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 - According The Athletic, the Suns have expressed interest in John Collins, Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma and KJ Martin. Which one would you prefer?
GuarGuar: I would actually prefer Kuzma or Barnes out of that group. They aren’t on crazy long term contracts like Collins. They also are better shot creators than Collins or Martin. I’d be very ok acquiring either of them.
OldAz: My favorite is Collins because he rebounds the best of the players listed. This is the area I see of greatest need at the 4 spot for the Suns. Honestly, I don’t really think any of these players are really available, except maybe Martin. All the other teams are doing well so far this season so I will believe they are moving these pieces when I see it. Martin may actually be available, but he is so young it would be a gamble to see how he performs when winning is actually a possibility and expected.
Rod: All things considered, Kuzma edges out the rest to make it to the top of my list (Collins is a close 2nd but I don’t like his salary or his injury history). His contract is for $13 mil through next season and his 19 points and 8 rebounds per game would be a good addition to the Suns. Those are better scoring numbers than any of the others and his rebounding is dead even with Collins.
My only concern with him is his 3-point percentage which is fairly low at 31.6%. His salary is less than all but Martin who is really a 6’6” small forward who can play at the 4. Coming off the bench, that might not be a problem and might actually be a plus in James Jones’ mind as he seems to like guys who can play multiple positions and switch easily on defense.
Q2 - The Suns’ bench is 12th in offensive rating and 12th in defense but 6th in Net Rating. Are you surprised by this?
GuarGuar: I am surprised as it certainly doesn’t feel that way most nights. But they have had some superb showings at times this season, which I think is what’s dragging these numbers up. They haven’t been disastrous by any means but I don’t think they’ve been as good as 6th in net rating would have you believe.
OldAz: Doesn’t really surprise me much. Benches are all strange, across the league. The Suns bench is great one night and can be nonexistent the next. However, this is likely true of most teams benches. I have not watched a lot of other teams this year, but it seems to me that most benches have a defined identify, either for offense or defense, but rarely both. The Suns bench, OTOH, when playing well can bring either offense or defense (and occasionally both) and they adjust depending on what is needed each night. On The whole the bench has actually been pretty good this year, while the starters have been more up and down.
Rod: The Net rating kind of surprised me. Being 12th in both offense and defense doesn’t sound that impressive but at least it’s balanced which obviously isn’t the case for most other teams as two number 12 rankings adds up to 6th overall. I’ll gladly admit that my preseason worries about the Suns’ bench were unfounded... so far. These guys seem to be playing with confidence which is also a big plus.
Q3 - What are your thoughts on Damion Lee and his play so far?
GuarGuar: Damion has been fine. It all comes down to his 3 point shooting and he’s shot around 36-37% to start this season. He’s hit some big shots and clearly isn’t rattled come clutch time which is a positive. But defensively he’s questionable and offensively he offers very little other than spot up shooting.
OldAz: I like the signing. Face it, this team needs shooters and Lee has been clutch in a number of 4th quarters. He also has been around winning teams, which never hurts. The Suns have not gotten to the top of the mountain yet, so adding guys who have been there and can contribute is better than the alternative.
Rod: I’m glad the Suns picked him up this summer. His three point shooting (50% after the Knicks game) has been a nice boost in the bench scoring and he’s not afraid to shot. He’s not a great defender but he’s steady out on the court and doesn’t seem to get rattled or make dumb mistakes. So far he’s looking like what I had hoped Landry Shamet was going to be last season.
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, “The Suns should...”
66% - Ride out the injuries for now with just the players they have.
34% - Sign the best player still available to fill their open roster spot ASAP.
A total of 321 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
Which you you prefer the Suns to acquire?