When the Wins Count
But First, Pre-Season Finale
With the Mercury having a WNBA Finals game later that night, the Suns and Blazers played an early afternoon game Wednesday. It looked as if Portland was still asleep as the Suns dominated wire to wire in a 119-74 victory.
Devin Booker made his pre-season debut and picked up where he left off last season scoring 17 points on 6/10 shooting (3/6 from 3) in just 18 minutes of action. His usual backcourt running mate, Chris Paul, got the night off so Cam Payne got the start. This pushed Elfrid Payton into the backup Point Guard role and he took advantage scoring 8 while dishing 9 assists and pulling down 8 rebounds.
Cameron Johnson and JaVale McGee continued their pre-season success scoring 11 and 10 off the bench. Landry Shamet took his spot in the second unit after starting in place of Booker and he added 12 points and 4 assists. Shamet has looked very comfortable in Montys’ system scoring off screen, attacking the paint, and finding the open man.
If there was one thing we learned from this pre-season it’s that an already good Suns second unit is poised to be even better this season. A lineup of Payne, Shamet, Abdel Nader, Johnson, and McGee might’ve challenged the starting lineup for the Suns in the 2015-2018 seasons. That depth will be especially important after a long playoff run and shortened offseason. It will give the Suns the chance to rest players either for entire games or limiting their minutes against lesser matchups.
“Show Me the Money”
The elephant in the room this week has been the contract situation of Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. The two have been key pieces in the Suns turn around from basement dwellers to Championship contenders.
Mikal Bridges, that’s the Tweet. The Tweet it was, coming from Adrian Wojnarowski at 12:56pm Sunday afternoon with the report that Mikal Bridges and the Suns had agreed to a 4 year, $90 million dollar extension fully guaranteed.
Phoenix Suns G/F Mikal Bridges has agreed to a four-year, $90 million rookie contract extension, his agents Sam Goldfeder and Jordan Gertler of @Excelbasketball tell ESPN. Deal is fully guaranteed.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 17, 2021
As Wojnarowski continued to add, Bridges has become one of the premier two-way wings at just 25 years of age. This deal, which already looks good, has the chance to look like a steal a year from now. Bridges has continued to show increased handle attacking closeouts this pre-season. This was and excellent deal by General Manager James Jones and his team.
Now, here comes the interesting one. As of today four members of the 2018 draft class have been signed to rookie max extensions: Doncic, Young, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Porter Jr. That list is missing the number one pick of that draft. After many ups and downs early in his career, Ayton seemed to put it all together in the Suns’ playoff run. The effort was there, he was finishing plays at an elite level, and was great defensively with only a few blemishes. It seems though, that the beginning of his career is still holding things up. According to an earlier report by Wojnarowski the Suns have some reluctance in offering that extension.
ESPN Sources: The Phoenix Suns’ reluctance to offer a maximum rookie contract extension to former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton has stalled discussions on a deal: https://t.co/8WottY6jYf
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 5, 2021
There’s still time for the two sides to come to an agreement. The deadline to come to an extension before the season is Monday, October 18th at 3 pm Arizona Time.
In a bit of a surprise, on Sunday we learned Ayton wasn’t the only player the Suns are working on an extension for. Newly acquired guard Landry Shamet is also in negotiations with the team. It was reported at the time of the trade that the Suns had been attempting to acquire Shamet for years. It’s clear they do not view him as a one-year addition.
— David Kevin (@theIVpointplay) October 17, 2021
Kings Ransom presented by DraftKings
Portland at Phoenix
The Suns were 7 point favorites going into the Suns final pre-season game, as we mentioned earlier that easily covered. The Suns finished 3-1 against the spread this pre-season. The Over/Under for this game was set at 224 which, due to the Suns’ defense, was well below that. It was a perfect split in O/U this pre-season as the over and under both hit twice.
Games That Count!
With pre-season finally over, lines and trends will now be less varied. Lineups and minutes will normalize and we can really get into things such as player prop bets.
Game 1 – Wednesday, October 20th vs Denver Nuggets
The Suns open the season at home against the Denver Nuggets. The last time these two teams met was on the Nuggets floor as the Suns were completing a 4 game sweep in the 2nd round of the Playoffs.
Spread: Suns (-6.5)
O/U: 225 points
Game 2 – Friday, October 22nd at Los Angeles Lakers
After seeing them twice in the pre-season, the Suns won’t have to wait long for the Lakers again. The second game of the season will come against the division foe in Los Angeles. Phoenix will hope that their 2-0 record against LA in the pre-season will carry over.
Spread: Lakers (-3.5)
Game 3 – Saturday, October 23rd at Portland Trailblazers
Another early-season matchup vs one of our pre-season opponents. The Suns will have to take on the Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back. The amount of minutes the starters play against the Lakers could have an impact on how this game goes.
Game lines are not available for this game as of the posting of this article.
*It is not our recommendation that you bet on every game or bet that we highlight. We are here to display some of the Suns-related bets currently available to you. When done responsibly, gambling can further increase your interest in games, especially games you wouldn’t normally care about.
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Follow Jordan on Twitter: @J_Kartch