guard, point guard, two guard—’


“For me, Devin he scores the ball so effortlessly. And you have to put him in a position, and certainly in multiple positions all across the floor so people can’t key in, On the ball he’s a natural playmaker. Off the ball he can score and he can shift the defense. We’ll make sure that he’s everywhere, so the defense can’t key in on him because if you can keep him out in space he’s unguardable.”

On Ricky Rubio running the show:

“This year we’ll have to be a team that’s built on execution and once we’ve mastered that execution we’ll be a team that can exploit mismatches. And until then, we’ll have to execute and be sharp.”

On Baynes impact on Deandre Ayton:

“Well, for the first time in Deandre’s career he will compete nightly, both in practice and in games. And him having Aron will afford him the luxury to learn and take his lumps. I thought last year, a lot of those games he was under attack. And he didn’t have a running mate or someone behind him that would come out and say hey I know you’re struggling but I got you. So Aron is pushing him every day but Aron will afford us the luxury to allow Deandre to sit some nights and watch and learn, rather than have to be in the fire all the time.”

On what Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome bring:

“Not only are they great players, but high character guys who know winning, were coached hard by great coaches. They’ve been with some phenomenal people and been part of great academic institutions. They’re smart, they’re hard working and they love to hoop. All the talk about high character and basketball intelligence, those guys love to hoop and that’s important for us right now.”

Bottom line:

“We need to be competitive every night. And at the end of games, if we can keep the games close enough to allow Devin and Deandre to close for us, I think we’ll surprise a lot of people.”

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