The Phoenix Suns finished the 2021-22 NBA season with the best record in the NBA. But, as evident by their second-round exit in the postseason at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, even the best teams could use some upgrades during the offseason.
The Suns were embarrassed in Game 7 on their home court by the Mavericks, but haven’t done much to change their roster this offseason. The only player that signed that wasn’t on the team last season was Damion Lee, formerly of the Golden State Warriors. JaVale McGee, Aaron Holiday and Frank Kaminsky all departed in free agency.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as the Suns were involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes after he requested his trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Alas, their pursuit of him essentially ended when Deandre Ayton agreed to an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, which the Suns matched.
But, given the level that they have reached already, a superstar acquisition likely isn’t needed for them to win the title. If they upgrade on the margins, that should be enough.
One scout that spoke to NBA Analysis Network believes they should be targeting a big wing to pair with Mikal Bridges to really unlock and take advantage of his skills.
“Part of what makes Mikal Bridges such a dynamic defender is that he has such long arms and great instincts in the passing lanes. I think the Suns would benefit a lot from getting a bigger wing that can handle guarding the main guy while he wreaks havoc as a low defender more. Luka Doncic was able to use his size to his advantage a lot when Bridges was guarding him. But if he was the low defender, he could be like a free safety guarding 1-with-1 on the weak side to take away the deep kick out. Ayton’s rim protection would become more valuable as well.”
To be fair to Bridges, there aren’t many, if any, people that can slow down Luka Doncic. He is going to get his production no matter what as he is just that talented of a player. The point the scout was making, however, is accurate.
Allowing Bridges to play off the ball more could make the team more dangerous defensively. Being able to get out into the open court with live ball turnovers would make life easier for everyone. Sometimes, as the scout also pointed out, creating offense was an issue for the Suns.
“I think the Suns could also benefit from getting another shot creator. Chris Paul has shown that he will not take many risks in big games at this stage in his career. He tends to wait until the fourth quarter to start getting aggressive, and even then, there are times he doesn’t. The pressure was on Booker a lot during games against Dallas. They need another threat that can get a bucket.”
While Chris Paul has shown that he can still get the job done in stretches, the scout makes a good point. Too often creating offense fell on the shoulders of Devin Booker and teams were able to just load up on him.
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If you were able to take Booker out of the game, you were able to knock Phoenix out of rhythm. Adding someone such as Jordan Clarkson or Eric Gordon would be a huge benefit in that regard and not cost the Suns a ton in terms of assets to build a trade package with.
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