With less than a week left until the first game of the preseason, it appears that most of the roster for this Phoenix Suns team is set. However, there are some reports that James Jones might not be completely done with roster construction.
Having acknowledged that, let’s take a look at the new additions to this team and how they can make an impact this season.
Perhaps the most significant addition to the squad this offseason, JaVale McGee will slide right into the backup center position. A position of need last year in the playoffs, especially with a struggling and later injured Dario Saric. Saric and Kaminsky filled the spot last year, but their roles were completely different than what McGee will specialize in. They served as connectors and floor spacers on offense, while offering virtually no rim protection. McGee will specialize in rim running, finishing lobs and setting hard screens, while being a menace on the defensive end of the court. He is a great shot blocker/alterer, standing at 7’0” feet tall. What was a Suns weakness last season, will now be a strength when looking at rim protection.
Shamet was the only addition on draft night for a team that was coming off an historic Finals run. Fans expected to pick up a young exciting player in the draft, maybe somebody who could contribute right away but with a high upside. The trade for Landry Shamet was met with some disappointment, but a player like him can contribute a lot to a winning team. He is a positive locker room presence, but his most impactful skill is his shooting. He brings the shooting of a Langston Galloway but with better defense and slightly better playmaking. He has good size and can basically serve as a microwave scorer off the bench when other guys are having off nights. He might not always be part of the regular rotation, but expect him to be ready when his number is called.
Most Suns fans are familiar with Elfrid Payton, and most probably do not have the fondest of memories of him. But when he came to the Suns a few years back, he came to be the starting Point Guard, now he is the third stringer at his position. Payton started almost all of last season with the Knicks and he will be going into his eighth season in the NBA. He is an experienced and savvy Point Guard, who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He is definitely not the best shooter or shot creator, but he is an above average playmaker, and just a smart player all around. As a third string Point Guard, he is a perfect option to come into games in case of injuries or players struggling. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities to say that he is the best third string Point Guard in the league, granted, that might not mean too much later on in the season.
Hutchison was a late addition as a two-way contract, but that does not mean he can’t contribute if called upon later on in the season. He is a young wing going into his fourth year who had the best year of his career probably as a rookie. That is more of an indictment on the situations he has found himself playing in, playing for the Bulls and Wizards. Perhaps all he needs is a fresh start on a team who has built a positive culture and knows how to win. He is an improved shooter who has potential on the defensive end. With his size and athleticism, he could definitely become an above average defender in the right situation. Don’t expect Hutchison to see the court much this season, unless any unforeseen injuries plague the team at some point.
It is entirely possible that Randle doesn’t make the regular season team this year, but assuming he does, it is important to note that he is a player coming off of the best season of his career. He averaged a career high in points and started five games, which is also the most in his career. He is an athletic combo guard, despite his lack of size. He finds ways to score, including an impressive 70.8% on shots at the rim (34-for-48) last season on the Magic. If he makes the team, he can definitely be someone who can answer the bell and provide some dynamic play from the guard positions.
At the end of the day, the contributions of these players are all from a depth perspective. Long gone are the days where the Suns were looking for at least five players who can compete at an NBA level. The Suns are contenders and all the moves they make from here on out will only solidify that status.