The Phoenix Suns should use this starting lineup

Phoenix Suns, Elie Okobo, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Elie Okobo, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Phoenix Suns Elie Okobo (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Elie Okobo (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Starting Lineup

Igor’s starting lineup for Phoenix’s next game (presuming Devin Booker‘s health) should be the following:

PG – Elie Okobo
SG – Devin Booker
SF – T.J. Warren
PF – Trevor Ariza
C – Deandre Ayton

The reason for this shuffle is simple but multi-layered:

First, there has to be a change in the starting point guard.

Isaiah Canaan has not been cutting it as the starting point guard and let’s face it: he is not a starting point guard in the NBA. This is no jab at the man, he is a decent PG. But he is best suited for the bench where he can use his instinct to score first and distribute second more effectively.

By starting Okobo the Suns can accomplish two things: they place a better distributor in the starting lineup, one who can hopefully keep the motion of the offense in a more consistent flow, while also adding an additional good shooter to the group who can hit shots in the momentum of that offense at a better clip than Canaan can.

Okobo came into the league as a shooter too so it is a specialty of his that made him so desired by the Suns in the first place.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

If this works out, great! The Suns should be winning more at that point, or at least becoming more competitive, which really this season is all fans are looking for.

If it doesn’t work then Suns Interim General Manager James Jones should be in the process of finding a starting-caliber point guard elsewhere anyway so hopefully Okobo doesn’t crash and burn too hard, taking the team with him.

Obviously Devin Booker will remain at shooting guard, but with Okobo in the starting lineup and Canaan coming off of the bench, hopefully it means that he can play a little less point guard and focus more on averaging 30 point per game, because it seems that he is going to need to do that if the Suns are going to win anyway.

I am going to skip ahead briefly and note that Deandre Ayton will retain his position as the starting center as well. Again, with Okobo in the starting lineup Ayton can hopefully get the ball in the post with more regularity and average the 20 points per game that I believe he can average if given the shots (maybe 15 per game max too with his shooting percentage -64.6% through six games).

T.J. Warren has proven that his newfound 3-point shooting is no fluke and that alone should allow him to be a starter again.

Warren is currently shooting a ridiculous 47.8% from beyond the arc which will not continue (will it??). However, he seems to be consistent and confident enough at the shot that it will be a boost for him and as his two former Houston counterparts are shooting at less than successful clips (Ariza is averaging 31.7% and Ryan Anderson is shooting 22.7%), so anything above those averages will help.

Ariza moving to power forward probably hurts the Suns defensively but hey: they have been absolutely awful already so they might as well try and outscore their opponents and use team defense (if they have any) to make up for Ariza playing out of position.

His shooting percentage is expected to inch up as the season goes along anyway so when he does get his shot back, having he and T.J. Warren on the court at the same time will be a lethal 3-point shooting combination.