It’s preseason. No, none of this truly matters in the grand scheme of things from a final results standpoint. However, it is important for players to develop chemistry, and get locked in as they prepare for the games that count.
Devin Booker and Kevin Durant looked to be in midseason form last game, displaying their barrage of scoring effortlessly in a hurry in the first half.
Here are my initial takeaways after watching four games of these preseason Phoenix Suns.
#1 Offensive Creativity
The offense has looked sensational in spurts when the starting unit and key bench players share the floor. The floor spacing, selflessness, and ball movement have stood out, and there have been some devastating runs put together by a team that isn’t even that familiar with each other yet.
They have put together some high-scoring quarters that should excite Suns fans for what’s to come.
Through 3.5 preseason games, the Suns have had some high-scoring quarters.— Zona (@AZSportsZone) October 17, 2023
46 points Q1 vs. DET
40 points Q2 vs. POR
39 points Q2 @ POR
37 points Q1 @ POR
36 points Q1 vs. POR
34 points Q3 vs. DET
The positive sign I see here is that the bulk of these have come with their starters sharing the floor, or at least some combination of them.
I mean, you look at offensive rating leaders in preseason and Phoenix has six of the top 15 with the qualifiers mentioned in the tweet below. This is absurd, small sample size or not.
Phoenix has 6 of the top 15 NBA leaders in Offensive Rating this preseason (min. 15 mpg, 2 gp)— Zona (@AZSportsZone) October 17, 2023
1. Devin Booker - 146.6
2. Kevin Durant - 143.9
5. Jusuf Nurkic - 132.7
7. Grayson Allen - 131.0
8. Bradley Beal - 131.0
14. Drew Eubanks - 126.6
Inspired by @KellanOlson
#2 Rotations — Grayson Allen & Josh Okogie can PLAY
Frank Vogel has hinted towards lineups and rotations being situational, which given their personnel is entirely fair. Allen and Okogie have stood out as the two frontrunners to start games, and each brings a different skill set to the table.
Okogie’s energy, hustle, and all-out effort on the point of attack defensively continue to stand out. He has looked more under control offensively and you can tell by the form alone that he’s put in work on his jumper.
Allen is winning Suns fans over with his ability to shoot, attack the rim, and make the extra pass. Defensively he is — and has been — underrated for some time now. He’s no Okogie, but he is strong, has quick hands, and makes the right rotations.
Offensively the spacing he provides with his jumper along with his ability to attack closeouts and make the right play really opens things up. I expect him to continue to thrive in this offense no matter which group he’s playing with.
I think Okogie probably starts, but if Allen continues to play with confidence on both ends it’s going to be tough to keep him out of the starting five.
Now that we’ve had a chance to see some flashes of what this offense could look like in real time, I think people are slowly starting to understand how potent they can be offensively.
I mean, just look at this screenshot from their last game against Portland. It resulted in a wide-open Booker three-point splash.
Just look at the spacing here. I mean.— Zona (@AZSportsZone) October 18, 2023
Send doubles to KD at your own risk. This is why I like Allen alongside the Big 3. pic.twitter.com/sH6WCesgdS
Surrounding Booker, Durant, and Beal with shooters like Eric Gordon, Grayson Allen, and Yuta Watanabe is going to be electric.
Plus you factor in Nurkic’s passing ability out of the short roll or in the high post and we’re cooking with grease. Phoenix will put together some devastating runs offensively, and we’ve already seen a small sample size of what it can look like when things are clicking.
#4 Roles — Assignments are understood
Each player is fully embracing their role in the preseason. Okogie and Goodwin understand what they need to do to earn minutes. Metu and Eubanks have had promising flashes, displaying their ability to become a rotation player in this system.
Grayson Allen has looked like a seamless addition to the core and could very well be in play for the fifth starter spot. Even if he comes off the bench, he’s built a strong case to close games due to his ability to dribble, shoot, and defend.
Game number five takes place tonight, so let’s hope for continued chemistry building and good health. That’s all that matters heading into the season opener.