Phoenix Suns: Melton and Okobo should be playing

Phoenix Suns Elie Okobo (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Elie Okobo (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns have two talented young point guards on the roster, but for some reason they insist on playing an older, worse player.

The Phoenix Suns made waves (small waves, but still waves) this offseason when they acquired De’Anthony Melton and Ryan Anderson from the Houston Rockets for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss. There were a couple logical thoughts that followed from that trade.

First, there’s no way the trade was to land Anderson. He’s older and he was phased out of the Rockets rotation at the end of the season. He just isn’t that good. Their primary target had to be Melton, a rookie at a position of need who had a great Summer League and is a theoretically perfect fit next to Devin Booker.

Second, the Suns had to have confidence in some of their young point guards to be willing to trade Knight, the only established point guard on the roster. Whether it was Melton coming in return, guys already on the roster like Elie Okobo and Shaquille Harrison, or the fact they had all three of those players to work with, the Suns had to like what the were dealing with at that position.

Those thoughts seemed logical, but essentially the opposite has been true so far. Anderson has started, taking minutes away from younger and arguably better players. The Suns have started journeyman Isaiah Canaan at point guard. Okobo has played just 11 minutes through four games. Melton has played only three. Harrison was cut before the season began.

Okobo and Melton are loaded with potential. They were drafted 31 and 46 respectively in this year’s draft, and both were considered steals. Some had Okobo as early as a lottery pick. Others have said they see both players as top five point guards in this draft class. It makes no sense to give their minutes away to a player who is much older and definitely worse at basketball.

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Canaan has been awful so far, and nothing in his past suggests that will change. So why not give the young players a chance? It’s time to see what they can do. If the Phoenix Suns are lucky, they may have found their point guard of the future in the second round, but they’ll never know if they don’t play Okobo or Melton. There’s literally no reason to keep them off the floor.