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
Author’s Note: All questions were submitted to the Fantable members and answered before the Suns/Lakers game Thursday night.
Q1 - Grayson Allen’s current contract is up at the end of this season and he is possibly the Suns best trade chip. Should they attempt to trade him before the deadline, offer him a contract extension (his max possible extension is $75 mil over 4 years) or let him become an unrestricted free agent before making him an offer?
GuarGuar: I am firmly 100% against trading Grayson Allen. He has been the brightest spot of our season this far. It is hard to find truly elite high volume shooters and he has proven to become one. He’s one of our better point of attack defenders too. He’s our most valuable piece but he needs to be kept. He’s a perfect fit next to our Big 3.
OldAz: Extend him for a fair contact based on his role and production. I am not sure that means almost $19M per year, but it’s not my money. We have seen the issues with feeling out a completely new roster and GA is one of the most consistent players they have. When the “Big 3” do get rolling, the Suns have to have players capable of knocking down open 3s and so far, he has been the only one to consistently do that. Coming in to the season we thought that they had assembled a strong bench of shooters, but that has proved elusive. I just can’t come up with a good reason to move on from the one player that filled the teams biggest need to plug a different hole.
Rod: Allen is certainly the Suns’ best trade asset (unless they’re open to moving one of the Big 3 or Nurk) but I’d rather try to keep him. I’d rather that they offer him a generous contract extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent but there’s no guarantee that he’ll take that. Trading him mid-season isn’t likely to bring back a player that will significantly move the needle for the Suns but not doing so sets the stage for possibly losing him for nothing in the offseason.
As it’s very possible (perhaps even likely) that Eric Gordon decides to move on for a bigger payday elsewhere after this season, that would make losing Grayson an even bigger blow to the team. Hopefully they find a way to keep him and don’t trade him before the deadline. Having his Bird Rights should help with that.
Q2 - What is your current opinion of Bol Bol’s play?
GuarGuar: Bol Bol has had a great stretch for sure but I’m not convinced it’s something that will last. History shows he will not keep this current play up. But who knows he could have taken a leap as a player. I like him best as a backup 5.
OldAz: I feel really bad for the kid getting hurt when he was finally getting his shot and making good on it. I was one of the hardest on him early in the season, not so much because he did not have talent but because of the outsized fan reactions to his signing. He was very much a circus side show because he tried to be a guard and do way too much. In his short recent stint, he has limited himself to playing within the game plan. He is still not a center, but he is keeping himself tall and getting in people’s way. He is playing tall to secure boards and making wise decisions when shooting open 3s or moving the ball within the offense. If he continues this when he gets healthy I suspect his legend will only grow.
Rod: I was impressed at his recent play. All the things he did, I already knew he could do but the impressive part was how he did them... under control with smart decisions. He didn’t look lost (for the most part) on the defensive end and didn’t try to do too much on offense. I think for him Vogel needs to keep things simple and have him concentrate on learning to play one position.
He certainly has the length to play at center but his weight (220 lbs) would make it difficult for him to matchup with most NBA centers so I’m thinking he should concentrate on the PF position. If he can become consistently productive there, I’d love to see occasional lineups with him and KD together on the court with KD at SF (and Nurk at the 5). That could make a big difference in the Suns rebounding numbers as well as their ability to defend in the paint.
Q3 - Do you think this team has a leadership problem on the court (as in a player/leader)?
GuarGuar: I think this team has an accountability problem. There is no reason a team with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant should be one of the historically bad 4th quarter teams in NBA history. There’s no reason for such a sharp drop off in 4th quarter play. It’s not like teams are suddenly changing their game plan vs us come the 4th quarter. The defensive coverages are the same. It has to be a mental issue at this point.
OldAz: Maybe (probably), but I think it is temporary. Right now the Big 3 don’t have the on court chemistry to know who the lead dog is at any given moment. Once they figure that out everyone else should settle into their roles and no one will be talking about leadership. The Clippers struggled for a number of games after Harden was added, but eventually started rolling. I suspect the same will happen with the Suns after they have a string of 10-15 games together.
Rod: I think so because one moment this team looks like a steamroller and then suddenly falls apart all two often. That’s not a talent problem. It reminds me of a scene in The Replacements where Keanu Reeves’ character talks about quicksand. “You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. Then another. You try to fight back but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink.”
I don’t think Book is a natural leader and it doesn’t seem to come easily to him. KD doesn’t want the job and prefers to lead by example... which is what I believe Book would also prefer. Beal is too new, hasn’t actually spent a lot of time on the court yet and I’m not certain how much of a leader role he actually played with the Wizards. This is where I think the Suns miss CP3 the most because he seemed to always be talking out on the court (and on the sideline). He seemed to always know just where everyone was supposed to be, what their assignments were and gave assistance (and encouragement) all the time.
Taking on THE leadership role, plus learning a new position in a new offense is a big burden even for a great player like Book.
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, “How many games do you think the Suns’ Big 3 will play together in this season?”
02% - Less than 10.
23% - 10 to 20.
51% - 20 to 30.
24% - 30 or more.
A total of 231 votes were cast.
Jusuf Nurkić totaled 356 rebounds and 121 assists in his first 34 games of the season to become just the second player in franchise history with 350+ rebounds and 120+ assists in the first 34 games of a player’s season. The only other Suns player to do so was Charles Barkley who accomplished it 4 times.
Suns are 7-0 when scoring 125+ PTS this season. pic.twitter.com/DrSufxkAUQ— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 12, 2024
This week’s poll is...
If you could change the Suns’ recent past, would you...
This poll is closed
Undo the trade for KD.
Undo the trade for Beal.
Undo the trade with Portland.
All of the above.
None of the above.