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Inside the Suns: Filling out the roster, early Dan Majerle Hustle Award candidates, SGA to Phoenix?

Your weekly Inside the Suns analysis straight from the BSotS community who live and breathe the team.

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.

Each week the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders - give their takes on the Suns’ latest issues and news.

Fantable Questions of the Week

Q1 - Cam Johnson is going to be out a minimum of a month. As the Suns were already shorthanded (Crowder out and an open roster spot), should the Suns look to at least add a warm body to the end of the bench or should they just try to ride it out with the players they already have?

GuarGuar: We definitely should be looking to add a short term body. We don’t want to burn out our main guys so early in the year. Our bench was already a concern to begin with and now we’re even thinner.

OldAz: Ride it out unless a trade can be found that adds a significant contributor to the rotation. I know many have moved on from KD or are hopeful for SGA (see Question #3) but these are probably on the outside of realistic possibilities. There are other options that should become available as teams reevaluate their chances but I would not waste any resources on a player that is going to be sitting on the bench come playoff time.

Cliff30: Dario, Okogie have played 102 minutes this year, Washington has 9, Ish Wainwright hasn’t logged a minute. So I don’t think we’re really in need of a warm body for the bench, we have warm bodies who aren’t logging serious minutes. If we can get somebody that is a proven contributor (like Carmelo Anthony) then bring them in. But Monty usually plays short rotations. We still aren’t really playing our deep bench. I don’t think there’s a need to clog up a roster spot with a fringe roster guy unless there are additional injuries.

Rod: Teams can’t begin signing players to 10-day contracts until January 5 so the only way to bring on a new player right now is to sign him to a standard vet minimum contract. I would be very hesitant to do that and would only do it if even more (major) injuries hit the team. If Cam J was going to mis the entire season, I might pull the trigger but not right now.

The problem is that with both Cam and Jae out, the Suns a very thin at PF and will often have to go either small or big (and a bit slow) to cover the backup PF slot. Hopefully that works out well enough for the short-term but, even if it doesn’t, there aren’t many available free agents that might even possibly be better options than the players the Suns already have on their bench.

Q2 - Who are your (very) early front-runners for the Dan Majerle Hustle Award?

GuarGuar: Mikal and Craig are my two finalists right now and I actually have Torrey in the lead at the moment. His hustle and rebounding have been excellent so far and exactly what this team has needed. He’s our best offensive rebounder by a wide margin.

OldAz: This is easy. Torrey Craig is the early leader and the reasons are obvious. His energy and effort have been outstanding this year (so far) and it is been a welcome addition to the rebounding department. After that I would go with D. Lee. Dan Majerle was also a player who stepped up when the games got tight and Lee’s 4th quarter heroics in a few games certainly could put him in contention. Further down the list, Jock is a possibility based on how well he has played and I think Cam P should get some consideration for his effort to rediscover his effectiveness and speeding up the Suns pace.

Cliff30: As long as Mikal is on the team he kind of has to be the favorite to win this award. He’s won back to back awards and 3 out of the last four. I don’t see anybody really being a serious challenger to him. Cam Payne and Torrey Craig are certainly high energy hustle guys that would be in consideration for such an award. But the only way it’s happening is if the Suns just have award fatigue with Mikal or if he misses significant time.

Rod: I’m pretty certain that Mikal will win it again this year but the Suns do have some other guys that would be stronger candidates if they had bigger roles on the team. Torrey Craig is working his tail off when he’s on the court as is Cam Payne. Newcomer Jock Landale also fits the mold. As they’re all bench guys and don’t get as much court time as Mikal, he’s likely going to have to clear off some more mantel space for this year’s award too.

One other guy that I think deserves mention is Josh Okogie. The guy rarely plays because of his lack of offense but he’s a huge defensive pest with a motor that runs at full throttle 100% of the time. If he could just develop a respectable corner-3 shot he would be seeing more court time.

Q3 - There are rumors that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is unhappy with all the losing in OKC. His salary ($30,913,750) would make trading for him difficult unless the Suns were willing to send CP3 back to OKC. If the Thunder were to put him on the market, should the Suns make a play for him?

GuarGuar: I would definitely make a play for Shai if he’s a actually available. He would answer any question about Booker’s future backcourt partner. He’d be another dynamic self creating scorer which this team desperately needs. I’d be willing to give up a ton for Shai.

OldAz: I doubt OKC would want CP3 in any deal this year, but possibly this coming off season (when CP3s deal is only partially guaranteed). Either way, I am all in on this deal if it is in any way a realistic possibility. Max out the draft picks and see what players it would take. I doubt OKC would take Crowder, Saric and one of Payne/Shamet plus a bunch of 1st round picks, but that makes the money work and all are on expiring or short contracts. I would certainly be calling to find out if there was even a chance.

As to the question of why, I think this is obvious. Any time you can pair two of the top guards in the game like Booker and SGA you have to do it. I would even shop DA or Mikal in this scenario, but OKC already has a young center and with their remaining roster there is no way DA signs off on it. That means it might take sending Mikal, which would probably be a deal breaker for many others.

Cliff30: Max picks, max swaps, get it done. He’s the ideal target in my opinion. I doubt they want to take back CP3’s salary. And that’s more of a lateral move than the huge upgrade adding SGA to Book and CP3 would be (I’d obviously do it because it’s a long term upgrade).

Jae, Saric, Craig, and Cam Payne work moneywise. Although I’d prefer Jae, Saric, and Shamet. The Thunder could likely then move Jae for additional draft capital. SGA’s size would allow him to play as either backup PG, SG next to either Book or CP3 and would fit in a three guard lineup where both him and Booker have the size to compete as SFs.

Rod: First, I don’t believe that OKC will actively attempt to trade SGA during the season. If they do decide to move him this summer, Jones should be calling though. The problem is that OKC already has a lot of talented youngsters and a boat load of future draft picks (8 1sts plus two 1st round picks swaps and a lot more 2nd rounders through the 2028 draft) so I believe they’ll likely be looking for quality vets to fill out their roster instead of more picks/youth.

If that does turn out to be what they want, the Suns won’t be in a good position to make a play for him then as Book, CP3, Bridges, Ayton, Payne and Shamet will be the only players still under contract at that time. Out of that bunch, CP3 is the only one that I’d consider trading and who knows what kind of level he’ll be playing at by then.

If the opportunity does come up - whenever it might happen - hopefully the Suns will make an offer although I doubt they could put together one good enough to get SGA without giving up someone like Bridges or Ayton to do it.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable members for all their extra effort this week!

Last Week’s poll results

Last week’s question was, “With Cam Johnson out indefinitely, do you want James Jones to do whatever necessary to bring Jae Crowder back to the team?”

22% - Yes.

78% - No.

A total of 137 votes were cast.

This week’s poll is...


The Suns should...

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Ride out the injuries for now with just the players they have.
    (212 votes)
  • 34%
    Sign the best player still available to fill their open roster spot ASAP.
    (110 votes)
322 votes total Vote Now

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