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 - Do you believe the Suns should make a trade soon or wait until closer to the trade deadline (Feb. 10)?
GuarGuar: I think we should probably wait for the deadline as guys we may want will have less value because their team is more desperate to get rid of them. I’m interested in Eric Gordon. He would be a really good bench piece and scorer for us. I have not been a fan of Shamet so far this season.
Sun-Arc: I think it is a good idea to make a decision based entirely on the postseason and not in the now. And to that end, I have to imagine the team is trying to make a trade now and until the deadline, unless they get what they want between now and then. We are in this season to be contenders for the championship, and nothing less. All decisions go through that line of thinking.
SouthernSun: Make it whenever they get a deal they feel will improve them. Don’t jump at the first opportunity, but don’t wait too long either. I prefer they get someone as quick as possible, if they’re going to, to give him as much time with the team as he can get, for better chemistry.
Alex S: I think waiting until the deadline makes sense for Phoenix. We’ve got a good thing going and plenty of talent to continue to win basketball games in the short-term, as well as an addition of Book coming up here shortly. I’d rather wait because trading now would insinuate that we’d potentially be overpaying for immediate help when in reality we’re still a great basketball team… even in our current state.
Rod: I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it here... James Jones will not rush into a trade. Not unless it’s a very good trade offer. I believe that he’s most likely answering calls about potential trades rather than making them at the moment. This is also no time to make big changes to the Suns’ roster so I kind of expect Jones to also be looking to become a third team in a bigger trade and try to increase the quality of the bench. The closer we get to the trade deadline, the more likely it is that some other teams will make desperation trades to try and salvage their season or just decide to blow it up and tank for a better draft position. The Suns could possibly profit as a third team in either of those scenarios.
Q2 - Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss or Josh Jackson. If the Suns could bring back one of these three (fully healthy) for a deep bench - “break glass in case of emergency” - player right now, which would it be?
GuarGuar: I was #TeamChriss during those days where we all would battle on who was better. What a horrifying time that was. I’m sticking with Chriss. We could use a big man more than a center and he’s got some raw ability.
Sun-Arc: Marquese Chriss over the other two, but I really wouldn’t want him. He was signed and then waived by the Blazers in the preseason. They were confident in what they had over his play, I guess. These are the reasons I have him above the other two:
- Position of need at PF
- Showed quite a bit of improvement when playing for GSW, which is more than we can say for Josh or Dragan
- The other two are simply not playable
Bender is playing only 19 mpg for Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleagueat age 24. He’s averaging 6.6 pts, 3.8 trb, .7 ast, .4 stl, .5 blk and hitting.345% of his 4.7 attempts per game. He’s 7th on the team in minutes per game. I think it is safe to say he’s not a world-beater.
Jackson is playing only 18 mpg for one of the worst teams in the NBA. Lately his mpg have dropped and even 3 DNP-CDs since mid November. He’s averaging 6.7 pgs, 3.1 trb, 1.6 ast, .4 stl, .4 blk and shot .290 from three on 2.7 attempts per game. He’s not a good player, does not improve team performance in 8 out of 10 games, and may still have character/mental issues. He’s like an aggressive and athletic smaller Bender. No thanks.
SouthernSun: Probably Chriss because the Suns have a lot of bigs out right now. Jackson is a close second because he might he terrible, but at least he’s still in the league.
Alex S: I think you have to pick Marquese for three main reasons:
- He’s had the only resemblance of “true” success in the NBA (his stint with Golden State)
- Our bigs continuing to get injured/sick so having depth is always great
- He’s never had a real attitude problem so the influence on chemistry wouldn’t be that noticeable.
Also the thought of CP throwing lobs to Chriss (Chris to Chriss) would be a fun concept!
Rod: While none of these guys would be anywhere near even the middle of my list to bring back, I’d say Chriss would be my 1st choice, Bender my 2nd and Jackson a distant 3rd. Chriss at least was big enough to do spot duty at center as well as play PF and athletic enough to provide some rim protection and snag some rebounds. Bender... is it weird that in hindsight that I now see him as a kind of Kaminsky-lite (very lite) player? I’d much rather have Frank back healthy though. Jackson... nah, not under any circumstances. The guy has some skills but mostly seemed to be unable to play within his limits or as a team player.
Q3 - JaVale McGee has played very well for the Suns but turns 34 in January. Do you want him back next season and what’s the top $ amount you’d be willing to offer?
GuarGuar: I’d love to bring JaVale back. He’s been superb for us and exactly what we were missing. I’d bring him back on a 1 year deal for as much as 12 million.
Sun-Arc: We’ll see how he finishes the season, but for now I would absolutely want him back. The amount would depend on how he finishes, but he certainly feels like he’s earning that $5m salary. If he doesn’t get worn out or deals with nagging injuries, that’s probably my limit for him at his age - but might be willing to go a bit higher to keep him if he plays out in the playoffs.
SouthernSun: I do want him back and I think he could be talked into staying for not much at all. Especially if they make a deep playoff run. He’ll probably end up re-signing for a veteran minimum. I’d probably be okay with giving him another 5 million though, if it was necessary.
Alex S: I 100% want him back and would be 100% comfortable giving him the money he’s made this year again. He’s earned the right to be trusted and is a great on-court/off-court presence. I’d be highly disappointed if we don’t extend him.
Rod: If he holds up physically throughout the season and continues playing well, I could see possibly increasing the $5 mil salary he’s currently getting by a mil or two IF there’s room enough in the cap to do so. At his age though, I would be uncomfortable offering him any kind of a pay increase on anything other than another 1-year contract even if the Suns ultimately win it all this year. But that’s a best-case scenario. Ideally, a smaller contract next year would be preferable but might be a bit difficult to sell if he continues to play as well as he has so far this season.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week!
Interesting Suns Stuff
NOBODY Realizes What The Phoenix Suns Are Doing
Honoring Cotton Fitzsimmons
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “Does Chris Paul have a realistic shot at MVP this season?”
10% - Yes, he has as good a chance as anyone.
29% - Only if everything goes just right the rest of the season.
61% - Nah. He’ll never beat out the other MVP front-runners.
A total of 498 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
All I want for Christmas this year is...
This poll is closed
Peace on earth.
A BIG Suns win over Golden State.