With training camp wrapped up and preseason about to tip off everyone is filled with that preseason optimism right now, myself included. I will be projecting key player’s stat-lines and the win-loss record for the Phoenix Suns this season while I still have a shred of hope left in my veins.
We will also have some W-L record predictions from a wide variety of Suns twitter featured in here.
Let’s start with what I think the final roster/depth chart will look like:
C- Deandre Ayton – Aron Baynes
PF- Dario Saric – Frank Kaminsky – Cheick Diallo
SF- Kelly Oubre Jr. – Mikal Bridges – Cameron Johnson
SG- Devin Booker – Tyler Johnson – Elie Okobo
PG- Ricky Rubio- Ty Jerome – Jevon Carter
*G-League- Jalen Lecque* don’t expect him up any time soon
Note: I expect Diallo to play both center and power forward, same for Kaminsky depending on the matchups. Ty Jerome and Tyler Johnson seem to have the backup guards spots locked up from everything we’ve heard in camp, and I’m anxious to see if Monty sticks with a strict 9 or 10 man rotation and how he installs his rotations.
AZ Sports Zone’s 19/20′ W-L Prediction: 35-47
Some members of #SunsTwitter Predictions are listed below: make sure to give them all a follow! *Link attached to their twitter handle.
(Listed from greatest to least)
- 51-31: BaynesFanClub
- 41-41: Jon Bloom
- 40-42: Suns Reddit
- 37-45: Mike Vigil
- 36-46: Andrew Leezus
- 35-47: Sreekar
- 35-47: Brendon Kleen
- 35-47: Max McCauley
- 34-48: Dave King
- 34-48: Suns Insider
- 33-49: Sam Cooper
- 33-49: Espo
- 33-49: Max Hodder
- 32-50: David Nash
- 31-51: Gerald Bourguet
- 30-52: Alessandro Cozzi
- 29-53: Kellan Olson
- 27-55: Kris Hanson
Feel free to bookmark this article or screenshot these predictions. Going to be fun to look back at once the season concludes to see how right or wrong we all were.
The Western Conference is ridiculously deep from top to bottom, and there won’t be any “easy” or guaranteed wins, including a feisty young Memphis team. They’re going to have to grind it out just to get to 35 wins and upset a few teams while taking advantage of the weaker teams in the East when they get the chance to play them.
Still– if they can reach the 35 win mark or close to it– that would be a ~16 game-win improvement and ultimately be viewed as a successful season. The first step of any rebuild is getting back to a stage of respectability.
Statistical predictions for the projected top 8 key rotation players along w/ some expectations below:
Deandre Ayton: 20.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 2.0 APG.
I believe Deandre will be ultra efficient yet again, I’m talking .58+ TS% even if he attempts a good amount of threes. The Rubio addition is going to do wonders for the big fella in his second year. I’m really not all that worried about his offensive game in general.
What will make his season a breakout year will be whether or not he’s making major strides defensively and picks up the intensity on a consistent basis. We saw flashes of it last year and how when he’s engaged he can take over games, but this year it needs to be a constant theme rather than a “once in a while” occurrence.
Hopefully being in competitive games more frequently this year will help from an effort standpoint, and not just for him but the entire team. The assists per-game should hover around two per game with the increase in shooting around him.
Dario Saric: 14.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.0 3PFGM.
Dario has every reason in the world to have a breakout season. He’s 25 years old and entering a contract year in a role where he figures to have the green light. His impact will come down to how efficiently he can shoot the three-ball, because they’re going to need him to be what they thought Ryan Anderson was going to be for them last season. His career-high in points per game is 14.6, and I expect him to challenge that this year.
I also believe Dario is a bit of a better playmaker than he’s given credit for. I don’t think he’s a point forward by any stretch, but a smart decision-maker that can make creative passes in a snap. With a little more freedom than he had in Philly we should see some of that creation ability right away.
Kelly Oubre Jr.: 14.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG.
