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2018-19 NBA Season Team Previews: Phoenix Suns

NBA Team Preview - Phoenix Suns

The Suns are looking to finally take a step out of complete rebuild mode and take a step closer to making it to the playoffs. Phoenix has been in a rebuild for a little while now, but the talent that they have picked up over the last couple seasons should begin to take shape.

Phoenix went 21-61 last season, which was worst in the entire NBA. The Suns could not get much going and it led to another almost unwatchable season. Phoenix got the top pick in the draft, then went on to trade for plenty of draft picks and veteran players to lead the youth.

I believe that the Suns could have another rough season. Often times a really young team can have a lot of up and down moments. The young players can be really inconsistent. Phoenix tried to avoid this by bringing in some veteran players to help guide the youth.

Guards

I believe Isaiah Canaan will start at Point Guard this season. I do not believe Canaan is the best choice, but overall the Suns do not have a lot of great options to run the Point. Last season Canaan played in 19 games for the Suns. He averaged 9.1 points and 4.0 assists per game.

Devin Booker will be the starting Shooting Guard for Phoenix. Booker is an elite offensive threat. He has been dealing with an injury in his right hand, but reports are saying it is just making him more dangerous with his left hand. He averaged 24.9 points per game last season in 54 starts. He has a scary upside offensively.

Last season, Troy Daniels and Shaq Harrison saw quite a bit of time off the bench. Daniels averaged 8.9 points per game, while Harrison averaged 6.6 points and 2.7 rebounds. Both guys are solid role players off the bench. They are more fit as Shooting Guards though, which makes the depth at Point Guard pretty weak.

Phoenix picked up Mikal Bridges and Elie Okobo in this year’s draft. Bridges was drafted tenth overall by Philadelphia and traded over to the Suns. Bridges was part of the Championship season at Villanova. He is a solid shooter and defender. He needs some development, but I believe he could have a nice consistent role off the bench.

Okobo was drafted in the Second Round by the Suns. Okobo is noteworthy because he is more of a true Point Guard role. That means he could see a decent amount of time off the bench behind Canaan. Okobo is really inconsistent on the court but seeing a bunch of time off the bench could help him fix that.

The Suns lost Elfrid Payton and Tyler Ulis to free agency this season. Payton averaged 11.8 points and 6.2 assists per game in 19 starts with the Suns last season. Ulis averaged 7.8 points per game in 71 appearances.

Please Note:
Without a consistent player at Point Guard, I believe the Suns Guard core will struggle. Phoenix do not have players to provide depth at Point Guard. Their depth and starter at Shooting Guard is great, especially if Bridges can break out. This league relies heavily on Point Guard production and without players there, this could be a rough season.

Forwards

Phoenix picked up Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson from Houston in the offseason. Ariza will start at Small Forward. Last season with the Rockets, Ariza averaged 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He was a key player in the Rocket success last season and should bring some of that experience with him to Phoenix.

Ryan Anderson should start at Power Forward to begin the season. He had 9.3 points and 5 rebounds per game last season. He is another player that should have a solid role, but more importantly is a nice leader for the younger guys coming up.

The Suns have T.J. Warren coming in off the bench this season. He started all 65 of his appearances last season. Warren averaged 19.6 points per game last season. He is a solid player inside the arc. Defensively, he is one of the better defenders on this roster. He should still see plenty of time off the bench.

Phoenix has two young Forwards in Josh Jackson and Dragan Bender at the Forward spot. Jackson earned All-Rookie Second Team honors last season. He averaged 13.1 points per game. Bender has not quite lived up to his potential since he was drafted in 2016. Last season, he averaged 6.5 points per game.

The Suns also have Richaun Holmes, who they picked up in a trade with the 76ers. Holmes played as a Power Forward and Center with Philadelphia. His size is more build for a Power Forward, which I believe is where the Suns plan to utilize him. Holmes averaged 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds last season.

The Forward core for the Suns is actually pretty good on paper. Phoenix has a nice balance of veteran leaders and young guys learning underneath them. I believe that Ariza could eventually come off the bench in favor of Josh Jackson. This could be the strongest point for the Suns this season.

Centers

With the first overall pick in this year’s draft, Phoenix drafted Deandre Ayton. Ayton is a huge prospect out of Arizona with a lot of upside. I believe he could be an absolute star right away. He has plenty of room to develop, but he already has great basketball IQ. Get used to Ayton’s name now.

Phoenix Suns - Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler should backup Ayton this season. Chandler should be a nice veteran to take Ayton under his wing. Last season, Chandler averaged 6.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He is a solid defender, but I do not expect him to be a huge use offensively. Chandler could see some starting minutes if Ayton struggles.

Overview

I believe that this year could be another rough one for the Suns. Phoenix has an abundance of young players, but they are without a true starting Point Guard. I do believe we will see some improvement this season, but don’t count on them competing for a playoff spot.

BetOnline has Phoenix listed at a win total of over/under 29 ½. The Suns finished with 21 wins last season. Phoenix has made enough moves to reach 30 wins this season in my opinion. The younger guys developing, and veteran additions should push the Suns rebuild forward this season. The best bet for Phoenix this season is over the win total.

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