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 - Could CP3 win the league MVP award this season?
GuarGuar: He can’t win the MVP because he doesn’t have the numbers and he’s just not near of deserving as Steph/KD/Jokic. He probably will finish 4th or 5th as long as we have a great record.
Sun-Arc: I think it is unlikely for Paul to win. I believe he’d be the oldest player ever to win. The current oldest players (Malone & Jordan) to win MVP were at 35, and Chris will turn 37 in May. Plus there are some amazing players that may deserve it more such as Jokic, Giannis, Embiid, and Curry. And then there is the rarity of PGs winning MVP overall, with only 13 guards total of the last 40 years.
Paul has been amazing, yet again. Dominant when he chooses to be. Its wonderful to watch. I’d love for him to win the MVP. I just think it is unlikely.
Link to oldest MVPs.
Alex S: I have a really hard time thinking Chris can legitimately win MVP, especially since there’s going to be a three headed monster to deal with in terms of Steph/KD/Giannis.
I think him finishing in the top 5 again would be a good sign of respect, not that I worry about that.
Rod: I don’t think so but the season is still young and he’s in the conversation. Strangely, what could greatly strengthen his bid for MVP would be better/more consistent play from the rest of the team... especially hitting more of their shots off CP3 passes. Chris is not only leading the NBA in assists (10.1 per game), he’s also leading in potential assists (19.0 per game).
If the team ever gets it’s offense into high gear and begins blowing out teams rather than winning mostly on clutch plays, I think it will make an even better case for him as MVP (as well as making Suns fans very happy). Still though, the Suns will likely need to have the best record in the NBA - and by more than just a game or two - when the MVP voting starts for him to have a real chance at getting the award.
Q2 - Which Suns player other than Book and CP3 have you been the most impressed by so far this season?
GuarGuar: I’ve been impressed by McGee the most. He’s been pretty consistent all year and very high impact. He’s been a breath of fresh air after our backup big troubles the past couple years.
Sun-Arc: I gotta go with Bridges and his persistence to get better. Cam Johnson is also really solid. And Cam Payne has been up and down - but when he’s on he’s great to watch. And I will continue to live on Crowder Island. I think he’s super important to the attitude and toughness on this team.
Though I will say that, individually, really none of these guys blow me away. The team is really a TEAM, which is what is impressive. After so many painful seasons of incoherence, it is wonderful to watch a team of guys that fit so well and play hard for each other.
Alex S: JaVale! I thought he would be more of a matchup big more than anything but he’s been nothing short of a constant performer so far this year. I’ll give my honorable mentions to Mikal and Cam Johnson as the other two I wanted to show some recognition. Heck, Book deserves some love for how well-rounded his game is at this stage of his career.
Rod: Cam Johnson. His all-around game just keeps getting better and better. When we drafted him, he was considered a reach and just a 3-point shooter but he’s expanded his game well beyond that. He can score from anywhere on the court and plays hard on both ends. I really love his fearless drives to the basket and his willingness to play through contact. Keep those posters coming!
Q3 - According to Shams Charania, the Indiana Pacers are “moving toward rebuild.” Who - if anyone - should the Suns be talking to them about acquiring if they decide to move in that direction?
GuarGuar: I’d be interested in Justin Holiday or bringing back Torrey Craig. I don’t want to see Nader taking the floor for us. He just doesn’t fit this team and sticks out like a sore thumb. Would love to have Craig back.
Sun-Arc: There are some interesting players on the Pacers roster, but few that fit in.
Torrey Craig ($9m/2 years) would be great to have back. A swap for Jalen Smith would work if they’d take it.
Justin Holiday ($12.2m/2 years) could be interesting if he’s still got the 3&D juice. But for the money and talent, I’d MUCH prefer Craig. Plus there is no easy swap of non-rotational player to trade for him.
Caris LeVert ($36m/2 years) is a really good player - but not a good fit, and not at that price.
Domantas Sabonis ($60m/3 years) would be a cool prize to snag. He can play either big position. He scores, rebounds, passes, and defends. Problem is he is a sub-optimal outside shooter to play at PF alongside Ayton, and he is too good not to start. This makes him a potentially really lousy fit because I just do not see him coming off the bench. I love the way this guy plays, but may not be the right trade. Unless one were willing to trade Ayton for him, which would be… weird. Ayton + Smith would be enough salary in the trade. So is Saric + Smith + Nader, which would save the Pacers a lot of money (as would DA + Smith). I love Ayton and would have a really hard time dealing with this trade - but can also imagine CP3 and Sabonis being electric together.
Miles Turner ($36m/2 years) is just 25 years old (as is Sabonis), is hitting just under 40% of this threes with a high rate of attempts. He scores, defends, rebounds, and blocks (highest BLK% in the league). Problem is he is strictly a center, unlike Sabonis. Would he come off the bench? Eh… I don’t think he’d dig that. So this could also be a problem. Same trades suggested for Sabonis would apply.
Personally I would rather stick with Ayton over either of these big guys, because his physique and skill set fits the team better.
Bring back TJ Warren? Uh, no. Particularly with his injury history.
Alex S: Welcome back Torrey? He’s the obvious answer since he fits our biggest need of a sizable wing on the bench. We’re definitely missing his game this season so it’d be wonderful to get him back in Phoenix. The honorable mention would be Justin Holiday. He’s a sniper and you can never have enough shooting.
Rod: While there are several Indy players I’d like to see on the Suns’ roster, the only guys I think we would have a chance at getting without giving up too much are Torrey Craig or Justin Holiday. If the Pacers are going into full rebuild mode, a young guy like Stix and a second rounder might be enough to snag one of them, especially Craig. We already know he fits Monty’s system and his familiarity with it and most of the rest of the Suns team would be a big plus.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week! (SouthernSun did not participate this week.)
Interesting Suns Stuff
Deandre Ayton Was Blessed by the Basketball Gods | Phoenix Suns Breakdown | The Void | The Ringer
This could be Chris Paul’s best season yet! | Stephen A’s World
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “Should the Suns go ahead and use their open roster spot to sign someone now to fill out their injury depleted roster?”
53% - Yes.
47% - No.
A total of 211 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
Does Chris Paul have a realistic shot at MVP this season?
This poll is closed
Yes, he has as good a chance as anyone.
Only if everything goes just right the rest of the season.
Nah. He’ll never beat out the other MVP front-runners.