The stock market. It has its ups and downs. You know, like Phoenix Suns basketball! Good grief. The Suns were 2-2 last week and it was an emotional rollercoaster that I’m not sure we’re ready for as we navigate the stresses of the holiday season.
Last week, as I authored a three-part series on every Suns’ player as it related to their stock through the first quarter of the season, I contemplated making it a weekly piece. It’s a nice barometer and, knowing that I won’t do every single player on the team, will make it much more digestible.
Once upon a time (like, last season ago) I wrote the weekly Center of the Sun articles for Bright Side of the Sun. Compiling the weekly recaps with assessments, data, and links to various online resources was enjoyable. Dave King now does the Suns Weekly piece and has taken it to a new level. It is much more informational than my therapy session-based observations.
Still, part of misses a weekly recap, so I am seizing this opportunity to use the stock market as the framework to analyze the Suns roster, using the stock market as a foundation of my thoughts.
You know the drill. We’re discussing some players following their Week 8 performances and, using them as a baseline, pondering whether or not their stock is up, down, or holding. Yes, this is subjective, although their statistical production will certainly play a part.
Sound good? Let’s try this out.
Damion Lee: Stock —
I’m coming out of the gate with an interesting one, right? I heard this discussion on the most recent edition of the Aussie Suns Fans Podcast and it got me thinking. How much do we miss Damion Lee?
I know it’s weird to put Damion Lee into the Suns Stock Exchange. He has played a grand total of zero minutes this season. Injuring his meniscus in training camp, the guy who hit 44.5% of his three-pointers has been living on crutches ever since.
But, with the recent troubles with the Suns, especially with more injuries at the guard position, the question becomes how much does this team miss the seventh-year guard from Louisville?
The answer: probably more than we should.
Sure, the Suns added Theo Maledon yesterday, and the reason why is they know that their guard situation is an issue. Maledon will not move the needle, not nearly as much as Lee potentially could.
We’re missing first-half-of-last-season Damion Lee right now. The guy who would come off the bench and spell Devin Booker appropriately. The guy whose confidence from beyond the arc was unmatched, who wouldn’t put the ball on the floor and attack, rather, simply microwave from deep.
The bench unit has been inconsistent this season, and if Damion Lee were around, perhaps offensively they’d have enough firepower to allow Booker and Durant extra minutes of rest.
Get well soon, Damion.
Chimezie Metu: Stock ↑
Metu entered Week 8 having only played in 12 of the Suns’ 22 games. In the first seven weeks of the season, he averaged 3.2 points in 8.5 minutes played.
That playing time has increased in Week 8 as he received plenty of runway with a hip injury to Josh Okogie. Metu started twice this past week as Frank Vogel attempts to find something — anything — to ignite a spark. Yes, He has outplayed Keita Bates-Diop, which is something I’m not sure would happen.
Metu is a decent complimentary player, but he does have his limitations. But as Stephen PridGeon notes below, he’s winning in the margins, and that is where Pheonix needs assistance.
Now 5 knockdowns from deep for Metu over the last 2 games — the margins— Stephen PridGeon ☯️ (@StayTrueSDot3) December 14, 2023
He's been helped off & remained both ready & decisive in execution with either drives or shots, from the corners or above the break pic.twitter.com/5WZ3mAZWwJ
Mezie averaged 7.3 points, 3 rebounds, and shot 50% from deep in 16.3 minutes played in Week 8. Great numbers? No. But a step in the right direction.
Buy now, sell later!
Suns Defense: Stock ↓
We’ve been discussing this plenty this past week at Bright Side. The Suns’ defense has been less-than-average, and Week 8 was an encapsulation of this.
We’ve hit a low point as the team is letting opposing teams do whatever they want against them. When you have the Washington Wizards, a team that entered with a 4-20 record, dismantle your defense and score at will on the interior, you have issues. BIG issues.
The challenge is we don’t know if it is correctable long-term.
Who is this team’s defensive stalwart? Who is shutting down the opposing team consistently? We knew they were a top-heavy offensive team, but the lack of defense has become a punchline.
The Suns rocked a 121 defensive rating in Week 8 — a -4.7 net rating overall — and their opponents to combine for 40.5% from three-point range. That isn’t teams getting hot. That’s teams being wide open to knock down their threes. The perimeter defense has become a joke.
Where do your stocks lie? Should I keep putting this together week to week? Let us know in the comments below!