Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
First up... the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders who give their takes on the Suns latest issues and news.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - Zach Lowe has Phoenix ranked in his Top 10 teams (10th) for “watchability” in his League Pass Rankings. We love watching them because we’re SUNS FANS but what about them do you think makes them fun for non-fans to watch?
GuarGuar: Devin Booker and Chris Paul are two of the most dynamic guards in the league and extremely fun to watch. We play a great brand of team basketball and pass the ball as well as any team in the league. We don’t do a ton of iso ball with no assists.
Sun-Arc: This team is fun to watch for a few reasons:
- Ball movement in the .5 system
- Two-way play, no lazy defenses
- Dynamic, athletic young players like Ayton & Bridges
- Dunks & splashes (threes)
- The Point God
- The Booker
SouthernSun: They just play good basketball. Lots of passing and quick decision making. Smooth and fun passes by CP3. CP3 crossovers and fade away jumpers. Otherworldly shot making by Booker. Scrambling intense defense. Everybody playing with an edge. Fun basketball in general.
Rod: This team just plays basketball the right way and does it on both ends of the court. Book and CP3 are the stars but the wealth is shared on offense with smart passes to find the open man and everyone has the green light to take the shot when it’s in the flow of the offense.
Defensively, everyone hustles and plays smart, making the opposing players earn their points.
The Suns are just an extremely well balanced team with a talented roster all the way down to the end of their bench. Pretty much anyone could have a star-like performance on any given night - or on any play - and who wouldn’t love watching a team like that?
Q2 - Who is your pick for the bench player that may turn out to deserve more minutes than he actually gets this season?
GuarGuar: I think the answer is Cam Johnson because he’s already a starter quality player and is probably better than Crowder. Yet I expect us to start Jae all season and see more wing minutes than Cam. His 3 point shooting and defense proved invaluable during our playoff run.
Sun-Arc: I am tempted to say all of our bench players could be deserving of more time. Payne, Shamet, Nader, Johnson, and JaVale could each be THAT good. The one I will pick is Shamet. I’ve been a fan of his since his college days, and I think he will shine this year.
SouthernSun: Probably one of Landry Shamet or Cameron Payne. When the Suns don’t have a huge lead, they are going to want to have Book and CP3 out there as much as possible. Which means one of the two primary Suns bench guards won’t get as many minutes as they probably deserve. But that’s alright. Good teams have players on the bench playing less minutes than they would be getting on worse teams.
If the Suns trade for Thad Young, then he and Cam Johnson would immediately find themselves in this discussion as well.
Rod: When I wrote this question I was really thinking of far end of the bench players instead of 2nd team guys but, obviously, I didn’t make that clear. Pretty much everyone on the 2nd unit could fall into this category but, going deeper into the roster, I’ll pick Elfrid Payton. Elf has his faults but I was kind of shocked that he accepted the Suns contract offer to become their 3rd string point guard. I think there may even be some debate later during the season as to whether he or Cam Payne should be the main backup for CP3 if he plays smart and somehow manages to shoot a respectable percentage from three.
Q3 - The Suns could have started training camp/preseason with as many as 20 players on it’s roster but chose to begin with just 16. With Chandler Hutchison on a two-way contract, they don’t have to make a single roster cut before the regular season begins. Why do you think James Jones didn’t add more training camp players this year?
GuarGuar: I honestly can’t think of any legit reason other than not wanting other teams to find out about our plays and such. We cut Damian Jones and he went to the Lakers last year. Maybe we are just trying to emphasize the continuity of this group so they don’t have to go over the basics for new guys and they can cover more stuff in training camp.
Sun-Arc: I think Jones did not find any players available to bring into training that had a chance at a roster position, so just stuck (mostly) with continuity. As simple as that. Why waste coaching minutes on players they know are not going to stick around in a win-now year?
SouthernSun: For continuity. He felt confident in the players currently on the roster and thought that continuing their chemistry from last season, and incorporating the players they added through trade and free agency (mainly McGee and Shamet, and Payton to a lesser extent) was more important than seeing how random dudes who probably weren’t going to make the team anyway would play. I get it. Eyes are on the prize right now. Not attempting to find some diamond in the 10 day contract talent pool probably isn’t the best thing for the future, but it’s not a huge deal, and the Suns are focused on the present right now for the first time in a decade. So it’s fine.
Rod: Two reasons. First, with most of the Suns’ 9/10-man rotation already set, Jones really didn’t need to bring in fringe players just to fight for the final few seats at the end of the bench. He already added or brought back solid players to take those spots like Kaminsky, Payton, Hutchison and Randle. Those four guys alone have a combined 20 seasons of NBA experience!
Second, guys brought in on “make-good” Exhibit-10 contracts are often players that teams mainly have an interest in to add to their G League affiliate... which the Suns no longer have. There’s just no reason for the Suns to bring in any players that are very unlikely to make the main team roster.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week! (Alex S did not participate this week.)
Interesting Suns Stuff
Preseason Analysis: Mikal Bridges taking a LEAP?
Chris Paul reminisces on the Suns’ postseason run and talks re-signing with the team | SportsCenter
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “Deandre Ayton and the Suns...”
77% - Will come to an agreement on a contract extension before the Oct. 18 deadline.
23% - Will NOT come to an agreement on a contract extension before the Oct. 18 deadline.
A total of 238 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
The Suns’ 3-1 performance in preseason is...
This poll is closed
A preview of how good they will be in the regular season.
Not relevant. Preseason wins are fool’s gold.