Welcome to our Phoenix Suns Season in Review series where we do individual PLAYER REVIEWS of each man that contributed in the 2022-23 season. We go through the roster to analyze what went right/wrong for them, and what they can do to get better for next season.
Welcome (or welcome back!) to our series recapping the individual performance of the members of the Phoenix Suns this past season. Today we’re looking back at the campaign of Josh Okogie, who came to the Suns as a free agent from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- Position: Shooting guard/small forward
- Vitals: 6’4” tall, 213 pounds, 24 years old
- Experience: 5 years
- Stats (regular season): 7.3 PPG, 1.5 APG, 3.5 RPG, 39.1 FG%, 33.5 3PT%, 72.4 FT%
Regular Season Recap:
Okogie got very little burn early in the season, and was one of the last men up in the Suns’ rotation. In the first two months of the campaign, he was checking into almost every game, but was typically playing anywhere from one minute to ten minutes, rarely exceeding that.
But after that he worked his way into regular heavy minutes, and by the last 30 or so games of the season he had clearly become one of Monty Williams’ favorite Suns, displacing Ish Wainwright who had been the go-to hustle player in the lineup. Okogie started the last 25 games for the Suns, which was an outcome nobody could have predicted when the Suns signed him.
Unfortunately, as was a bit of a theme for the Suns this postseason, Okogie didn’t really do very much in the postseason. That’s not mostly his fault, honestly, as the playoff Suns (especially against Denver) reverted to an offensive philosophy that completely left him out. He returned to the bench for the opening round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, but was back in the starting lineup for all but the final game of the series with the Denver Nuggets. In total in the playoffs, Okogie averaged just about 4 points, 2 rebounds, and one assist in just under 18 minutes per game.
Put simply, Okogie is a hustle guy. Objectively, he is not statistically a player I would be excited to have on my team. He is an inefficient scorer even in low volume (53% true shooting this regular season), is fairly average at creating his own shot attempts, and is not an effective creator for his teammates.
But he really plays hard out there. On a possession-adjusted basis Okogie was the top rebounding Sun listed as a guard, grabbing more than 9 rebounds per 100. He was also 4th on the whole team in possession-adjusted steals and 7th in blocks, nearly equaling Deandre Ayton.
I won’t say he’s an amazing defender, exactly, but he’s definitely a plus on that side of the floor and consistently positively impacts the game on that end.
The Suns recognized Okogie’s hard work on the floor with the 2023 Dan Majerle Hustle Award, an honor previously bestowed on some noteworthy Suns including Mikal Bridges, PJ Tucker, and Grant Hill.
While Okogie is great at chasing 50/50 balls and pestering opponents on defense, he lacks consistency in his basketball skills. While he had some big nights during the season when he got hot (he scored 20 or more points in five contests), he had plenty of ice cold games as reflected in his sub-40% shooting percentage. Despite nominally being a guard, Okogie showcased very few developed guard skills during the season, and he really has more of a power forward skillset in a 6’4 frame.
As a scorer, he is a below-average finisher around the rim and has almost no midrange game to speak of, which makes it difficult to keep him incorporated in the offense other than as a shooting outlet. Problem is, he’s nothing special in that role either.
Going forward in his career, Okogie could probably most benefit from finding more consistency in his stroke to become a bigger threat when left open. He could also stand to develop a couple of moves to get himself some better looks in the paint. He could really make a leap if he could become a better passer, but that’s probably a heavy lift at this point.
Okogie was only on a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Suns. He is now an unrestricted free agent.
Final Season Grade:
Okogie was far from a “B” as an NBA player writ large this season. If I was just grading him relative to all other NBA players (with Devin Booker being an A, for example), then he would likely be a D. But it’s fair, I think, to consider the fact that Okogie was playing for under $2 million and most of us probably never expected him to thrust into a starting role for close to one third of the season.
He’s a player with very obvious limits, and that showed this year, but he was certainly easy to root for and he gave it his all, which is more than I can say for some Suns, unfortunately.
What grade would you give Josh Okogie for the season, including the postseason?
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