The Phoenix Suns haven’t been relevant in years. They’ve been one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the league, and have completely wasted some talented players and high draft picks.
Somehow, they’ve still put together a promising squad for the future, and now that they finally have a true starting point guard, they should be in much better shape than they were the last couple of seasons.
True, the Suns are ages away from playoff contention, but they have a couple of stars in the making that could turn the franchise around in a couple of years. But, how will they lineup to start the season? Let’s break it down:
Bench: Tyler Johnson, Ty Jerome, Elie Okobo, Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Frank Kaminsky, Aron Baynes
Point Guard: Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio is coming off an MVP trophy at the World Cup, where he became the tournament all-time leader in assists and showed why the NBA shouldn’t give up on him, his great defense and his playmaking abilities.
The Suns have lacked a guy that could pull the strings of their offense and they’ve finally found one. Obviously, injuries and the lack of a three-point shot have always raised questions over Rubio’s head, but he’ll make them much better.
Shooting Guard: Devin Booker
The Suns have been wasting Devin Booker’s talent for years and he has claimed before that he is done with not making the playoffs — so there’s always been some speculation about whether he’ll force his way out of the team or not.
Rubio’s presence will open up a lot of space for Booker to play off-ball, as he won’t be asked to handle the playmaking duties. He’s got the upside to be one of the league’s top 3 scorers, so let’s see if he breaks out.
Small Forward: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Kelly Oubre Jr was living under Otto Porter Jr’s shadow at Washington, but now that he’s set to face a full season with the Phoenix Suns, he may be in for a breakout year after showing glimpses of prolific scoring ability.
Oubre has the length to be a versatile defender but still needs to put some work in that side of his game. He can be this team’s third-leading scorer with his freakish athleticism and a smooth jumper.
Power Forward: Dario Saric
Dario Saric has to be one of the most underrated players in the league. He can play both forward spots and even some minutes at center, can hold his own against quicker guards, and stay in front of stronger big men on the defensive end.
Saric can score from all three levels, is great at zone defenses and, like most European players, is a gifted passer with a high basketball IQ as well. If the Suns feed him and allow him to be himself, he’ll be their X-factor.
Center: DeAndre Ayton
Several reports claim Deandre Ayton may be in line for some minutes at power forward next season with Aron Baynes sliding to the center spot, so that may suggest he’s working on expanding his range.
Ayton had an impressive rookie season and proved to be a dominant scorer and rebounder. He’s a great finisher with both hands and has the tools to become a top-tier rim protector, but he’s looked careless in the defensive end of the floor.