Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
And now, on to 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 - The trade deadline is just 3 weeks away. Would you be disappointed if the Suns stand pat and do nothing at the deadline?
GuarGuar: I would be quite disappointed if we don’t make any moves at the deadline. We were in a similar place last year knowing we needed a backup big and did nothing. It ended up being our demise in the finals.
We need a backup guard that can score and create offense for themselves. Shamet has been a massive disappointment. Payne has been very inconsistent. I’ve been beating the Eric Gordon drum for a while. Would be the perfect fit.
Sun-Arc: I will not be disappointed if they do not make a move. The roster is pretty good as constructed. I do think a Torrey Craig type player would be a very good idea to collect, but we could live without it if the right deal is not there.
At this point most teams will really want Cam J or Bridges in a trade - and I’m not willing to give up either. There appears to be some interest in Jalen Smith, who may be losing a rotation spot since Biz-B came to town. Again, I would be fine with keeping him as a fine insurance policy third/fourth string big man.
And I’m not worried about the backup PG spot.
SouthernSun: Yes, I’d be very disappointed. The Suns have a really good legitimate shot at a championship again this season. Cement it. Add a piece to improve the odds even more. Eric Gordon would be perfect. He’ll cost a 1st round pick at least, but I don’t care. Get it done.
Alex S: On a scale of 1-10, I’d be about a 2 in regards to disappointment level to be honest. I have no doubt James Jones is going to do the right thing when it comes to the objective of winning an NBA Championship this season. If he scouts the market and there’s nothing that genuinely improves our roster, I don’t expect him to make a desperate overpay to satisfy an itch.
The reality is this team is damn good and has very limited flaws.
Rod: I would not be disappointed if the Suns made zero trades at the deadline. Frankly, there are only a few players at the end of the bench that I wouldn’t mind being traded and none of them would likely bring back a significantly better player. I wouldn’t be surprised if they waived Frank or Nader (both have veto power over trades this season) to create an open roster spot to add a player that gets bought out at some point though. The buyout market is what I’m really looking forward to this season. It wouldn’t hurt at all if the Suns could find a way to add another versatile wing to the bench.
Q2 - Only two Suns players have played in every game this season, Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul. CP3 is 2nd to Bridges in total minutes played and 3rd in minutes per game (32.2). As CP3 will be 37 on May 6, are his regular season minutes a cause for worry?
GuarGuar: I wish we rested him some games. I hope we do during the stretch run of the season, especially if we have a commanding lead for 1st place. He seems to be in great shape though and wants to keep his rhythm so I don’t blame them for playing him every game so far.
Sun-Arc: Since CP3’s arrival, I have been clamoring for fewer minutes to keep him strong for the playoffs. I only get more concerned as time goes on, though he’s proven to be more and better than I originally thought. With Payne coming along lately, I would strongly advocate for CP3 to average 26-28 min per game. Payne and Shamet need to pick up some slack from here on out- and hopefully it helps the two of them build better chemistry within themselves and the team.
SouthernSun: Yes, I’d say so. I would very much like them to lower his minute load in the second half of the season. Getting Eric Gordon (or another good sixth man guard type) would make that more feasible. The Suns need a healthy CP3 for a run at a championship. Don’t want him wilting towards the end...
Alex S: Nope. I think the rotations have been amazing this year and can’t doubt what Monty is doing will end up being the best way to handle minutes this season.
The only thing I would like to see is Chris get some b2bs off down the stretch of the season, especially if our seeding situation is beginning to settle. But Chris knows his body better than any of us and clearly it’s working so far.
Rod: I’m not that worried about CP3’s minutes yet as the Suns have found ways to lighten his workload even when he’s on the court. With Book out there with him, he doesn’t have to bring the ball downcourt on every possession. They also often have him out there with Cam Payne when Book sits and then there are times when they have CP3, Payne and Book on the court together. Any of them can bring the ball downcourt and initiate the offense which saves a little bit of wear and tear on CP3 even when he’s on the court.
Q3 - If for salary cap reasons the Suns have to choose between keeping McGee and Biyombo next season, which one would you prefer to keep on the roster?
GuarGuar: I’d keep McGee as he has a longer track record of being a serviceable big man on a contending team. Biz has been fantastic defensively but I’m still going McGee if I have to choose between the two.
Sun-Arc: That is a really tough question. Really tough. They have some different strengths. Both are great in the pick and roll and blocking shots. JaVale is ridiculously tall and long and is better against the bigger centers, though not great at pick and roll defense or defending the perimeter. Biz-B is better at defending smaller/quicker players in every situation, but not as imposing in the post on either end. And McGee gets more rebounds (20.8 vs 17.6 per 100 possessions).
- Did you know that Biz and JaVale have the highest PER on the team? (Ayton is third, and Kaminsky is fourth, BTW).
- Biz-B has a higher DBPM (1.4) than McGee (.9).
- Biz-B also has a higher ORtg right now (ridiculous 135!) while their DRtg is equal (100).
- JaVale is 5 years older (34) than Biyombo (29)
I’d have to go with which ever of them provides the best value per their salary demands for next season (likely CP3’s last with us). I think there is a strong argument for either of them and I really love McGee’s heart and presence, but in the end, some continuity that comes with Biyombo’s age seems to fit the team better.
Not bad for a guy that during workouts with teams prior to being drafted, one scout was said Bismack “played a game of one on none… and lost.”
SouthernSun: Probably Biyombo since he’s younger. He’s just about as good as McGee, I think, so might as well keep the one who can stick around for longer, if you have to decide between the two, and they are mostly even in ability.
Alex S: McGee. I do love what Biyombo has brought to the team but McGee has higher upside in regards to the main objective of winning an NBA Championship. I’m a fan of Bizzy and hope he finds his way on the roster next year but if I had to choose…yeah I gotta keep my man JaVale.
Rod: That’s a tough decision which might eventually come down to how much money each wants. JaVale just turned 34 and Biyambo is still 7 months away from turning 30 so Bismack would be the better choice based on age but he might want a longer term contract whereas McGee would be more likely to settle for another 1-year deal. One other plus in Biyombo’s favor is that he is less foul prone than McGee. The good thing is that I don’t think the Suns can go wrong with either one. Having both this year is a luxury.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week!
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Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “Are the Suns going to finish the season with 60+ wins?”
83% - Yes.
17% - No.
A total of 252 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
If the Suns can only keep one of McGee or Biyombo next season, which would you keep?
This poll is closed