By: Jake Barrett
The Phoenix Suns already hit it outside the park with Igor Kokoskov hire, so it is time for them to build off that momentum and fill out their roster so they have an at least competitive team next year. I do not think they are that far off from having a bright future either, through this offseason preview I will guide them in the right direction.
Three step Plan
Do a good draft
Build a Veteran Frontcourt in Free Agency
Let the young’uns play
1, 1: Luka Doncic, PG, ACB Barcelona
1, 16 (Heat): Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
2,1: De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC
2, 29: Justin Jackson, SF/PF, Maryland
If someone other than Kokoskov was hired, Ayton would be the first overall pick, but an offensive mind like his can build an elite offense around a backcourt of Booker and Doncic. Doncic is 19 and is beating up on physically mature men 10+ years his age in Euroleague ball. His lateral quickness is certainly a question, but he is a 6’8 point guard with advanced scoring skills and can space the floor. He is the starting point guard day one.
Certainly the frontcourt will be lacking, but that is where Jontay Porter comes in. He will not start right away, but his motor and offense skill (he can shoot threes well) make him a great developmental pick in the teens. He can eventually be apart of a contending roster as a switching five, his only downfall is his limited athleticism. He would be a nice backup to start out and hopefully start one day.
De’Anthony Melton is a lottery ticket who is already a good defender. When Doncic and Booker are the stars of a team, there has to be an athletic, defensive minded third guard. Melton is a three point shot away from being a prototype 3 and D off ball combo guard.
Justin Jackson is not much of anything. Sorry.
Shoot for the stars:
Sign DeAndre Jordan to max
Trade for overpaid star (Blake Griffin/Andre Drummond/Kevin Love?)
Very unlikely to happen, but when a star frontcourt player becomes available, do not be surprised to see the Suns rumored to have at least called.
Sign Veteran floor spacing four (Ersan Ilyasova/Channing Frye) 3 years/$21 mil
Trade for overpaid starter (Nik Vucevic/Jonas Valanciunas) 1 year/$10 mil
Overpay Marcus Smart to be third guard 4 years/$64 mil
Sign Elfrid Payton to short term deal 2 years/$12 mil
This would be very ideal, the young prospects (Doncic, Booker, Josh Jackson) need the ability to work in space and by signing a stretch four, the floor should open up. A veteran presence at the five is overrated in my opinion, but considering Vuc or Valanciunas can be had for very little and the Suns need whatever they can get to play a frontcourt position, the match is perfect. Getting a veteran third guard who can at least try to guard the opposing best guard should be a priority if Doncic is the pick. Smart can create a little and also play off of Doncic or Booker. The Suns would have to believe Payton’s three point shot is somewhat for real for him to comeback, but the door is certainly open for bench minutes on this roster.
PG: (Luka Doncic), Tyer Ulis
SG: Devin Booker, (Marcus Smart)
SF: Josh Jackson, TJ Warren
PF: (Ersan Ilyasova), Dragan Bender
C: (Jonas Valanciunas), (Jontay Porter)
Never play these players: Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley
This would be a very good offense, which is an identity, something the Suns have lacked for the past several years. There would not be a lot of rim protection or perimeter quickness or defense in general, but the half court offense would be majestic. Kokoskov is an offensive coach, let him do what he does best. The Suns would be a fun watch for once.