The Suns have an interesting blend of depth and versatility that will allow them to throw out some thrilling lineups that should make them a “NBA League Pass” darling for many NBA fans. With the season right around the corner, let’s breakdown some of the intriguing and unique lineups that Monty Williams will be able to deploy this year.
Projected starting lineup:
Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Jae Crowder — Deandre Ayton
For the sake of this exercise I’ll leave this group out of it, though this projects to be a very fun starting unit. There is still a shot Cam Johnson can earn his starting spot, but at the moment I tend to favor Crowder as the secondary veteran leader for the starting unit alongside Chris Paul.
Lineup 1: The Bubble Suns + Paul
Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Cam Johnson — Deandre Ayton
This one is glaringly obvious and simple. The Suns will get a chance to “run it back” with their most successful lineup from the bubble, except they will get to replace Ricky Rubio with Chris Paul to further enhance the offensive upside of that group. This should truly be an amazing unit from top to bottom and grade out as one of the best offensive units in the league. Let’s hope we get to see this group play together for a very large sample size.
Lineup 2: Size + Shooting + Point Book
Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Cam Johnson — Jalen Smith — Dario Saric
Surrounding Devin Booker with 4 shooters in a “5-out” offense will be a lot of fun. Point Book is probably going to be a thing more than you’d think if you look at the lack of a clear backup PG and with how many combo guards and versatile wings they will deploy. The size, length and versatility this group could offer has my undivided attention.
Lineup 3: The Scrappy Mob
Jevon Carter — Langston Galloway — Mikal Bridges — Jae Crowder — Deandre Ayton
This is a unit that has Deandre Ayton as the defensive anchor down low surrounded by a ton of scrappy, hard-nosed players that will fight for every loose ball, pick up full-court, apply pressure and wreak havoc defensively. Moore and Galloway each add a bit of zest and a “won’t back down” attitude, so they are interchangeable alongside Carter in the backcourt.
Lineup 4: The fun bubble bench + the rook
Cam Payne — Jevon Carter — Cam Johnson — Jalen Smith — Dario Saric
This one was tough, with E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway very likely to receive minutes it’s difficult to cement them into one lineup or the other when talking about the bench unit.
That being said, the energy and intensity the backcourt of Payne and Carter played with in the Bubble was impossible to pass up on for now. While Cam Johnson wasn’t technically off the bench in the bubble, he did run quite a bit with this group and he and Dario had excellent chemistry. I look forward to them (Saric and Johnson) “running” the 2nd unit next season.
Lineup 5: Surrounding Paul & Booker with size + shooting
Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Cam Johnson — Jalen Smith — Dario Saric
Surround the best backcourt in the NBA with 3 shooters with plus size and watch the opponent scramble defensively. You’re either going to end up with an efficient shot from one of Paul or Booker, or give up a clean look from three to one of Johnson, Smith or Saric. Pick your poison.
There are plenty of minor adjustments you could make here or there to put together some other interesting lineups, but these are the main five that stand out the most if I had to narrow it down.
The toughest omission was the “all size lineup” that features a blend of guards and a wing alongside Jalen Smith and Deandre Ayton down low. That duo will likely not see a ton of time together next season, but for certain matchups it could make sense in spurts.
What lineup are you looking forward to watching the most, Suns fans?