Now that the trade deadline is behind us, an entirely new conversation has begun. The Phoenix Suns still have open roster spots, and they are looking to fill them with players who were recently waived by their respective former teams.
How do quality players end up waived? Let’s look at Chimezie Metu. Phoenix traded him out in the Royce O’Neale/David Roddy trade, with the Memphis Grizzlies acquiring the versatile wing/big. They did so to make the money work, not because the Grizzlies were going out of their way to acquire Mezie. Therefore, once the transaction was processed, they released him.
We talked about the needs of the Suns roster at this point. Before the trade deadline, 72% of our community believed that a point guard, whether it be starting or coming off the bench, was the biggest need of the team. Playmaking had been an issue and a traditional PG was believed to be the answer.
Post-trade deadline, the needs have changed. When proposed with what the biggest concern the team currently possesses — outside of health, of course — it is defense, followed by rebounding.
The Suns are a middle-of-the-pack defensive team through 53 games, not what we expected with Frank Vogel at the helm. Known for being a defensive coach, his teams have been in the top ten regularly. This season, however, the Suns ranked 15th in opposing points (114.4), 16th in opposing 3 PT% (36.8%), and 14th in defensive rating (114.8). Overall, the team has a +3.1 net rating (11th)
The issue isn’t necessarily their first team unit, either. In the 18 games and 261 minutes that Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, and Jusuf Nurkic have played together, the team has a 116.7 defensive rating. The difference? Their offensive rating is 129.3 which equates to a +12.5 net rating. The second-team unit defense is an area of concern as there hasn’t been much offense to accompany it.
When asked what roster need Phoenix should address via the buyout market, a rebounding big was the winner with 52% of the community voting in that direction.
As a team, the Suns rank 24th in offensive rebounds (9.8), 10th in defensive rebounding (33.3), and 18th in total rebounding (43.1). Their second team unit is 12th overall in rebounding percentage.
We’ve identified the needs. Now it’s time to take a glance at who is available:
- Danilo Gallinari
- Killian Hayes
- Cory Joseph
- Furkan Korkmaz
- Thaddeus Young
- Robin Lopez
- Victor Oladipo
- James Bouknight
- Danuel House
Some familiar names in there, right? Players we’ve talked about joining the Suns at buyout season for years (Thaddeus Youing), and former players (Robin Lopez, Danuel House, and ineligible to return Chimzie Metu). All of the above names provide unique skill sets, but not all meet the perceived needs of the team.
More names could be added to the list in the upcoming days Otto Porter, Jr. has been rumored to be someone the Utah Jazz could part ways with, but no transaction has occurred. If he does, he will be a hot commodity as the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics have both expressed interest in his services.
We’ll deep dive more into these buyout candidates in the upcoming days here at Bright Side, but until then, we’ll turn the microphone in your direction. Phoenix has two available roster spots. Who would you like to see them acquire?