The Phoenix Suns are legitimate title contenders, whether you are a fan of the team or a casual fan of the league, their recent success has made it clear that they are poised to be amongst the best teams in the league this year.
Despite having a season for the ages, they still came up short in the end by losing to the Bucks; and their only focus this season will be to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.
With just a couple days left until the season begins, we’ll now look at which players will be the most impactful in their efforts to reach the promised land.
*Dario Saric (knee - out for season) is not ranked
14-11 Depth Pieces
14. Chandler Hutchison
13. Elfrid Payton
12. Frank Kaminsky
11. Abdel Nader
10-6 Key Role Players
10. Landry Shamet
Shamet is one of the few new pieces added to the team, and he has a chance to prove why the Suns rewarded him with a four-year contract extension worth $43 million. A mix of his three point shooting and playmaking sets him up to be a great contributor off the bench.
9. Jalen Smith
As most Suns fans know, Smith wasn’t able to show that he deserved minutes last season. This disappointed a lot of fans because his skillset would have been perfect for the needs of this team down the stretch. Smith has done his part in proving during Summer League and Preaseason that he is ready to contribute to the team. Smith could potentially offer a floor-stretcher and rim protector which could help the team especially during the playoffs.
8. JaVale McGee
McGee is no doubt going to be the most impactful addition to the team this season. His rim protection was much needed during the playoffs last season, and being able to add a player like this is going to allow for the Suns to be way more flexible with game planning with a mixture of floor-stretching and rim runners on the team. If Ayton ever gets in foul trouble, McGee is the perfect option to take his place.
7. Cameron Payne
I’m a firm believer that Cam Payne could be in the running for sixth man of the year this season. Payne is still a young player who is continually developing different aspects of his game and in a position to learn from Chris Paul. Now that he has been extended, Payne can feel more comfortable on the court with no pressure that his future is not guaranteed. What makes Payne special is the spark that he provides off the bench. Even if he is cold shooting the ball, he still consistently makes plays by moving the ball quickly and keeping the offense in motion, not to mention tons of hustle plays on both ends of the ball.
6. Jae Crowder
Crowder is a starter on this team, and extremely important to what this team aspires to do. But we already know everything about who he is as a player. He is a gritty defender who shoots the hell out of the ball. He is the perfect fit for this team and this is no doubt in my mind that he will contribute to this team tremendously.
5-1 Game Changers
5. Cameron Johnson
What made me put Cam Johnson ahead of Crowder in this list is the unknown. We know he is a great three point shooter and a very smart player. He is good at staying in front of the ball on the defensive end as well. However, he still has the possibility to develop a game off the dribble. If he is able to improve that skill he can be one of the best bench players in the league. If he taps into his potential this season, he could be a difference maker during a playoff series this year.
4. Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges is THAT guy, and the Suns showed they believe that by signing him to a 4 year $90 million extension. His defensive abilities and being able to put him on the best wing player against each team is invaluable to this team. Bridges is the type of player that wins teams championships and I have a feeling he is going to take a big step this year. The locker room and coaches have been raving about him since training camp began, expect a big year from the fourth year wing.
3. Deandre Ayton
The drama surrounding the Suns declining to give Ayton a full five-year max extension is concerning. Hopefully, he is the type of player to step up rather than take a step back given he has to earn that max for next summer’s restricted free agency. Ayton has a chance to prove that he is a top five center in the NBA this season. If he develops a consistent package in the post, that can be a what takes this team from contenders to favorites in the West.
2. Chris Paul
Chris Paul’s impact was already proved last season, his play and experience took the Suns all the way to the finals. He is number two on this list because this team’s success will highly depend on how healthy he stays and how well he continues to play. His continued impact on his teammates’ play is perhaps the most intangible asset he brings to the table. If he is able to make life easier for his teammates again, this team is going places.
1. Devin Booker
Booker will take the step to be the clear best player of the Suns this year. He has a chance to take the step to being a superstar in this league as well. If Book turns into a superstar, this team will be a better regular season team than last year. Not only that, but his experience from last season in the playoffs and his improvement will most likely put him in a position to no longer have those off nights that he had throughout the playoff run. Consistency in the playoffs is what sets the greats apart from the rest. I think Book is primed to be just that this upcoming season.
What say you, Suns fans?
Is Booker or Paul the team’s best player?
This poll is closed
Is Mikal Bridges or Deandre Ayton the team’s 3rd best player?
This poll is closed