2018-2019 Off the Glass Team Preview Series: Phoenix Suns
The 2018-2019 NBA season starts October 16th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Phoenix Suns.
21-61, 5th in the Pacific Division.
There is really no other way to put it. Last season, the Phoenix Suns were the worst team in the NBA and went on a streak that included only 2 wins between January 22nd and April 1st. Trading Eric Bledsoe to the Bucks for Greg Monroe gave the team a short-lived burst of energy, but he was waived just a few months later. Coach Earl Watson was fired after 3 games, and Jay Triano took over as the interim head coach but would not be brought back this year.
Brandon Knight (PG); Alex Len (C); Marquese Chriss (PF)
Deandre Ayton (C); Trevor Ariza (SF); Mikal Bridges (SF); Igor Kokoskov (Coach)
Player to Watch:
Devin Booker (SG)
The Phoenix Suns are ready to forget about the dysfunction of years’ past and are ready for their young stars to prove themselves among the second-tier teams in the west. Coming into his fourth year, shooting guard Devin Booker needs to become the driving force of this team and break the curse of underperformance by former Kentucky guards (John Wall, Tyler Ulis, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight). He is coming off of a career-high year in 2018 as well as a new contract. The recent hand surgery however puts a halt on the growth of this team. The Suns will need rookie point guards Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton to step up and carry the load in Booker’s absence.
To be successful in the NBA, your team needs role players. For the Suns, the addition of Trevor Ariza fits this mold perfectly. Ariza brings toughness and grit to the young frontcourt and will pair nicely with DeAndre Ayton and Josh Jackson. He also has extensive playoff experience, something most of this team lacks.
Trading Brandon Knight for Ryan Anderson was an interesting deal, to say the least. In the Western Conference Finals last season, Rockets fan were holding their breath when Anderson came in the game, so it will be interesting to see how much of a role the Suns give him, especially down the stretch.
Worst Case Scenario:
The Suns repeat their dreadful 2017-18 season, Booker does not recover from hand surgery in a timely fashion, Ariza and the frontcourt cannot find their rhythm, and they get eaten up in their division.
Best Case Scenario:
Booker and company get going early and solve the chemistry issue from last season. Winning games against other sub .500 teams and Eastern conference opponents will greatly benefit the squad as well.
30-52, 4th in Pacific Division