The times of sitting high in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) draft lottery are over and the time for developing a nucleus is underway for the Phoenix Suns (PHX).
Shooting guard (SG) Devin Booker is the face of the franchise and is arguably a top ten player at his position right now. He’s quickly on his way to the top five of his position after having another productive season in which he put up 25 points per game, five rebounds per game and five assist per game in 54 games played this past 2017-2018 NBA season.
Booker has already dominated NBA games and set records at such a fast rate; including a 72 point-game in his young career. He’s beat out prolific scorers at all-star weekend and is headed to his first all-star game sooner rather than later. To add to the talent, Booker will now be paired with high-praised big man out of the University of Arizona, Center (C) Deandre Ayton.
Ayton referred to himself and Booker as potentially “a little Shaq and Kobe 2.0” during an interview with CBSSportsRadio this past March.
He preached heavily about going number one overall in the draft and spoke it into existence in June. So, who’s to go against his word about the Sun’s future?
Some would say that’s a stretch but it’s something that isn’t out of the question because of the level of impact both players produce while being on the court. In the NBA Summer League, Ayton is played strong and put up double digit numbers in both points and rebounds. He’s put up big numbers against other high picks in Marvin Bagley lll of the Sacramento Kings (SAC) and Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic (ORL).
The best aspects of his game to this day, have to be his confidence and basketball IQ. To see him paired with Booker on in-and-out plays could potentially be as scary as seeing Kobe and Shaq.
And that should be giving fans goosebumps because another duo like that can run the league for years to come.
Adding Forward (F) Mikal Bridges out of the University of Villanova is a solid piece to the puzzle because he’s someone that is a winner. He played three years in college and won two National Champion titles developing into a selfless leader. Bridges adds even more depth to a forward position that the Suns are already stocked on. However, they are lacking in the sense that they have yet to decide on a solid starter. A winning attitude is the most considerable aspect of his game that he adds to a franchise looking to win and a position needing to be solidified permanently.
Entering his Sophomore NBA season Power Forward (PF) Marquese Chriss will be a great pairing for Ayton on the block. He plays with absolute confidence and energy that holds players together during tough stretches. To say the least he creates a winning culture. He can potentially be a Draymond Green type of player for the Suns. Playing with emotion and grit is one way to certainly bring a team and fanbase together.
Of the latest additions, (F) Josh Jackson has definitely shown flashes of his potential. During the NBA summer league, he displayed how effective his defensive strengths are against key match-ups.
The Suns drafted him fourth overall because they see just how gifted he is and are looking for him to polish his skillset. They want Jackson to show he can be as impactful as young players in this league like Forward (F) Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angles Lakers (LAL) had been during his rookie year.
Now, the veteran leadership present on the team with newly acquired Small Forward (SF) Trevor Ariza is a win-win for both sides because the journey he has went through can help teammate’s find their identity. Ariza knows what it’s like to hold up a NBA Championship trophy, he knows what it’s like to come off the bench and to start for a professional team in the NBA. He can answer all the questions for a team of players that are solidifying their rotation spots.
Coming off injury is Guard (G) Brandon Knight, a player who has found a home in Phoenix. He’s been chosen to hold the point guard spot over all-star guards Isaiah Thomas (DEN) and Goran Dragic (MIA). He’s always been consistent enough as a rotation player but now needs to take his game to another level. He needs to produce his all-star potential, display veteran leadership and create a tandem with fellow guard Booker that makes teams not want to suit up against them.
Phoenix has been on the outside looking in for too long now, fans who lived through the Steve Nash era are ready to see basketball relevance come April, May and June once again.