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 - After getting a look at rookie Toumani Camara in Summer League, do you think he has a chance at earning some rotation minutes this season?
GuarGuar: I definitely thinks there’s a legit chance Toumani can earn some rotation minutes this year. He looked pretty darn good in that first summer league game. You can tell he has good defensive instincts and his motor sticks out for sure. The jumpshot motion looks a lot smoother than I was expecting, there could be something there. His weakness is obviously ball handling and self creation, but there’s no need for him to do that on our team.
OldAz: I am admittedly not a basketball junkie to the point of catching summer league games, and basing opinions on highlights alone can be highly problematic. That being said, the only real chance of Camara getting more than garbage time minutes would be if Frank Vogel and staff make a conscious decision to prioritize the rookies development in regular season games.
This should seem like an obvious and good thing to do, but the previous staff valued winning every stinking regular season game so much that they showed absolutely zero interest in any secondary or tertiary player development in the regular season. I truly hope this staff is different in this area and therefore gives significant minutes and room to fail to younger players who need it. The few extra losses in the regular season will be a small price to pay in the long run.
Dan-Fly: Tou is farther along than I thought he would be, he takes it to the rim and finishes with either hand, gets to the line, plays defense, and has an NBA body. But… His 65% FT rate is not going to work for the NBA. He’s supposed to be a hard worker so I see that improving. However, with the guys ahead of him I don’t see Coach giving him minutes unless there are injuries. Maybe after All-Star break if he shows out in practice and or Coach wants to change things up he could see playing time but probably not until then.
Brrrberry: If Camara has an incredible work ethic I’ve got no doubt he’s going to carve out a long NBA career. His role, or lack thereof this year will ultimately depend on his bball IQ and maintaining the confidence to knock down his 3. He’s tightened up his mechanics since he played his last game at Dayton and aesthetically speaking he’s got one of the prettier looking shots from 3 on the roster. Then you add in his athletic ability, not just leaping but the guy has some WHEELS. He gets end to end incredibly fast.
The organization has a major impetus for him to work out with his being locked up for 4 years and our projected lack of any cap space for several years to come. We could really use a multi year contributor on a low salary, someone that’s guaranteed to stay who can build cohesion with the others guys (stars) on multi year deals. I’m counting on him being that guy and I’m really looking forward to watching him compete and grow. He’s an enticing prospect.
Rod: I doubt that it will happen early on but Camara seems solid enough to possibly move up in the Suns’ rotation as the season goes on. We’ll be able to get a much better idea of his ability to contribute once he’s had a chance to go through training camp and we get to see him play in some preseason games against more skilled opponents. While I don’t think he has a very high ceiling, I do think he has a pretty high floor and could develop into a very solid bench/rotation player.
Q2 - Outside of Goodwin and Camara, is there anyone else on the Suns’ SL squad that you think might at least get a training camp invitation?
GuarGuar: I’m sure that we probably invite at least one more guy from the squad but who that will be I have no clue. Jemison our center had a great motor the first game so I could see us giving him an invite given center has our least depth right now.
OldAz: Not really. Anyone beyond those 2 is likely to be nothing more than a “camp body” to ensure the vets are not overworked.
Dan-Fly: I see a couple guys in summer league that at least up to this point are potential 2-way players. Hunter Hale, and Trey Jemison. Hale has a good motor and can score well, he has played in a physical league and I think he has a good all round game. He is another long wing, and would be good as cheap insurance for injuries, or if we lose Diop and Yuta next year. The other, Trey, is a big body which I think we need to bang on those physical guys instead of Metu in the right situation. He has foul problems but he’s young and will get better. Also could help if we lose guys next year.
Brrrberry: It’s gotta be Trey Jemison. The guy has an incredible mindset that I’d do anything for Ayton to adopt. He loves the physicality of the game and said he wants to be the “best role player in the league”. I think Mikal Bridges might’ve been that during his time here and as we’ve seen, it’s a mindset that can parlay itself into something beyond role player. That’s who we need Ayton to be.
