The Phoenix Suns first 4 games
Although the season is only four games old, we are learning some things about the Phoenix Suns. Some things are very good and some things are not very good.
I’m struggling to find out the Suns identity. Are they a young team that are going to play and develop their young talent by mixing them with veterans to help the young pups grow or are they a team that’s trying to show their fan base that they are serious about being a win now team?
1) They start a lineup that includes veterans Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson. Ariza is understandable. He is veteran that gives them a very strong wing defender and is still very dangerous from the three point line.
2) They start Ryan Anderson at power forward and he is only giving them 21.5 minutes per game. Shooting 36% from the field and only 20% from the three point line. One of Anderson’s strengths was that he used to be a solid rebounder and one of the things he said he was looking forward to was getting back to doing that. But he’s only averaging 3.5 rebounds per game and is a liability on defense.
Although Dragan Bender has not produced nor progressed the way many hoped for, 2 DNP’s six total minutes played and 0 points is teaching us nothing about in game talent. Especially when shooting is supposed to be the one thing that he can do well. Maybe some of the Anderson minutes can go here.
3) The Suns are struggling at the point guard position and this comes as a surprise to no one. They traded every point guard on their roster with any experience. Isaiah Canaan is a true professional but he’s not a starting NBA point guard and no stat proves that more than 3.5 assist per game. With Devin Booker and Deandre Jordan, that number should easily be higher.
Rookie point guard Elie Okobo has only played in 2 games and didn’t dress for the blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? Isn’t now the time to get him in these games and allow him to take some live bullets. We all know he has to improve getting players in the right sets, but why not learn with team he may be leading the next few years.
4) Devin Booker cannot continue to be the leading playmaker on this team. Yes, he’s averaging 6.8 assists per game but he’s also averaging 5.5 turnovers. But he’s also averaging 27.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds. He is also the person who uses the most energy on defense because the opposing team go at him consistently. That’s a lot to ask him to do on a nightly basis. The worry is he can and may breakdown as he already has a strained left hamstring.
5) Deandre Ayton is another bright spot with Booker. The overall number 1 pick is averaging a double double with 16.3 points an 10.8 rebounds per game. He is still growing defensively and having Tyson Chandler to back him up and continue to teach him will only help.
6) The on court chemistry Ayton has developed with Josh Jackson is positive as well. Jackson is playing very well defensively and it’s staring to click offensively. And if anything, Jackson could stand to get even more aggressive on that end.
7) TJ Warren has become an effortless shooter from the three point line and is giving the Suns 17.5 points per game off the bench.
8) Jamal Crawford is an incredible player and a former three time Sixth Man of the Year award winner but is he what the Suns really need or would these minutes be best served elsewhere?
We are only four games in and there is a lot to learn about this team. But for the first time in a long time, this team seems like they have a plan.
Head Coach Igor Kokoskov is an incredible coach and teacher. It’ just a matter of time before the rotations get tighter and he finds out exactly who will give him what. Now all we have to do is be patient and let the young team develop.
We need to stop sideline coaching and let him do the real thing. Oh wait, that includes me. So I guess I’m shutting up as well.
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