5 Mid-Tier Guards the Phoenix Suns should target in Free Agency
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5 Mid-Tier Guards the Phoenix Suns Should Target in Free Agency

Not since Steve Nash have the Suns had a solid and reliable point guard. They’ve already drafted their future center in DeAndre Ayton and have an All-Star caliber shooting guard in Devin Booker. However, the team desperately needs a point guard.

This problem could be solved if they draft Ja Morant out of Murray State. However, if they’re unable to do that, they’ll have to look to free agency for one. Phoenix will have to do a lot of shuffling in order to clear some cap space. If they can clear the space, here are a few guards the Suns should consider going after in free agency:

Terry Rozier

Although he isn’t one of the A-list guards who will be on the market like Kyrie and D’Angelo, Rozier will be a highly sought after player once the offseason starts. Rozier, out of Louisville, broke onto the national scene last season during the Celtics improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Alongside Jayson Tatum, Rozier was the catalyst for Boston and even went head-to-head with Eric Bledsoe throughout the series.

During the playoffs last season, where Rozier started every game, he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. He also shot 48% from the field and 35% from 3-point range. This season his numbers, as expected, went down as he returned to his backup guard role.

That being said, the sample size on Rozier is large enough to know he is a starting caliber point guard in this league. He’s a tough, stocky guard with sneaky athleticism who won’t back down from anyone. At 25, Rozier is just reaching his prime and would be a great addition to the Sun’s young core.

Coming from the Celtics organization, Rozier may also be able to help turn around the culture for a seemingly downtrodden Phoenix franchise. It’s worth noting, though, that he is a restricted free agent. If Kyrie leaves Boston it’s almost a definite they’ll match whatever offer Rozier gets on the open market.

Shabazz Napier

Coming off of a national championship at UConn there was a lot of buzz around Shabazz Napier. However, that buzz never really translated at the NBA level. Drafted in 2014 with the 24th pick, Napier has bounced around the league quite a bit early on in his career.

This past season with Brooklyn was his fourth team in five seasons. He had previously been in Portland serving as the backup point guard. This past season he was also in a backup role for Brooklyn playing behind D’Angelo Russell.

Napier signed a two-year deal with the Nets with a team-option. This means that Napier can become a free agent if Brooklyn doesn’t pick up the second year of the deal. This may be predicated on what Brooklyn does with Russell or in free agency. If the Nets don’t pick up the option Napier will be available to all teams.

At 27, Shabazz still has a lot to prove. He just hasn’t really been in situations that allowed him to be the main guy at point guard. Taking a chance on Napier could prove to be a good choice. He’s not your prototypical floor general type of guard, but has the ability to get his own shot and the vision to find the open man once he drives. Pick and rolls between him and DeAndre Ayton could quite the combination.

Ricky Rubio

With all the hype surrounding Rubio when he first entered the league, he hasn’t really lived up to expectations. Drafted in 2009 with the fith pick by Minnesota, Rubio didn’t make his debut until 2011. Early on in his career, he would be on SportsCenter every other week with an insane assist. However, Rubio never really made the jump to the next level, mainly from the scoring aspect. Rubio was traded to Utah in the summer of 2017 to help make room to sign Jimmy Butler.

Next season will be Rubio’s ninth in the league and what you see is what you get. To put it mildly, he is a watered down Steve Nash. Ricky is a fairly decent floor general with excellent court vision. For his career, he averages just under 8 assists per game — though, his assists have declined over the past two seasons.

At 28, Rubio still has some prime years left. He would be a good veteran presence in the locker room who could also provide some guidance to young guards on the Suns. He’s also someone Phoenix wouldn’t have to commit to long term. Possibly a one or two deal with a team option.

Emmanuel Mudiay

Struggling to find his fit in the league, Mudiay seemed to find his stride after being dealt to the Knicks midway through last season. Mudiay was the seventh pick in the 2015 draft by the Nuggets. He was supposed to be their point guard of the future. However, things didn’t go according to plan. Turnovers were a big problem for Mudiay early on in Denver. The arrival and rise of Jamal Murray didn’t help Mudiay’s stock either.

Being traded to the Knicks might have been the thing to rejuvenate Mudiay. Coming into this season the unofficial message was that the Knicks were tanking for the No. 1 pick. This cleared the way for a lot of playing time for the Knicks young players. Mudiay took advantage of it having career highs in scoring and field goal percentage.

Mudiay is a restricted free agent and the Knicks probably won’t make a decision on him until after the draft. He’s an attacking guard with great athleticism who can hit the occasional 3 pointer. He’s 23-years-old, which would fit him right into the young core of Phoenix.

Darren Collison

At 31, Collison’s best days are slowly fading away but that doesn’t mean he can’t be useful. Collison has been on the Indiana Pacers the past two season and each year they have gotten to the playoffs. They may have been able to fare better this postseason if not for Victor Oladipo going down with a season-ending injury halfway through the year.

The Pacers have a lot of players who will enter the offseason unsigned and Collison is one of them. Their front office will have to make the decision on whether to double down to try and run the same squad back for a playoff run, or break it down and rebuild around Oladipo.

The 10-year veteran out of UCLA has been nothing but consistent his whole career. Collison was never in the upper echelon of point guards, but has done enough to be a starting caliber player all these years. For his career, Collison averages around 12 points and 5 assists per game. He’s also a very reliable free throw shooter, shooting at a clip of about 85%.

If the Pacers don’t bring back Collison, then the Suns should seriously consider signing him. A veteran guard who has been on both rebuilding teams and playoff teams. Along with his shooting, he’s also an above average defender. Great at jumping passing lanes and causing deflection. It’s a big reason why he has averaged over 1 steal per game for his career. An experienced guard who can contribute on both ends of the court will be a nice bridge until the younger guards on the roster can develop.