Now that most of the dust has settled from the madness of the NBA offseason being jam-packed into a few days, we can start to think towards the rapidly approaching NBA season.
After the Langston Galloway signing and the report of the Suns waiving Elie Okobo, the Suns roster is just about set, though there is still an open roster spot and possibly two spots should they decide to not guarantee the contract of Abdel Nader, which I deem as unlikely at the moment.
Langston Galloway and the Phoenix Suns have agreed to a deal, league sources told @hoopshype.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) November 23, 2020
They still have access to use their BAE (bi-annual exception) after locking up Galloway on a veteran’s minimum deal, similar to the deal we saw with E’Twaun Moore. Those details are still being sorted out and should be formally announced shortly. Gambo went on to mention that they could potentially use their BAE later on in the year on a player that gets bought out.
The contract for Langston Galloway is a veterans minimum so Suns still have the bi annual which will likely be saved for next year since you can't use it two years in a row. Suns roster is full now though they could decide to let go of Elie Okobo to free up a roster spot— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) November 23, 2020
Here is an updated look at what the projected depth chart looks like:
Note: There are many interchangeable parts here with the guards and wings.
The creators: Chris Paul, Devin Booker
Shooters/instant offense: E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway
The energy: Jevon Carter, Cameron Payne
Summary: Chris Paul and Devin Booker will form the best backcourt in the entire NBA in my opinion, especially with Klay Thompson out for the season. Those two are going to be the heavy lifters for the creation responsibilities of course, but the depth built behind them should prove to be valuable if/when one of them misses a game or two.
You need a spark-plug? Insert Jevon Carter or Cameron Payne. You need instant offense off the bench? Plug in Langston Galloway or E’Twaun Moore. They have a decent blend of youth, experience and upside between the four reserve guards.
The versatile defenders: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson
TBD: Abdel Nader ($1.8M non-guaranteed— decision by 11/28)
Summary: This trio is going to be key towards the success of the Suns should they make the playoffs due to the versatility and switch-ability from this group. Mikal Bridges’ offensive development will be fascinating to watch, and Chris Paul should only help further elevate his play by creating easier looks for him. The same goes for sniper Cam Johnson who will be entering his second season in the NBA. Both Bridges and Johnson are a threat from deep, but their ability to cut and move off the ball should help build a once again potent offense.
Jae Crowder is going to be a helpful veteran that disrupts the flow of the game for opponents through his physical and scrappy brand of play. Every good team has a player like Crowder that isn’t afraid to mix it up. The defense from this trio should be top notch and give the Suns a defensive look they haven’t had in quite some time, especially if Ayton continues to progress on that end as the anchor.
Considering Abdel Nader’s contract is just $1.8 million, it would be wise to bring him back and back of the roster wing depth on the cheap. He is a serviceable wing that could take on occasional minutes if injuries or foul trouble occurs.
The anchor: Deandre Ayton
The Versatile bigs: Dario Saric, Jalen Smith
Back-end bench depth: Damian Jones
Summary: Deandre Ayton’s growth this season could determine whether or not the Suns are fighting for a 7-10 seed to make the play-in tournament, or locking up a top 6 seed sitting comfortably in the playoff mix. Chris Paul’s addition along with some of the other veterans in place such as Jae Crowder should help expedite his growth and maturity both on and off the court. I’m very much looking forward to what should be another leap from Ayton, which could launch him into the All-Star discussion.
Dario Saric’s versatility off the bench and ability to play both the 4 and 5 should allow him to make an enormous impact, and if the Suns are good enough launch him into the 6th Man of the Year conversation. Jalen Smith will have to earn minutes with how many of their wings figure to play power forward in long stretches, and it could be for the best to ease him into things at least right away.
This is the deepest team the Suns have deployed in a very long time. Kudos to James Jones for constructing the roster the way he did, because on paper this is a playoff team. Even in the vaunted gauntlet that the Western Conference is. Health permitted, we could see Phoenix Suns playoff basketball for the first time since 2010.