Success in fantasy sports is always about finding balance in your roster. In fantasy football, you must balance early round superstars with late round sleepers. In fantasy hoops, you must find a balance on your roster between players who dominate certain categories and players who simply don’t kill you in others. With that in mind let’s break down the Phoenix Suns’ who are worth drafting this year. For the purposes of this column we will rate players in the following eight categories: points, rebounds, assists, FG%, FT%, 3-pt made, steals, and blocks.
1. Steve Nash
Elite: Assists, FG%, FT%
Top 50: Points
Doesn’t Kill You: 3-pt made
The NBA’s reigning assist leader should have a good shot at repeating so long as the compacted schedule doesn’t affect his health. The Suns are going into this season without a proven go-to scorer, so it’s entirely possible that Nash’s scoring and 3-pt made figures could increase from last season’s numbers. He is definitely still the best fantasy option in a Suns’ uniform.
2. Marcin Gortat
Elite: Rebounds, FG%
Top 25: Blocks
Doesn’t Kill You: Points
After his midseason trade to Phoenix, Gortat averaged 9.3 rebounds per game and 15 rebounds per 48 minutes. Both numbers would have put him right around the top 10 in the league last season. Gortat’s scoring numbers are likely to increase from the 13 per game he averaged with the Suns last season. After the All-Star break, he scored 17 or more points in 14 games and only failed to score in double figures once. He should be a very reliable fantasy contributor this season.
3. Channing Frye
Elite: 3-pt made
Top 50: Blocks, Rebounds
Doesn’t Kill You: Points, FT%, FG%
Channing Frye is a fantasy conundrum. He is one of the best 3-pt shooters in the game, yet he plays the PF position. As with all the Suns, his scoring numbers will have a chance to increase from last year’s 12.7 per game as Phoenix looks to replace some scoring. His rebounding numbers could also see a boost if opponents focus on keeping Gortat off the glass freeing up Frye to grab a few extra boards.
4. Grant Hill
Top 50: FT%, FG%,
Doesn’t Kill You: Rebounds, Assists, Points, Steals, Blocks
You’ll notice that Hill contributes in every category except 3-pt made. That’s the kind of player he is. He does a little bit of everything. As a fantasy option, Hill is a great late round guy because he doesn’t kill you in any one area, and he posts strong shooting percentages.
5. Jared Dudley or Shannon Brown
The starting shooting guard for the Phoenix Suns will have a great deal of fantasy value this year. Who that is still remains to be seen. Given his familiarity with the Suns’ system and work ethic, Dudley looks to be the starter on opening night, but Brown is certainly hungry and ready to prove himself in the NBA. For the sake of fantasy owners, these two hopefully will settle into defined roles quickly. If Dudley retains the starting job for the year, he has the potential to contribute in FG%, steals, rebounding, points, and 3-pt made. If Brown gets the job, he will definitely contribute in points, but which other categories he can be valuable in is unclear. Either way this position battle should be exciting to watch.
As for the rest of the team, I don’t see too much fantasy value unless Hakim Warrick suddenly turns into a poor man’s Amar’e Stoudemire or Steve Nash is traded/injured/deported and Telfair fills his shoes admirably. The Suns may not be Western Conference contenders this season, but for fantasy owners, there is still much value in Phoenix. Good luck to all of you this year.