The Phoenix Suns have been one of the most hapless franchises in the NBA for nearly a decade. The team has not made a playoff appearance since the 2009-10 season. The Suns have failed to finish above .500 for five years. When the Suns acquired the number one draft pick last year and used it to select Deandre Ayton, Suns fans salivated over the pairing of Ayton and star guard Devin Booker. Unfortunately, the pairing wasn’t nearly as successful as hoped for. The Suns finished the season with their second-worst record in franchise history. In short, it is time for Phoenix to make the trek back to relevance, and there is one free agent that can help them achieve this: Tobias Harris. But why would the Suns splurge on this specific free agent?
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While the team boasts one of the better scorers in the league in Devin Booker, he didn’t shoot the ball very well beyond the arc during the season. He finished as a 33 percent 3-point shooter, about three percentage points below the league average. Most NBA fans know that Booker is an excellent shooter, and it’s a little odd to see such a low number there. However, Booker is forced to take a lot of tough, off-the-dribble, isolation threes, which lowers his percentage considerably.
Here is where Harris comes in. The talented forward shot nearly 40 percent from distance during the regular season. He would give the Suns another dead-eye shooter to spread the floor and give Ayton and Booker more space to operate. His presence would also significantly boost the Suns’ 3-point percentage as a team; they finished dead last in the NBA.
You can’t win in today’s NBA without making the long ball. The Suns need Harris to get them on the right track from downtown.
At the start of the 2018-19 season, the Suns were the fourth-youngest team in the league. The team has a significant lack of veteran leadership. Jamal Crawford is the only player on the team who is over the age of 30. This lack of a veteran presence shows on the floor. The Suns were prone to losing focus and blowing leads, as well as having some games when they didn’t show up to play.
Tobias Harris has been in the league for 11 seasons and can anchor the team when it shows flashes of immaturity. Harris has been praised by teammates for being a consummate professional, and that is exactly what the Suns need at the moment. Phoenix will be adding yet another rookie in the draft in the offseason, making the team even younger. Adding Harris can help balance this out.
The Suns finished second to last in offensive rating during the regular season. They managed a meager 105.3 points per game, topping only the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. Besides Booker, the team doesn’t have a proven scorer. Ayton has the potential, but it might be a few seasons before he is consistently putting up big numbers.
Harris has proven beyond a doubt that he is a scorer. He is more than capable of scoring as a spot-up shooter, but more importantly, he can create with the ball. Earlier this season with the Los Angeles Clippers, he did most of the scoring on the starting squad. He averaged 20.9 points on 50 percent shooting from the field, some impressive numbers by any standard. These numbers would make him the second leading scorer on the Suns, again taking some pressure off Devin Booker.
In short, adding Tobias Harris make a lot of sense for the sliding Suns. He has proven that he is a top talent in the league, and his skill set fits into Phoenix’s roster. If Harris doesn’t re-sign with the Sixers, Phoenix should take a good look at the dynamic wing.