Ryan Anderson’s role: Phoenix Suns starter or reserve?

Ryan Anderson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ryan Anderson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Ryan Anderson is a really expensive role player. After being a regular starter for the Houston Rockets for most of two seasons, his that his role with the Phoenix Suns? Or should he be coming off the bench?

Ryan Anderson was a unique pickup for the Phoenix Suns. He steps right in as the best power forward on the roster (which, unfortunately, isn’t saying much), and is another very good 3-point shooter, a career 38.2%.

Anderson isn’t known for his defense, but his ability to stretch the floor not only gives Suns slashers like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and T.J. Warren more room to work in the lane, but also the perfect kick-out player when his defender cheats in on the driver leaving Anderson open.

The ability to play power forward too means that both Jackson and Warren (and apparently 6’1″ Trevor Ariza) can stay at their natural position of small forward.

But Anderson is no longer a traditional starter in the NBA. He can  start (I guess the Suns actually proved that anyone  can start in the NBA), but with his diminishing skill set and poor defensive abilities, is he really fitted for the starting  power forward spot for the Phoenix Suns?

If he came off the bench, he, coupled with Troy Daniels, would combine for a very lethal firepower duo who could rain down 3’s for the duration of their stays on the court, keeping the defense on their heels, and if they are making their outside shots, hopefully adding to a Suns lead that the starters gave them.

The team has lacked depth for several years (certainly throughout their entire era of tanking), and could use as many decent scorers off the bench as possible. If there was a way for he, Troy, and Warren to each all off the bench, then the team would have some serious bench firepower that hasn’t been seen in Phoenix since 2019-10.

The problem with placing Anderson on the bench though, is who starts at power forward then?

I assumed all offseason that Trevor Ariza was going to be a good fit for the starting power forward position, even though he has never been a regular PF in his career, he has the height (6’11”) and defensive ability to perform the duty. This, I assumed, meant that Warren could start at small forward (even though I have wanted him off the bench for his scoring ability for some time now) meaning that Anderson would come off the bench.

And then we watched the first two preseason games, each with Anderson and Ariza starting, and Anderson playing at power forward.

Was this because Booker is still injured and so Kokoskov decided to run with a more “traditional” lineup?

With Booker presumably the starting point guard, then does Josh Jackson continue at shooting guard (as he has during the preseason) or move to small forward allowing Troy Daniels to start at shooting guard moving Jackson to SF, giving the starting lineup a little more firepower, and at that point, moving Trevor Ariza to the starting power forward position and allowing both Warren and Anderson to come off the bench?

That doesn’t seem likely, although who knows since Kokoskov might be holding his first ever opening night starting lineup close to the vest, something that he is capable of doing with Booker still out, a strategy that might not be that bad given that he certainly wants to begin his head coaching career out with a 1.000 record, rather than an .000 one.

Next. After one preseason game, TJ Warren appears to be perfect off the bench. dark

So for right now we have to wait and see. My belief that his Ryan Anderson’s best role being off the bench, but with the current roster setup, he might be forced into the starting lineup leaving the bench a little thin in scoring and size.

Hopefully Kokoskov finds a lineup that works allowing Anderson to come off the bench. It would not only help with bench depth, but potentially starting defense as well.