Phoenix Suns mailbag: spreading our wings

LAS VEAGS, NV - JULY 9: Josh Jackson #20 of the Phoenix Suns goes to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 9, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEAGS, NV - JULY 9: Josh Jackson #20 of the Phoenix Suns goes to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 9, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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PHOENIX, AZ – OCTOBER 14: Dragan Bender #35 and Marquese Chriss #0 of the Phoenix Suns react during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 14, 2016 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – OCTOBER 14: Dragan Bender #35 and Marquese Chriss #0 of the Phoenix Suns react during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 14, 2016 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Whose minutes will be most affected by depth: Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender?

If this were the 1990’s, the question would probably be which one should start. But in 2018, there’s no need for a traditional power forward. They’re typically less versatile and worse shooters than wings, so why not just put out a bigger wing or play small?

On the Phoenix Suns, the wing depth is going to mean less opportunities for fours like Bender and Chriss. I recently took a look at each player’s case for minutes, and for now I believe Chriss has the  best chance to get playing time.

Chriss is, on paper, a far better defender, and he’s the superior athlete, meaning he should at the very least find a role as an energizer off the bench.

But Chriss also has his drawbacks. He shot well from three in college, but his jumper has abandoned him since he went pro. Bender, on the other hand, has shot the three ball decent, which is a pretty big plus the team hasn’t gotten from Chriss.

For both guys, being surrounded by more talented players should mean improved offensive statistics compared to last year. It’ll also be interesting to see who put in the work and made improvements this summer.

Right now, Chriss just does more things and plays with more confidence than Bender. But if better looks for Chriss doesn’t result in more makes from deep, and if Bender has sorted some things out over the offseason, Bender could be the go to guy.