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How the “throw-ins” solidified Phoenix’s depth chart

The “throw-ins” from a pair of Phoenix offseason trades may have saved their depth chart.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Deandre Ayton trade has mostly been viewed as the “Ayton-Nurkic” swap.

The Chris Paul for Bradley Beal trade was headlined as just that.

In those deals, Jusuf Nurkic and Bradley Beal were the headlines and important pieces towards Phoenix’s success. However, the “throw-ins” have been anything but that to start this season.

Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Jordan Goodwin have played vital roles in Phoenix’s depth chart early on. It’s difficult to imagine where this team would be without them. Toumani Camara and Landry Shamet were each involved in these deals as well, which should be noted.

Let’s break down each player through the first 17 games of the season.

Grayson Allen — Guard

Season Stats: 16 games played, 11.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG on 49/47/84 shooting splits, +1.9 plus/minus in 32.5 minutes per game.

Grayson Allen has been arguably Phoenix’s third-best player this season behind Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. His efficiency offensively combined with playing to his strengths has made him an immensely important rotation piece. Defensively he has been a fierce competitor despite as well.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

Bradley Beal has missed most of the season, and if Phoenix didn’t employ Grayson Allen, they would be struggling mightily. When you combine that with all the time Devin Booker missed early in the season, it makes sense why the Suns are relying on him to play nearly 33 minutes per game.

Simply put, it’s tough to envision where this Suns team would be without Allen filling in the gaps of the injury bug with his productive play.

Jordan Goodwin — Guard

Season Stats: 17 games played, 6.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.1 APG on 38/36/78 shooting splits, +2.5 plus/minus in 16.4 minutes per game.

Jordan Goodwin’s toughness and intensity have been a staple in the Suns’ early season search for establishing an identity. He is currently fifth on the team in plus/minus at 2.5.

Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The former Saint Louis Billiken has been a stocks machine, averaging 2.7 stocks per 36, which for a 6’3” guard is quite impressive.

He has also made his impact felt on the offensive glass, joining some familiar company with Josh Okogie atop of the list of players 6’4” and under in generating offensive rebounds.

Nassir Little — Wing

Season Stats: 12 games played, 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 SPG on 50/33/85 shooting splits, -1.7 plus/minus in 14.8 minutes per game.

Nassir Little started the season slow and out of the rotation after battling an injury in training camp. He is the youngest member of the Suns at 23 years old and in his fourth season in the NBA.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

In four of his last five games, he’s scored in double-figures and shot the rock at an efficient 50% clip. He’s making the most of the increased role and should be a factor for the Suns’ second unit for the foreseeable future.

The instant energy provided by Little, Goodwin, Okogie, and Eubanks is cultivating the culture and team identity that Frank Vogel wants to establish.

Phoenix acquiring both Little and Allen in the Ayton trade went under the radar, but their inclusion was no accident or surprise for the Suns’ front office. This is what they envisioned when completing the deal.

The playoff rotation is difficult to predict due to injuries, slumps, matchups, depth at several positions, etc., but one thing is for certain: the Phoenix Suns needed these “throw-ins” a lot more than many initially thought.

Tip of the cap to James Jones and company to land the right complimentary pieces around their stars with limited flexibility.

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