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 - A recent Bleacher Report article named 33 year old PF JaMychal Green as a free agent that the Suns should consider signing before training camp begins. To do this they would likely have to waive Ish Wainright. Is this a move that they should consider?
OldAz: I don’t think so, but I am not super strong on this opinion either way. Sure he averages a couple more points and an extra rebound in his 15 minutes that he probably won’t get on this team anyway, but if we are talking about the last guy on the bench (And we are), I would prefer the 28 year old player trying to make his way in the league over the 33 YO player looking for a place to land. I can certainly see it the other way around sine Green is. Taller PF, but that’s my preference.
Brrrberry: I’ve been fairly critical of Ish’s skillset so there’s a wide array of guys I’d roll the dice with the final roster spot instead of him. My guess is Green has probably received some minimum offers from teams already but he’s probably holding out for a place where he’ll have the best chance at eeking out a defined, and consistent role. He’s 37% regular season and 38% playoffs from 3 for his career and the last 3 playoffs where he’s shot the ball poorly from 3 is off a relatively small sample size (about 30 attempts). I suppose that could be meaningful but it’s just not a big enough sample size to assume a decade long+ pro whose been 37% (regular season), 38% (playoffs), and 38% last regular season is anything but a 37-38% shooter from 3.
While I don’t view Ish as a particularly solid defender, it wouldn’t surprise me if he bridges the gap of potential impact between him and Green being that Green is a bit of a liability on that end these days so you won’t find me shouting from the mountain top to make that change, but I’d rather Green occupies that roster spot come playoff time.
Rod: I think it’s a move that they should consider but I’m not sold on actually pulling the trigger on it. The Suns already have a nice array of players that can slot in at PF and center and adding one more that might just sit at the far end of the bench for the greater portion of the season might actually detract from team chemistry/create some locker room problems.
Green is a solid vet that has started more NBA games than Ish has actually played in and has more playoff experience than many guys already on the bench. If the Suns still had an open roster spot, I’d strongly consider it but for now I believe they should pass on Green.
Q2 - Which “end-of-the-bench” player(s) (guys you don’t expect to be in the regular player rotation) are you most interested in seeing play during the preseason games?
OldAz: I don’t know much about Azubuike or Metu, so I have some interest in seeing what they can bring. I also look forward to seeing Camara play against NBA level talent. However, the guy I am most interested in seeing in the preseason is Bol. Partially because me including him as a “end-of-the-bench” player will annoy those who think he is the second coming and are certain he will be starting or replacing DA within a few weeks. The truth is I don’t know what to expect from his very unique size and skill set, so I am interested to see how he fits in and is used. It’s possible that I am wrong about him (along with a lot of NBA GMs and coaches) and he just needs to find the right landing spot. It will be fun to see him out there either trying to fit in and contribute, or (more likely in my mind) trying to earn playing time by showcasing his “skills” regardless of how they help or hinder the team’s success.
Brrrberry: This has gotta be Bol and it’s not even close, with far distant second place going to Camara. Bol is such an interesting mix of length and ability, was a surefire lottery pick before he had that foot injury his one year at Oregon and that scared GM’s because of all the 7 footers who have had careers interrupted or ruined because of foot problems. He played 70 games last year and finally got some legit NBA minutes, so if there’s a year he’s going to ascend a bit (or a lot) it’ll be this year. I think he’s got a chance to be a rotation piece and I’m here for it!
Rod: I pretty much want to see how well all of the new guys play but one exception is Ish Wainright. I like Ish and really hope he’s put in the work to improve his three point shooting this summer and want to see what progress he’s made with it.
Next is Camara. He looked pretty good in the Summer League games but there he was often playing against G League/fringe NBA level talent and I want to see how well he plays when the talent level is ramped up. I think he was a solid addition by the Suns considering where he was drafted but I want to find out if he can hold his own as the competition gets tougher.
