100% Left Unprotected
George King, Richaun Holmes, Troy Daniels, Elie Okobo
To me, this is the easiest part of the list – those players who should be left unprotected regardless of who is protected or not-protected before them.
George King might never really see any action with the Phoenix Suns anyway as he is destined to be at the very end of the roster likely to spend the vast majority of his time in Prescott, if he was selected by an expansion team I would honestly be surprised, but not hurt at all.
Richaun Holmes has no future in Phoenix either after this season as he is a dime-a-dozen energy role player. The hope is that Phoenix can find someone to backup Ayton in the future who is either a tremendous defensive presence or has a fantastic shot. While Ayton is going to be the primary player at center henceforth, having a backup who can cause matchup problems one way or the other off the bench will be the ultimate goal when forming the greater depth of the roster.
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You will not find a bigger Troy Daniels fan than me. I believe that he should remain on the Suns regardless of how good Reed looked in the Summer League. That said, he doesn’t really have a future with the franchise either and is probably trade bait during the regular season – especially if Reed’s Summer League performance wasn’t a fluke – and either way won’t be re-signed in 2019. If Daniels was to be selected, Davon Reed might be just fine plugging in the hole. Even if Reed can’t, McDonough can very likely find someone who can back Booker up without much trouble, further opening the door to Daniels if left unprotected.
I know that saying that Elie Okobo should 100% be left unprotected is going to annoy a lot of people, but I am here to say: you’re wrong.
Listen, if teams thought that Okobo had star quality in him at point guard, he would have been selected in the first round. Teams were reaching for talent well before the 20’s even hit and Phoenix is not the only team that needs help at point guard. Okobo projects to be a backup point guard at best, and if he does grow into that type of a player in the NBA, that would mean he is providing tremendous value as a second round pick.
But that is also why he could undoubtedly be left unprotected. This season alone he will spend the majority of his time either in Prescott of riding the back end of the bench. Harrison is currently and absolutely higher than Okobo on the depth chart and McDonough is still searching for a veteran point guard.
Odds are he wouldn’t be selected in the expansion draft anyway, but if he were to, there should be no crying for the loss of Okobo.