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Here are the Suns’ top replacement options for Kelly Oubre Jr. in Orlando

The Suns can replace Kelly Oubre Jr. with their open roster spot for the eight-game run in Orlando. Who should they add?

NBA: Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

As you know, Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has decided to continue his rehab for the torn meniscus in his knee, and will not play for the Suns in Orlando.

That leaves the Suns with 13 available players under NBA contract, plus one two-way player in Tariq Owens who should only play if the Suns are mired in foul trouble or done trying to win games (sorry Tariq, but it’s true).

Curren Suns depth chart

PG: Ricky RubioJevon CarterElie OkoboTy JeromeJalen Lecque

SG: Devin Booker

SF: Mikal BridgesCameron Johnson

PF: Dario SaricFrank KaminskyTariq Owens (TW)

C: Deandre AytonAron BaynesCheick Diallo

The Suns released the injured Tyler Johnson (nagging knee pain) in February, and have since lost Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee). Lecque and Owens have barely suited up this year, let alone played any real minutes.

While the point guard spot looks deep, it’s not. Only Rubio has shown the ability to orchestrate the offense the way Monty Williams wants it run. His primary backup would be Devin Booker as the ball handler, but Carter/Okobo/Jerome often struggle to fill the spot-up shooter role well. Carter should get the biggest chance here, since he’s the best three-point shooter of the bunch.

Still, it would be nice if the Suns had another proven shooter coming off the bench to play next to Booker in non-Rubio minutes.

On the front line, the loss of Oubre hurts. Their most success came with Ayton as the only true big on the court, flanked by Oubre and Bridges. Now maybe that’s a lot of Cam and Bridges in Orlando.

Ayton and Baynes are not a good pairing on the court, and Frank and Ayton have barely seen the court together but that may mostly be due to their availability patterns. They’ve rarely been active and healthy in the same game this year. Frank-n-Baynes doesn’t defend all that well together since they lack any kind of foot-speed, but at least they can both hit the long ball.

The open roster spot

There are some free agents out there. The same ones that were available in March, yes, but now might be more enticing to sign because either they might be healthier than they were in March and simply because they’re another body that might be needed in case of emergency.

The Suns need shooting, and they need a reputable playmaker who can initiate offense better than Okobo/Carter/Jerome against good teams.

  • Point guards: Trey Burke, Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Walton Jr.

Not a lot to choose from here. Trey Burke would struggle to be better than Okobo/Carter, but he’s more of a veteran so maybe he could pick up the offense quickly. IT can still shoot the long ball, but has trouble getting to the rim anymore and never has been able to defend all that well either. He’d be a better spot-up shooter than anyone who could play next to Booker but an IT/Booker defensive pairing would be cringe-worthy.

  • Wings: Allen Crabbe, Jamal Crawford, Gerald Green, C.J. Miles, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Tyler Johnson

Crabbe was a terrible shooter this year, but he’s had a good career in that area and would be a good pickup for the just-in-case-he-remembers. The rest are retreads, except and unless Tyler Johnson is healthy again. If he’s healthy, he’d be a no-brainer signing.

  • Bigs: DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Tolliver

Assuming Frank is healthy (he says he is), then there’s really no need to sign any bigs for an 8-game stint. Tolliver is already reported to be committed to the Grizzlies.

Not a lot to get excited about, but most of these guys would be better than throwing Tariq Owens or Jalen Lecque into the mix in an important game.

Jamal Crawford is out there too. Remember him dropping 51 in his last game a year ago for the Suns? I can guarantee you that if ANYONE can show up and play like he hasn’t missed a beat, it’s J-Crossover.

Also, consider when/if a player(s) in the rotation gets COVID-19. Maybe the Suns should have a filled-out roster so they have enough warm bodies in place.

Which player would you try to sign?

Or would you skip signing anyone because the Suns 1-in-10,000 chance just dropped even further with Oubre out?


Who should the Suns sign with their last roster spot?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Jamal Crawford
    (288 votes)
  • 8%
    Tyler Johnson
    (67 votes)
  • 21%
    Isaiah Thomas
    (177 votes)
  • 13%
    Allen Crabbe
    (113 votes)
  • 9%
    Other (put in comments below)
    (77 votes)
  • 10%
    Nobody — just run with what they have now
    (87 votes)
809 votes total Vote Now

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