Let’s call a spade a spade: the Phoenix Suns are a disaster.
They haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, they haven’t won 30 games since 2015, they collected just 19 victories this past season and their front office doesn’t seem to have a clue.
The more things change around the rest of the league, the more things in Phoenix remain the same, as the Suns are, once again, not even remotely close to even resembling a playoff contender heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
But, since they are a rebuilding team, it’s time for some guys to either prove that they can be cornerstone pieces or that they just flat out belong, period.
So, here are the three Suns players under the most pressure going into next season.
3. Kelly Oubre
Phoenix traded for Kelly Oubre back in December, and earlier this offseason, it traded away T.J. Warren in order to maintain enough flexibility to re-sign Oubre. Okay then.
The Suns then proceeded to re-sign Oubre on a two-year, $30 million deal.
Not sure what Phoenix sees in Oubre that it didn’t see in Warren, who, when healthy, is better by every stretch of the imagination, but nevertheless, here we are.
It’s not that Oubre stinks. He did average 16.8 points per game in 40 games with the Suns this past season, but he did it on only so-so efficiency, making just 32.5 percent of his triples (right around his career average of 32.1 percent) and posting a true-shooting percentage of 55.5 percent.
Oh, and he had a minus-6.2 net rating on the season.
If Oubre doesn’t began showing some sort of progression other than counting numbers this coming year, Phoenix is going to regret this decision.
2. Devin Booker
Here’s the thing with Devin Booker: it’s hard to tell if he’s really that good.
Yes, he averaged an eye-opening 26.6 points per game on solid efficiency this past season, and yes, he is a good playmaker, but he is also an abject disaster defensively and is a big part of the reason why the Suns were the second-worst defensive team in the league in 2018-19.
He has also had a difficult time staying healthy, as he played in just 54 games in 2017-18 and 64 contests this past year.
We know he can fill it up in a hurry, Klay Thompson style, but is it possible that Booker is just an empty stats guy?
It remains to be seen, and Booker is still just 22 years old, but are yet to find out if Booker is a guy who genuinely makes his teammates better or if he is just a good player in Fantasy.
1. Deandre Ayton
With Luka Doncic and Trae Young capturing everyone’s attention this past year, Deandre Ayton, who was actually the No. 1 overall pick last summer, was somewhat forgotten.
The thing is, Ayton had a very impressive rookie campaign, averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor.
But, on the other side of the coin, Ayton’s offensive repertoire has looked rather limited thus far, as he has shown little to no ability to stretch the floor, and defensively, he is pretty terrible.
There is no reason why a 7-foot-1 freak athlete should be averaging less than a block per game, but this is exactly what Ayton did during his rookie campaign.
Ayton was compared to David Robinson coming out of college, but if he doesn’t expand his offensive game or improve defensively, he might just end up being Al Jefferson.