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Prepare to fall in love with Drew Eubanks

He is the ideal addition and you don’t even know it.

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Sacramento Kings v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

When you think of Phoenix Suns basketball and historical trends, numerous things come to mind. A history of quality point guard play. A franchise that has brought home an MVP three separate times by two players. Purple. Orange. A rabid fan base that is hungry. A history of disappointment and heartbreak.

Dig a bit below the surface and you’ll find one interesting caveat. Approval rating for the back up center is practically 100%. Recent years have brought us Frank Kaminsky, Aron Baynes, JaVale McGee, and Jock Landale. Names like Pat Burke and Oliver Miller come to mind as well. For some reason, we just love our back up bigs out here in the desert.

Despite this affection, I’m not sure the acquisition of Drew Eubanks is getting the local attention it should. Or will.

It feels like tad bit like that She’s All That flick. At the beginning of the season, he’ll be the girl in the class who has glasses and paint-stained overalls on. We’ll appreciate his quirkiness but it isn’t something we’re necessarily attracted to. You know, as fans. As time progresses, however, the little things make us fall in love, and next thing you know he’s slowly walking down a staircase with Sixpense None the Richer’s Kiss Me playing.

Side note: who knew that Laney Boggs’ little brother in that movie would grow up to be the iconic Roman Roy? Okay, I’m like three pop culture references deep. Time to return to the surface for some air.

By the end of the season I guarantee there will be kids in the stands rocking his number 14 jersey. He possesses the typical traits that we applaud in the Valley from the back up five. Grit. Toughness. Hustle.

“If I had business cards I had to hand out everybody of the one, two or three things I excel at that,” Eubanks recently said in an interview with The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin, “it’d be hustling, blocking shots and setting screens – and finishing at the rim”. Sounds like a grocery list of items we cheer for, right?

Per B-Ball Index, the 6’10” 245-pound center earns silver badges in post move lockdown and being a putback boss, with bronze badges in rim protection and being an offensive rebound hunter.

His offensive rebounding advanced metrics are validation of his hustling mindset; he is the 83%tile in offensive rebounds per 75 possessions, 85%tile in offensive rebounding crashing skillset, and 93%tile in offensive rebounding conversion skill. His interior defense is tough as well, with his rim points saved being in the 99%tile.

Traits of a player we will love while he spells Deandre Ayton.

Drew had his options in free agency, but it was Phoenix that caught his attention. “I had interest from other teams along the same lines of what Phoenix was offering, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I had an offer from Phoenix right out the gate. They were very high on me. My agent was saying they had the most interest out of anybody.”

Slow clap, James Jones. Slow clap into a roaring ovation. The Suns identified their guys this past offseason, and rather than sitting on their hands like they did during the Sarver Era, they attacked. Feeling wanted has a profound effect on players, and to know that an organization with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Deandre Ayton wants you…needs you…solidified his decision making.

And Eubanks is ready to play with high-profile players. Why? Oh, um, Dame Lillard. Ever heard of him?

“I got a little taste of what it’s like playing with a superstar. I feel like every step in my career so far has prepared me for the next,” Eubanks told Rankin. “I’m looking forward to the challenge in Phoenix and bringing some of what I learned playing alongside Dame last year and doing that with KD, Book and Beal.”

We’ll see how many minutes he gets with those players, but it is possible that he’ll see plenty. New head coach Frank Vogel’s strategy will most likely include at least one of his elite three on the court at all times. Seeing as Deandre Ayton has averaged 30.7 minutes per game in his career, that leaves 18 potential Eubanks minutes per night.

Eubanks can handle the workload. In his 5 years in the NBA, he’s averaged 16 minutes played. His last two seasons in Portland saw him average 22.3 minutes, and his 8.4 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks would be a valuable addition from the backup center position. You might love his 38.9 3PT% from last season, but know that came on 7-of-18 shooting.

“Drewwwww-banks” chants will soon echo throughout the Footprint Center and will solidify many aspects of what the Suns are attempting to achieve on both ends of the floor. This is my “I told you so” reference throughout the next year. We’re gonna love having him on the team.

Maybe we can talk the Suns in-arena team to play a brief snippet of Kiss Me every time he makes a free throw.

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