It is no secret that the Phoenix Suns are in need of acquiring a long-term starting point guard to add to their core. It is vital that they do not go through another offseason where they fail to get the job done.
The players that the Suns started at the point guard spot during this season were significantly underwhelming. They began the season with Isaiah Canaan as their starting point guard and he ended up starting for 15 games. To make matters worse, they started two rookie second round picks — De’Anthony Melton (31) and Elie Okobo (16) — for a combined 47 games.
Phoenix acquired Tyler Johnson at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Ryan Anderson to the Miami Heat. The goal was to add a veteran talent alongside Devin Booker in the backcourt and that was the case for 12 games before he was sidelined due to injury. The results were underwhelming nevertheless.
There were a handful of games when the Suns had to start Booker at point guard and that role appeared to be quite taxing for him. Next season, there is no excuse for them to be in such a situation again that requires them to play their franchise player out of position due to a complete lack of talent.
Having the NBA’s second longest active playoff drought may promote some urgency for Phoenix to get back into the post-season, but it’s important that they remain patient. Sacrificing assets for aging veterans that will take up a significant amount of salary cap space would not be ideal for their future.
An ideal scenario for the Suns would feature the acquisition of an impactful point guard that at least relatively aligns with the timeline of their core players. There are some options the Suns could pursue if they were in the market for someone that is 28 or older but those do not appear to be ideal for sustainability purposes.
Here are some point guards that the Suns should target in the offseason:
It seems like a long shot for the Suns to be able to sign D’Angelo Russell, but it’s worth trying at least. The first time All-Star is coming off an impressive season with averages of 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. Phoenix would have the only duo in the NBA that averaged at least 20 points and 5 assists this season that features both players being under the age of 25.
The Brooklyn Nets could be in the mix for a star like Kyrie Irving and that could present a real opportunity for Phoenix if Russell were to want to sign with them. It would make sense for Russell to want to come to “The Valley” since Brooklyn would have such a loaded back-court in the event that they were to sign Irving.
The top point guard prospect in the upcoming NBA Draft should be appealing to the Suns. Ja Morant had an explosive sophomore season for Murray State with averages of 24.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists. He should likely be their top target if they fail to land the top overall pick in the NBA Draft lottery because Zion Williamson would be a no-brainer choice.
It is very rare that any prospect would be impactful enough as a rookie to single handedly turn around any team and Morant is no exception. There would still need to be a long-term approach from the Suns organization and that would mean that patience is essential. Regardless, there would be an impressive core in Phoenix.
One of the absolute fastest risers in NBA Draft projections has been Coby White. The 6’5″ guard put together an impressive freshman season with averages of 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists for North Carolina. Depending on the interest level that teams have in trading up in the draft, the Suns could likely trade down to add assets and still select White.
There would likely be a need for an adjustment period for White when playing at the NBA level considering how he turned 19-years-old in February. This selection would position Phoenix well for the future while providing the team with someone who is better than what they have already on their roster.
The final main option in the NBA Draft for a point guard aside from Morant and White is Darius Garland. He was forced to miss all but five games during his lone season with Vanderbilt due to a meniscus injury. He averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists during the few performances that he was able to play at the collegiate level.
While the injury that Garland suffered is not debilitating by any stretch of the imagination, he was unable to prove himself while players like Morant and White were able to surpass him in draft stock. This is a risky option that would require a real adjustment period, but Phoenix could trade down and adding real assets in the process.
A player like Malcolm Brogdon may not be on the NBA’s top jersey sales list, but his fundamental approach to the game would be a welcomed addition to the Suns. He is coming off a very impressive season for the Milwaukee Bucks with averages of 15.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.2 assists while being part of the ’50-40-90 club.’
It is not easy to land restricted free agents from teams that do not have the luxury of landing star players in free agency. If the Suns were interested in Brogdon, they’d need to be aggressive with an offer that would make the Bucks uncomfortable to match since they have to worry about re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.
Pursuing Lonzo Ball appears to be another long shot option that could become much easier depending on what happens in free agency. The Los Angeles Lakers will be aggressive in their pursuit of a superstar but it remains to be seen if they will land one. It was a down year for Ball as his averages fell to 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists and continued to struggle to stay on the court.
It shouldn’t help his trade value that he has missed 46.6% of the Lakers’ regular season games since being drafted and has produced an abysmal 38/31.5/43.7 shooting split in his career. What’s important is whether or not the Suns have belief in Ball’s long-term potential as a player. If he were available in trade talks then they should have the assets to acquire him.
The fact of the matter is that the Suns could have plenty of options if they are seeking a point guard that would align with the timeline of their core. What’s important is that they manage to do something that promotes optimism and engagement from their fanbase while better positioning themselves for the future.