Look, I love Oubre and everything he brought to the team last year as far as the positive impact in the community and in the locker room, BUT…. you have to temper expectations due to how depleted the team was last year.
Now that Phoenix sports a much more balanced roster he figures to still have a significant role, but the usage won’t be as high as it was when he had some big games down the stretch last season. We need to see better shot selection and decision-making from the 23 year old for him to take things to the next level. If he can avoid the occasional tunnel-vision and makes strides defensively then you’re looking at a very productive, energetic wing that’ll hype the entire team and city of Phoenix up.
Devin Booker: 26.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG.
On the surface it may look like I’m predicting Booker to *very* slightly regress from last season, but I think we’re going to see him play with a team that has more offensive options than he’s used to and he’ll be asked to do less at times, which is a good thing.
I believe we’re going to see a bump in efficiency across the board, mainly due to him improving from his dismal 32% three point shooting last year. His assists dipping a bit will be a product of alternating control of the offense with Rubio at times, but I didn’t make it too dramatic since (hopefully) the improved teammates/shooting will offset the slightly lower usage he will assume, along with the potential of staggering Rubio/Booker at times. #PointBook
If Phoenix isn’t a total embarrassment and Booker is healthy I think this could be the year he makes his first all-star game.
Ricky Rubio: 12.5 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG.
Rubio should get a bit of more freedom to do things his way than he did in Utah’s system, which I think will boost his assists numbers and *occasionally* allow him to do a bit more offensively. He will share the ball with Booker when it comes to a creation standpoint, but the increase in freedom should give him a bump in the assist totals.
I look forward to watching him get everyone involved. He should especially help sophomores Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges in their development, as it’s going to be night and day from their rookie seasons.
Mikal Bridges: 11.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG.
I am a Mikal stan, and I’m predicting that he will lead the league in deflections and finish top 5 in steals after finishing top 8 in both last year. The real question for him to answer will be: can he shoot like he did in college? If he can bump his 3PFG% to the 37-39 range that would be a huge boost for this Suns offense and could be the difference between him making a major leap, or miniscule one.
Prediction: he will eventually overtake Kelly Oubre Jr. as the starting small forward, and it has more to do with how good Mikal is than it does Kelly.
Tyler Johnson: 10.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.3 3PFG.
Tyler Johnson provided some stability in the backcourt last year upon his arrival after a slow start during his transition period understandably. Having him as the 3rd guard in the rotation should greatly benefit the second unit and help take some pressure off Ty Jerome as well assuming they share the court together.
Aron Baynes: 7.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 BPG.
A career-high in points per game, rebounds AND assists? Yup. Baynes should see a slight increase in both minutes and opportunity (to shoot) so I think we could see an occasional big offensive game from him. There have been some hints that we could see both him and Deandre Ayton on the court at the same time as well.
We didn’t bring him in for his shooting though, his real impact will come from his toughness and physicality along with mentoring Ayton to pick up on those little things and become a better pro. Very much looking forward to all the charges he will draw and the brick-wall screens he’ll set.
I’m not going to do a statistical prediction for Cameron Johnson or Ty Jerome mainly due to the fact that I don’t think either will play a lot consistently, at least not right away. They will both get their chances to play, make no mistake about it… but I wouldn’t count on either making a huge impact early on barring an injury.
Disclaimer: Cam Johnson will be starting in the preseason, but once Oubre and Bridges return the minutes available at the wing position will be scarce. I’m looking forward to see how effective he is with the first unit, because his floor spacing potential at his size could be huge weapon for this Suns offense in a variety of lineups.
Elie Okobo and Jevon Carter: Monty Williams was quoted saying they will use three guard lineups at times, meaning it looks like both Elie Okobo and Jevon Carter will be on this roster, whereas there was some speculation that it could be one or the other earlier this offseason.
Jalen Lecque: Get this man in the dunk contest. I don’t expect him to play at all this year for the Suns, and if he does it either means 1) something went wrong or 2) he’s just that good.
Tip off is tonight at 7 PM @ Talking Stick Resort Arena and will be streaming on Suns.com.