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Evaluating the Phoenix Suns Roster for 2020-21
This team’s ceiling is a lot higher than most. After going undefeated during an eight-game stint in Disney, the Phoenix Suns roster received a significant facelift in the offseason.
Nothing against Ricky Rubio, but CP3 is a genuine upgrade at the point guard position. To be fair, Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t even participate during the bubble, so perhaps his loss isn’t as substantial as one might think.
To get a firmer grip on the situation, I’ll now shine a microscope on the collection of players and assess the Suns roster.
Phoenix Suns 2021-21 Roster
- Key Additions: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, Jalen Smith, Langston Galloway
- Key Losses: Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky
- PG – Chris Paul
- SG – Devin Booker
- SF – Mikal Bridges
- PF – Jae Crowder
- C – Deandre Ayton
Luring Chris Paul in from Oklahoma City could pay massive dividends in the upcoming season. With Devin Booker’s emergence as a star and Deandre Ayton getting better in the post, a proven commodity at the point guard position was exactly what this team needed.
Nothing against Ricky Rubio, but the Suns coaching staff will be delighted to have CP3 running the ship on offense.
"There were times I feel like I took the paint brush out of his hand." #Suns coach Monty Williams on when he coached Chris Paul back when the two were at New Orleans.— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 1, 2020
Felt the team could've been better had he not got in Paul's way. Looking forward to reuniting with him. pic.twitter.com/LwpDmUQi4X
Kelly Oubre’s departure cleared the way to bring Jae Crowder in on a deal that’ll pay the 30-year-old forward north of $29 million over the next three seasons. Swingman Mikal Bridges is a tremendous asset – especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Don’t look now, but the starting lineup in “The Valley of the Sun” is one of the most balanced in the NBA.
Several Options Off the Bench
- Dario Saric
- Jalen Smith
- Cameron Johnson
- Cameron Payne
- E’Twaun Moore
- Langston Galloway
- Jevon Carter
Dario Saric should get plenty of run thanks to his ability to space the floor. At 6’10” with a dependable stroke from outside, “Super Dario” gives coach Williams a legitimate “stretch-four” who has averaged double-figures in each of his five seasons as a professional.
Speaking of a 6’10” power forward off the bench, Jalen Smith was blossoming during his second year at Maryland. The 10th overall pick in November stuffed the box score as a sophomore (15.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg) and will look to join forces with Ayton to form a deadly “1-2 punch” in the paint.
I love how Jalen Smith plays. Dude hustles so hard. Bright Future Suns fans are gonna fall in love with his shooting ability, you're gonna see Monty Williams running him off screens. A fun, quirky player. Average athlete, needs to improve on D, but I'd bet on high effort players.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 19, 2020
Don’t forget that Cameron Johnson, the 11th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was a big-time contributor in Orlando, averaging 13.3 points playing more than 32 minutes per game.
Phoenix Suns Best Player – Devin Brooker
No disrespect to Chris Paul, but CP3 turns 36 in May and is a step or two slower than he was in his prime. On the other hand, Devin Booker just recently turned 24 and has already posted four straight seasons averaging more than 22 ppg.
The 6’5” shooting guard is about as versatile of a scorer as you’ll find in the league, and most importantly, he’s incredibly clutch.
Booker can hurt defenses as a spot-up shooter, but he’s also one of the best in the NBA at creating his own shot and slashing to the basket. The former NBA Three-Point champ (2018) is a solid bet to be honored as an All-NBA player in 2020-21.
The X-Factor in Phoenix – Jalen Smith
Many people rolled their eyes when the Suns organization plucked Jalen Smith off the board at #10. However, James Jones has all the confidence in the world that Smith was the right pick.
Those who didn’t get a chance to see Jalen flourish in College Park know that the rookie power forward is more than just a banger in the post. Smith shot over 41% from beyond the arc last season during Big-Ten play.
Perhaps he’s the missing link to a Phoenix Suns roster that was already among the most exciting in basketball.
Final Assessment of the Phoenix Suns Roster
This team has a chance to be scary good in 2020-21. Just think – a squad that went 8-0 in the bubble added a surefire Hall of Fame point guard and a budding star via the lottery. Plus, the Suns roster is equipped with a sufficient amount of depth.
Case in point – guys like Jevon Carter, Langston Galloway, and Cameron Payne will allow Chris Paul plenty of time to rest.
It’s more than apparent that Devin Booker is a superstar, so don’t be surprised if Phoenix poses as a sincere challenger in the West.