Over the next week, as we prepare for NBA Free Agency on June 30 at 9:00pm AZ time, Bright Side of the Sun will be exploring the market and proposing different additions to the Phoenix Suns roster. Some will make sense. Others might not. But hopefully this year I finally get one right. Why? So I can softly whisper, “I told you so…”
When it comes to bringing back former Phoenix Suns players, I am usually the guy who goes against the grain. For good reason, I haven’t written a “bring back P.J. Tucker” post. Some players move on, which benefits both parties. Last season’s comeback of Torrey Craig? While many advocated for it, I believed there were better alternatives. >cough< Eric Gordon >cough<
Having said that, there is one need that the Suns have that may be answered by someone who was a part of the Phoenix turnaround. Elfrid Payton was anything but stellar last season as the back up to the back up point guard. Let’s call it what it was, he was horrible.
Who could contribute more quality minutes than Elf? That man is Jevon Carter.
I get it. Carter is a two guard stuck in a point guard’s body. When you look at his distribution skills, he leaves plenty to be desired. He isn’t a replacement for Chris Paul relative to executing the pick and roll offense. But seeing as he’d be the third string PG, he does provide an offensive and defensive intensity that morphs what EP did last season.
While playing with both the Brooklyn Nets – the team Phoenix traded him to with their first round pick for Landry Shamet – and the Milwaukee Bucks last year, Carter averaged 4.2 points, 1.5 assists, and played 13.7 minutes per night. His assist-to-turnover ratio was 3-to-1. EP’s was 2.2-to-1.
The 46 games in Brooklyn saw Carter struggle from beyond the arc – he shot 33.1% from deep there – but he was an aberration in Milwaukee. That number jumped to 55.8% on 2.2 attempts-per-game with the defending champs. He ended the season with a 114.7 OFFRTG for the Bucks and played meaningful minutes in the playoffs.
I return to the mindset of not bringing back former players. When speaking of Carter, he didn’t leave Phoenix on bad terms. He didn’t choose to play with another organization rather than re-sign with the franchise. He was part of a transaction that James Jones believed would improve the team, and when the Suns would play against Carter last season, we would still see the camaraderie shared between him and his former teammates.
He is one of the few former players I would encourage the Suns to explore bringing back to the team.
Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger. We saw that in the playoffs. Knowing that Monty Williams, in theory, should limit the amount of playing time for Chris Paul this upcoming season in an effort to maximize his effectiveness in the postseason leaves the door open for an incoming free agent to garner minutes in the Phoenix offense. You take Carter’s familiarity with the Suns’ organization, sprinkle in some opportunity to excel, and couple that with the fact that his price tag wouldn’t be excessive, and you have an ideal situation for all parties involved.
After all, plug anyone into the Payton spot and the team is better next year. Why not C4?
Would you like to see the Suns pursue Jevon Carter in free agency?
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