The extent Phoenix Suns need a Point Guard was highlighted here days before news of Devin Booker’s hand surgery hit early this morning.
The fourth year Guard has had surgery and will miss training camp as a result with his participation in the early part of the 2018-2019 season under threat. This is terrible for Suns who view this season as a critical year in the organization’s quest to end a seven year playoff-less streak.
In the Draft, Phoenix got DeAndre Ayton and traded for Mikal Bridges to provide depth at Center and Wing positions. Both are highly rated young players who will be key in ending the team’s playoff drought. That should be right around the 2019-2020 season but whatever developmental steps the team plans to have the roster make this season, Booker’s injury knocks it down hard.
On the market, Phoenix got one of the league’s best defenders and good three point shooters in Trevor Ariza for a one year $15 million deal. Ariza’s presence is necessary as the veteran player and former NBA Champion can impart the young group with extensive knowledge gathered over a decade’s presence in the league.
At courtside, Igor Kokoskov was signed after leading Slovenia to the European Championship crown in 2017.This is where the good news ends, Phoenix Suns fell short of fixing its biggest problem; Point Guard. Coincidentally, the position is the most competitive in the league with a chunk of stellar names headlining the spot.
Suns lacked the right personnel to man the spot and per reports, have been in conversation with Point Guards ranging from average Guards like Spencer Dinwiddie to elite Guards like Damian Lillard. With very few Guards available on the market, Suns have little option other than to trade for one from a league competitor. The matter was quite difficult to pull off without sacrificing a healthy deal given Phoenix’s situation as a team only an elite Guard away from a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Despite having Booker and a slew of players ready to play in the position, none improves Phoenix chances of making it beyond the regular season. Players like Elie Okobo, De’Anthony Melton and Shaquille Harrison have yet to show experience playing the position.
While Booker is quite seasoned in the league heading to his fourth year in the NBA, he operates best as a Shooting Guard who leads the team through his ability to get buckets. Executing plays expertly is a difficult trick to pull off in a league with long and fast limbs covering a small area. Booker lacks the utter worldly athleticism of John Wall and Russell Westbrook and supreme playmaking ability of James Harden and Chris Paul to excel as Point Guard.
Now his presence isn’t even guaranteed at the start of the season which puts Phoenix Suns need for an elite Guard into overdrive. With training camp starting in a fortnight, Phoenix must work to settle the delicate matter. Booker’s injury changes the scope of a trade as Suns must deal away a wealth of talent to facilitate any trade with opposing teams well aware of Phoenix’s precarious position. Stuck without Booker and an NBA ready Point Guard, teams will demand a lot for even an average player like Terry Rozier.
A trade could possibly include a young player and a future draft pick; for All Star players like Lillard and Kemba Walker, Portland Trailblazers and Charlotte Hornets will likely demand a highly rated young player and very high draft pick. Teams are likely to demand TJ Warren or Josh Jackson and a future top 10 pick which will affect Phoenix chances to contend in the future.
Future impacts of deals are rarely projected in the present but they are very much necessary in team performance down the line. Detroit Pistons sharp fall following sustained success with the 2004 Championship winning group is closely related to Pistons terrible decision to draft Darko Milicic. The Serb got picked second overall behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Having Carmelo on Pistons roster would have given the team a strong foundation to build after the Chauncey Billups-Ben Wallace era.
Having two prominent members get inducted into the Hall of Fame over the weekend in Grant Hill and Steve Nash shows how far Phoenix has fallen in recent years. Missing out on a solid Point Guard and the Suns franchise player puts Phoenix in a tight spot that could hurt the team’s chances to compete in the present and future.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter