There’s no denying it. The Phoenix Suns number one priority this offseason is landing a point guard whether it comes through trade, free agency or the draft. The market for PG’s is actually rather deep on a broad scale, but when you use the process of elimination the options can dwindle quickly, so it’s important the Suns have a bulletproof plan in place entering the offseason.
There are three areas that they can tap into to find their guy; free agency, trade and the draft. If they decide on drafting a point guard I truly hope they sign a veteran stop gap to a one or two year deal to help ease Ja Morant or Darius Garland into a starting role. I’d prefer if they got an established point guard, because next year’s point guard draft class is absolutely stacked, so they can always go that route if they land an older point guard.
Unrealistic free agents that won’t be included; Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker.
The format for this will be 5 x 5 x 5. My five top targets from trade, free agency and the draft. If they fail to land one of these 15 point guards, then you can probably label this offseason as a failure barring some unforeseen major move happening.
5 Trade Targets:
#1: Jrue Holiday- If you’re sick of losing like me, this should be the number one target. Jrue is under contract for 3 more seasons and would instantly change the culture of the Suns with his tenacious defense and underrated scoring ability. He may not be a “true” point guard, but that doesn’t matter when you have a play-maker like Devin Booker. Could you imagine De’Anthony Melton getting to learn from him these next three years? It’s a match made in heaven. Jrue averaged 21.2 PPG, 7.7 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.6 SPG, on a .555 True Shooting percentage last season for the Pelicans.
#2: Lonzo Ball- Ball might be the best fit in the long run, as his defense and elite passing/vision would be ideal additions to the team. Say what you want about his father, but I’m still a believer in Lonzo and think there’s a lot more untapped potential that he hasn’t had a chance to display just yet. His size, ability to defend at a high level and rebounding ability would all be welcome sights for the Suns, and his playmaking would help Deandre Ayton take a gigantic leap in year 2.
#3: Mike Conley- I’ve admittedly gone back and forth on Conley. I wouldn’t trade a top 3 pick for him, but if they fell further in the lottery down to 6 or 7 it’s something to think about. You’d obviously target Jrue and Lonzo first, but if you can’t strike a deal from that range then Conley is the next best thing available. I believe he still has a couple more years of high-level basketball to be played, and he’d form a very dynamic duo with Devin Booker in the backcourt and help change the culture in Phoenix.
#4: Kyle Lowry- If Toronto blows things up due to Kawhi leaving or just wants to unload Lowry’s contract and move another direction then Lowry could be an option for Phoenix. I’m not sure what it would take to get him, but they’d have to unload some salary to take on his $33,000,000 contract that expires after next season. If they could ship Tyler Johnson, TJ Warren, the Milwaukee pick and their 2019 2nd round pick for him that would be something to consider. At worst, Lowry is a test-run for a year to see what this roster looks like with a competent point guard.
#5: Spencer Dinwiddie- Dinwiddie is on a team-friendly deal and would provide a significant upgrade at the point guard spot. Brooklyn could be looking to shed some salary entering free agency with high expectations, so the Suns could benefit by taking on his deal even though it’s not a large contract. He isn’t a star and may not have the “big name” appeal as the first four guys on this list, but he’s a high-IQ guard that can score when he needs to, play off the ball and help space the floor. His assist to turnover ratio is always solid, and his steady play at the point guard spot would be a welcome sight in Phoenix.
5 Free Agent Targets:
#1: Malcolm Brogdon- I know what you’re thinking. “WHY IS BROGDON RANKED ABOVE DLO?!” Let me explain. Brogdon is likely to command at least $6-8 million less annually and offers a much better skillset to compliment Devin Booker than D’Angelo Russell does. He’s extremely efficient, can shoot from three, plays on and off the ball and is one of the better defensive guards in the entire NBA. From a value standpoint I’d much rather give Brogdon a 4/64 deal than pay Russell near-max money.
#2: D’Angelo Russell- Russell is coming off an all-star appearance while leading the upstart Nets to the playoffs and he’s best friends with Devin Booker. Easy choice to give him ALL the money, right? Not so fast. If you pay Russell near-max money which he will almost assuredly demand then you are financially strapped for the foreseeable future. Even if they moved a few contracts around and brought back Kelly Oubre Jr. as well they’d pretty much be done with roster moves outside of signing players to veteran minimums. If you believe a core of Russell/Booker/Ayton as your big 3 is good enough to develop into a title contender, then by all means go for it. I’m not sure I’m there yet, and it’s important to remember that defense kinda matters.
#3: Patrick Beverley- Beverley makes sense no matter what the Suns do in the draft. He would be the “Valley Man” that could groom the “Valley Boys” as they look to change the culture in Phoenix. He’s a disruptive defensive menace that challenges his teammates and can score when needed. His value isn’t so much in the per-game stats as it is from the eye-test and influence he has on others. He reminds me a bit of a point guard version of PJ Tucker in that sense.
#4: Ricky Rubio- Rubio is a steady veteran that would improve them from the spot they were at a year ago at point guard. I’m not sure how much steam this fit could gain now that Igor is gone (Utah connection), but if they pay him well and offer him a starting spot, it could be enough to make the veteran point guard feel wanted and help mentor a young Phoenix team.
#5: Darren Collison- Collison and Rubio are both in the category of veteran point guards that aren’t overwhelmingly talented, but could offer stability where Phoenix needs it most. He wouldn’t be a bad one or two year stop-gap option to target if they miss out of their top targets.
5 Draft Targets:
#1: Ja Morant- Morant is an excellent passer and he has a lot of flash to his game, but there are still concerns about his defense and finishing ability at the next level. I think he can easily develop into a star in 3-4 years from now, but the problem is the Suns want to get better now. If they take Morant the best route to go is to ease him into the league, bringing him off the bench for the first year or at least until he shows he’s ready to start.
#2: Darius Garland- Garland is one of the more interesting names in this draft from an upside standpoint. His untimely injury may have cost him from being a lock in the top 5 which I believe he would’ve been if he stayed healthy. The modern NBA is all about shot creation and creating for others. He has a little bit of Lillard in him, but that comparison is a bit much considering the tiny sample size we have of him. He is one of the few boom or bust candidates that I believe has true star-power in this draft. Any time a guard with excellent handles can hit shots from 30+ feet they have my undivided attention.
#3: Coby White- White has an interesting combination of size and quickness along with a balanced scoring attack. I’m not sure he’s the best playmaker in the world or as good of a defender as you’d like with his size/frame, but he could be someone to watch if Phoenix drops to 6 or 7 and keeps their pick. I prefer Morant and Garland over him pretty easily, but outside of those 2 he’s the clear number 3 point guard in this draft.
#4: Ty Jerome- After the top 3 PG’s in this draft, guys like Jerome and Ponds are early 2nd round targets to look at. I’m not sure they’ll draft a PG in the 2nd round given they just took 2 in last year’s draft, but if they do decide to go that route then Jerome is a name to watch if he slips into the early 2nd from a value standpoint. Ultimately, I don’t see it happening.
#5: Shamorie Ponds- Ponds may be one of the more under looked players in this draft. If I’m a team that needs a backup point guard in the early 20’s then I’m all over Ponds. He can score the ball from three levels, has great anticipation defensively and can make plays happen. He projects as a firepower sixth man off the bench with some starter potential if he hits. I do not see him as an option for Phoenix.