You add a big that’s the best role player in the league to Beal, Book and KD akd you have a dynasty. He reminds me a bit of a Mark West/Samuel Dalembert hybrid and while I think he just may be too limited with his movement, maybe he’s a guy that turns into an 8/10 guy, a valued role playing big like Kevon Looney? He’s already got an NBA body and the mindset, so hopefully management sees him as someone that’s worth exploring further.
Rod: Trey Jemison has performed pretty well but the competition hasn’t exactly been stellar. If this was the pre-2019/20 Suns team then I would say he’s probably earned himself a training camp invitation but I think there may be better options available if the Suns want to bring in another big. He has at best an outside chance at getting a camp invite in my opinion but on an Exhibit 10 contract (non-guaranteed), not a two-way before camp even begins.
Hunter Hale impressed me with his 3-point shooting against New Orleans and his overall game (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 TO, eFG% of .769) was pretty damn good. If he can keep that up over the final two SL games, I believe he could earn himself an invitation to training camp on an Exhibit 10 contract. As a matter of fact, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get at least a training camp invite if he continues to shoot well at SL. Teams can always use more shooters at the end of the bench.
Q3 - The Suns presently have 15 players signed to standard NBA contracts. They can have up to 20 players (including players on two-way contracts) under contract during the offseason but there’s been nothing but vague rumors of “interest” regarding other players lately. Would you be satisfied starting this season with the roster they’ve already assembled?
GuarGuar: I would definitely be satisfied with our roster as is. We added a 3rd star and really grabbed some nice bench pieces. Eric Gordon finally is a Sun after what feels like forever trying to acquire him. I love the Eubanks add for a backup big. He’s a good athlete and has a good short roll ability when our stars get doubled. Keita and Yuta are also really quality players that will have a big impact this year. And it looks like Goodwin is gonna give Payne a run for his money as our backup PG.
OldAz: Absolutely, they are good to go with the current roster. I am less worried about the PG spot with all the guard depth they have in Gordon, Payne, Goodwin, D. Lee and S. Lee if needed. The only thing I would like to see them shore up is the 3rd string Center with a veteran who does not need a ton of minutes and is more of a “in case of emergency” type player. I still think Biz is the best option for this role as long as he remains unsigned.
Dan-Fly: The roster seems set except for MAYBE Bol Bol, with the guys signed and the 2-ways, barring injuries, we already have way more depth than last year, and I have to say I don’t see anyone available that I would switch our guys for. So, yes, we could go into the season with what we have. Of course you always have a wish list but realistically we’re ready.
Brrrberry: I’d be more than satisfied at this point but with how they’ve completely remade the roster so well, it had me feeling greedy as a fan. Like there’s nothing reasonable they can’t pull off. If you’d have told me we’d be able to trade Todd for 3 seconds, a swap that won’t convey next season and a 2030 swap I wouldn’t have believed it.
Hearing that they’re doing what they can to bring in TJ McConnell, someone I’ve been wanting us to acquire for years at this point is what I’m really hoping for next. A hard nosed floor general that’s never played with near the type of talent we have on this squad is exactly what’s missing. PG is the thinnest position in the league imo, so he’s hands down the best guy we could reasonably acquire imo. McConnell (with Payne, Ish and 2nd round picks) going out the door and one more surprise ring chaser on a minimum then maybe Bol and we’re set for training camp. I just want the season to start!
Rod: It can always get at least a little bit better but I wouldn’t gripe if all the Suns did between now and opening night was fill the two-way contract spots with solid, deep depth guys. The only way I can see them add anyone else that might make a significant impact would be through a trade rather than free agency. That’s certainly possible but I don’t believe that a big trade is likely to happen. And since I’ve openly said that, I now at least half expect the Suns to prove me wrong sometime in the next two weeks.
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, “Who do you believe the Suns’ 5th starter will be?”
09% - Eric Gordon.
10% - Yuta Watanabe’
68% - Keita Bates-Diop.
03% - Cam Payne.
09% - Josh Okogie.
01% - Someone else.
A total of 731 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
The Phoenix Suns current roster...
This poll is closed
Is good to go as is!
Still needs a few minor tweaks before the season begins.
Has some major flaws that need to be fixed!