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Inside the Suns: Speculation on making the KD trade earlier, the draft, Darius Bazley

Your weekly Inside the Suns analysis straight from the BSotS community who live and breathe the team.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

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 - Do you think this past season would have ended differently if the Suns had managed to pull of the same trade for Kevin Durant during the offseason rather than at midseason?

GuarGuar: I think more time to gel would’ve definitely gave us a much better chance this season. We would’ve had rotations figured out by playoff time. Monty was experimenting in round 2 of the playoffs because he still didn’t know the capabilities of some of our rotation guys.

OldAz: Like most questions, the answer is usually “It depends” or “maybe”. In this case, “maybe” is the best I can get to. The Suns probably end up with a higher seed because they would have weathered all the regular season injuries differently (read better). There were parts of the season last year when multiple writers here entertained the idea of tanking mid-season.

Having one of KD or Book on the floor probably nets them a few more wins and possibly a 2 or 3 seed. Having more games to “gel” as a team also might mean better results come playoff time, but in reality Booker still missed large sections of the early and middle sections of the year, as did Chris Paul, and KD missed large sections of the middle and later parts of the year.

There would have been more time for individual players to develop chemistry, but the entire starting unit would still have not played together anywhere close to a whole season. This might have helped a little when CP3 went down against Denver, or maybe even delayed the Denver matchup till the Western Conference Finals. Beating Denver, however, would really depend on what moves Jones made after the KD trade to fill out the roster differently as well as what changes Monty would have made to develop secondary offensive options without CP3 and beyond Book and KD and utilize those bench players.

I am very dubious about how much of that really would have happened. It is possible that better chemistry between KD and DA, and better team defense with a year together could have been enough to beat Denver, but it is also possible that Denver is just that good this year and the same result would have just been delayed a round.

Rod: It would have certainly made for a smoother transition into the Suns’ KD era with a full training camp behind them before the season started. Whether it would have made a difference in the outcome is certainly debatable though. Injuries alone could possibly have made the season ending even worse, but having time for KD (and TJ) to fully learn the team’s offensive and defensive schemes would have made a big difference on the court plus Monty wouldn’t have had to try and figure out his player rotation on the fly.

If (and it’s a pretty big if) everyone had stayed mostly healthy, I believe the Suns might still be playing right now.

Q2 - The NBA Draft is in less three weeks and the Suns have only the 52nd pick. It’s possible for them to make a trade that could net them another pick in the draft or just buy a pick from another team (probably a 2nd rounder). Do you think that the Suns should attempt to get another pick or at least move up in the draft this year?

GuarGuar: Given our cap situation this 52nd pick that we have has some significance. If we hit on that pick it would help our situation greatly given that we are tied down salary wise. I’m all for buying a pick it’s such a great move. No risk potential high reward. I definitely think Ishbia is way more willing to do this compared to Sarver. I know James Jones hates the draft but acquiring more 2nds this year could be very helpful.

OldAz: Again, “it depends”. Mostly, it depends on the cost. If the Suns can just “buy” the pick or trade something minimal (say a future 2nd or multiple future 2nds) to get another pick this year, it could be wise.

The back of the bench is going to be filled with league minimum types. Having a couple developmental rookies sit in those seats will not only cost less, but they may catch lightning in a bottle and find a diamond in the rough. Plus, it is not like there is going to be a ton of salary in the next few years to throw around. This years cheap draft picks would have a year of experience and development come next year. As long as the new staff puts an emphasis on player development, there would be value in having a few low cost young players to work with.

Rod: I’m not certain whether a trade before the draft will be worked out but buying a 2nd rounder from another team sounds like a fairly good idea. Even if the person(s) selected in the 2nd round wind up just being end of the bench players, the minimum salary for players picked in the 2nd round is only $982k which would be at least a small help in regard to the Suns’ salary cap situation.

Several teams have more than one 2nd rounder this year with Charlotte having three (34th, 39th and 41st) so I doubt it would be too difficult to pry one away from someone.

Q3 - We didn’t get to see much of Darius Bazley this season and he will be a RFA with a qualifying offer of $6.2 million. Do you think he’ll be back with the Suns next season?

GuarGuar: I don’t think we’re gonna keep Darius. He barely played and I’m not sure about his fit on this team come playoff time. His best role is as a small ball 5, but he’s still really thin and our rebounding will suffer. Im not against bringing him back but I struggle to see the value he’d give to this team when it really matters.

OldAz: I do think he will be back. I think the Suns may let him find his best offer and then match it, mostly because I don’t think his best offer will be greater than the $6.2M QO. However, he has many of the things the Suns need: a controllable contract above the minimum (which then becomes tradable later on), youth, athleticism, and size. There are a lot of unknowns in free agency, and the Suns have almost no options to attract anyone. I expect they will hold onto the few chips they actually do have to play with.

Rod: Whether Bazley is back or not will likely depend more on the Suns’ other plans than what we saw from him on the court. I believe that the Suns will extend him the qualifying offer but they could also pull that offer afterward if they determine it’s in their best interests. I personally am not sure he’s worth using $6+ million of the Suns’ cap space on at the moment... but then I also haven’t seen enough of him on the court to make a very educated evaluation of his value either.

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, “Should Mat Ishbia have “cleaned house” and fired James Jones along with Monty Williams?

21% - Yes.

79% - No.

A total of 429 votes were cast.

This week’s poll is...


Would the Suns have done better in the playoffs this season if they had NOT made the midseason trade for KD?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    (333 votes)
  • 42%
    (248 votes)
581 votes total Vote Now

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