The Phoenix Suns, likely in an attempt to fire up Deandre Ayton, recently benched him for one game and started Richaun Holmes at center. What if the team instead started the two bigs next to each other?
The Phoenix Suns are not playing well – which is an understatement and putting it very nicely.
You can point out many reasons as to why and you probably aren’t wrong and we won’t know what will “fix” the team as is unless Igor starts trying different things.
Energy, hustle and defense are sorely lacking. No one can really argue that.
So, what’s one way of repairing that image?
Yes, I’m proposing to start two big men in a league that is in a way going away from them.
The thought of starting a 6 foot 10 paint dweller that weighs 235 pounds next to a 7 foot 1 post presence that weighs 250 pounds when neither consistently steps out for 3’s may not appeal to some in today’s game.
It does to me.
Especially when you see the Suns are one of the worst defensive teams in the entire league. They are in the bottom three in field goal percentage of opponents.
That’s NOT good and it’s a big reason why they are losing.
Put two big men in the paint and dare the enemy to drive. Have the duo challenge each other to who can get more stops. Make it a competition. Amp up the intensity.
Then you look at the schedule and notice that Phoenix is in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, a streak where the team has been out rebounded by a total of 63 boards.
You put a pair of good, large rebounders in there side-by-side and that has to improve.
If you have doubts about whether Ayton would work well with another big man starting next to him, keep in mind he became the number one pick because of his play at power forward next to another giant in Dusan Ristic who clogged the paint.
This move might make Ayton better.
Now, focus on Holmes. Can he play in the paint with Ayton? He did pretty well when he started next to Joel Embiid.
In 21 games throughout his career as a starter he’s put up 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 27.8 minutes per game.
On a team lacking intensity, energy, motivation and fire the man has stood out. He has put all he has out on the court and deserves a chance to start.
Over the last 11 games, Richaun has made 70% of his shots and posted 10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. That’s in a mere 18.6 minutes.
Per-36 minutes, that’s 20.3 points with 10.3 boards and 3.1 blocks per game – on 70% shooting from the field.
He is a very efficient scorer, a good rebounder and a highlight shot blocker.
He could help motivate the team and may elevate Ayton’s game as well.
At only 25-years-old, if it works out he may form a force to be reckoned with. If it doesn’t work, he’s still a very good backup center.
But, with the season going South and a player with the attributes that are sorely lacking available to be thrown into the starting lineup – why not take the chance?
Start Richaun Holmes next to Deandre Ayton.
What is there to lose?