And finally, Bol Bol. This guy is an enigma in many ways. He certainly has the skills/talent to be more than an end of the bench player, his highlight videos prove that. But, if you look for them, there are also some lowlight videos out there that detail why that talent hasn’t earned him more playing time and why the Suns were able to sign him for the league minimum after Orlando waived him. Will we see more of the good than the bad on the court? I suspect that early on he’ll make an effort to fit in and play smarter than he has in the past. I certainly hope so.
Q3 - Of the Suns’ Western Conference opponents, which teams do you consider the most overrated and the most underrated (by other fans) this season?
OldAz: The Western conference is crazy deep, and there are easily 7 teams that (barring injury) could make noise come playoff time (Den, PHX, GS, LAL, LAC, Sac, Mem), then you have some good teams fighting for the play-in (DAL, MIN, OKC, NOP, and maybe even Utah again). In answer to this question, I would say Dallas and Minnesota are the most overrated because many writers and fans want to put them in that first group when I think they are clearly mired in the second and it will not be surprise if one of them misses the play in. As much as ANT is an excellent young player, I have never liked Minnesota’s team construction with their 2 bigs and am not a big fan of Goebert or KAT as leaders of a team, and especially not both on the floor together. Then in Dallas you have all this hype for 2 high usage players who don’t really lead others to achieve team success. Dallas inexplicably got worse last year after Kyrie got there. I am not sure how a whole season together fixes that.
Brrrberry: Memphis just doesn’t scare me at all. JJJ might be the most overrated player in the league right now and I tend to think Ja is overrated too. He’s too ball dominant, sort it like Luka and their offensive team basketball takes a hit because of that. I suppose I’d say the Lakers too just because Lebron is getting so old and they’re relying on him so heavily. AD isn’t nicknamed street clothes just cuz either.
The two most underrated teams to be are Minnesota and OKC. Anthony Edwards refined his mechanics on his jumper this offseason and looks poised to jump into the best sg in the league convo with Book and Spida and I don’t think the Gobert and KAT pairing is as bad as ppl act like it is. Conley is a solid PG to lead that team and Jaden McDaniels is another young player that could make a big leap this offseason, Naz Reid could too.
Much of the same with OKC though SGA has already taken the leap that I think Ant takes, Jalen Williams was 19 ppg on 55/44/88 in the last 20 games of the season playing out of position as a small ball 4 when he should be playing the 3, Giddey is a bit of a poor man’s Sabonis/Jokic and if Chet can stay healthy and all those young guys continue to improve they’re going to be pretty dangerous.
Rod: The Western Conference is possibly the strongest overall that it’s ever been this year with at least 12 teams in the playoff mix, maybe even 13 if Portland doesn’t trade Dame before the season begins. I really don’t see any team as being vastly overrated but there are a few that I believe may not prove to be as strong as many believe.
First off, the Nuggets. Don’t get me wrong, they are definitely a very strong team but I don’t believe they are as strong as last year. They kept their starters/core together but lost two of their best bench guys in Bruce Brown (to Indiana) and Jeff Green (to Houston). This doesn’t knock them out of the top tier of contenders in the West but I believe it weakens them a bit.
Then you’ve got Sacramento who was a powerhouse offensively last season (best in the NBA) but weak defensively (25th in DefRtg). They were also extremely lucky health-wise last season with none of their starters missing more than 9 regular season games and only 21 games combined for all five. If they can do that again, they’ll continue to be a big threat but I will be surprised if their run of good health continues throughout 2023-24.
Even though I consider OKC to be one of the teams in that playoff mix, I think they might be a bit underrated. They’ve got loads of talent, just not a lot of experience. SGA is a menace, Giddey is a strong player, both of Jalen and Jaylin Williams are good young players, Isaiah Joe is always an offensive threat from deep and Chet Holmgren has yet to even play in an NBA game. Their collective inexperience will likely trip them up at times but I believe that they will be a dangerous team on any given night and could surprise a lot of people this season.
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, “Will the NBA’s new rules on resting players during the regular season have a negative effect on the Suns’ ability to keep their best players healthy?”
11.8% - Yes.
37.7% - No.
50.5% - Possibly but there may be ways to work around those rules.
A total of 279 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is...
Should the Suns sign JaMychal Green before training camp?
This poll is closed