After a strong 7-4 start and a very impressive 8-0 bubble finish, there is a clear goal for the Phoenix Suns to make the post season next year. Loaded with talent but also one of the youngest rosters in the league, it would be a great idea to add playoff experience if the Suns are going to end the drought and advance past the regular season.
Aron Baynes, who leads all current Suns with 54 playoff games under his belt, will be an unrestricted free agent. Only six other players (Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Cheick Diallo, Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Payne and Dario Saric) have had a taste. Oubre leads that pack with 18 games played.
Bringing in a player that could help add to that experience should be a priority and the team should look to bring in a piece that would fit into the rotation. Wisdom and knowledge off the bench is good but having someone on the court that knows what to expect would do wonders.
I took a look at all the upcoming free agents, and then narrowed down the list by only qualifying those that have either played in at least 60 playoff games or at least 48 and have a ring to show for it.
Tristan Thompson was eliminated due to the awkward locker room it could create with Devin Booker. Fred Van Vleet has been talked on a bit so he won’t be included and I doubt JJ Barea and Dwight Howard would leave their current teams. I’m also going to exclude Jeff Teague due to his history in Atlanta and being brought back there.
That leaves five seasoned players that I feel would be great additions to this current roster when it comes to playoff experience.
Goran Dragic, Age 34, Guard (45 playoff games, 29 starts)
OK, I made an exception to my qualifications so that Goran would make this list. At 6-3 and 190 pounds, he can play both guard positions. He won Most Improved Player in 2014, was named an All-Star once in 2018 and still has plenty to offer on the offensive end.
Dragic was on the team the last time the Suns were in the playoffs and it would be a good story for him to also be with the club next time Phoenix makes it. Remember when he scored 23 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as he helped down the Spurs? Well, he still enjoys the spotlight and can score efficiently to help take down giants.
In this year’s playoffs, he’s made 2.7 threes on 39.1 percent shooting from deep and is averaging 21.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals. Needing a combo guard off the bench, he would be a good fit if he’d agree to come back.
Serge Ibaka, Age 30, Big (144 playoff games, 102 starts)
I’ll skip the introduction as Serge has been recently spoken of on this site. At 7-0 and 235 pounds, he provides size, length, shooting and defense. He would be a solid fit as he can either play next to Deandre Ayton or back him up.
He’s made the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons in the NBA, has been named to the All-Defensive First Team three times, led the league in blocks twice and won a ring with the Toronto Raptors.
His shot blocking has gone down but he is still good on the defensive end and his shooting has improved. He’s making 2.1 threes on 51.1 percent accuracy in the playoffs this year and is an almost guaranteed 14 points and 7 rebounds. The frontcourt would be solid with him in the mix.
Jae Crowder, Age 30, Forward (61 playoff games, 40 starts)
I don’t think Jae gets the credit he deserves. You hear talk about Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and all the youth and shooters in Miami but his shooting and defense is a huge reason why they are where they are. At 6-6 and 235 pounds, he can play either forward position very well and has a lot to give to a team.
He’s made the playoffs in 7 of his 8 seasons in the NBA and isn’t slowing down. Still very good on the defensive end, Jae has also been lights out from range in these playoffs as he’s netted 35 threes on 41.7 percent shooting.
Crowder would help these Suns immensely as he could fit right in as the starting power forward and would provide more value than just his game. He could be a mentor for the likes of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson and would help them quite a bit in their development.
Marc Gasol, Age 35, Big (94 playoff games, 94 starts)
Marc’s numbers have plummeted but he is still a plus on the court and provides decent defense and solid shooting. At 6-11 and 255 pounds, he would provide legit size if Baynes leaves in free agency. Gasol has been named an All-Star three times, won Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and won a ring with the Toronto Raptors. He would be an amazing mentor for Ayton and would have a lot to teach the young ones.
Jeff Green, Age 34, Big (72 playoff games, 17 starts)
Yes, he’s 34 years old but he’s still a spark plug off the bench and would be an upgrade over Frank Kaminsky. At 6-8 and 235 pounds, he is a bigger forward that can shoot and score. He’d help Cam Johnson in his development and being that he’s still playing this long after a heart issue almost ended his career, his fire would help the team want it that much more. You would think he’s slowing down but the fact that he made 1.9 treys on 42.6 percent shooting from downtown and averaged 11.6 points and 5 rebounds in these playoffs shows he has a bit left in the tank.
Only James Jones knows exactly what he’s looking for in the off season and free agency. However, it would be a smart move to add playoff experience and any of these guys would be a welcome addition and surely help in that regard.
Which of these guys would you prefer the Suns sign?
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