The Phoenix Suns will be playing more Basketball this season, but if there is one thing that we can learn, it is never too early to look ahead.
As we all found out this past week, the NBA will return and the Phoenix Suns will be among those to resume their season! There will be games to be played and we will be sure to look into their schedule and all of the possibilities that can play out over the coming weeks.
Even so, it is never too early to look ahead, and with the Suns having played 65 games up to this point, there is a large enough sample size to use as a resource in combing through three potential question marks for this coming offseason. Here is one of them.
Can the Suns get their Power Forward of the future?
This is a relatively easy question. With Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton as the cornerstones of the franchise alongside potential long term pieces such as Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre and Ricky Rubio, the wing and center positions seem capably held. Power forward is a position that the Suns would love to shore up for the long term, and acquiring one that could play effectively on both ends of the floor should be considered a priority.
Heading into this season, Dario Saric has manned the position, and although he has had his moments, he is averaging a career-low 10.1 points per game, he is already 26, he’s entering restricted free agency, AND we can’t forget that the Suns were already shopping him for a 1st round pick as early as February.
Upgrading at the power forward position is a task the Phoenix Suns undoubtedly have on their checklist of offseason improvements.
It might be safe to surmise that Saric is not the answer. Bridges or Oubre can play that role, but their versatility is in being able to swing between both forward positions as matchups and needs decide and to play either there long term might not be ideal. Frank Kaminsky can play there but is much more of a center, and with the Suns holding a team option over him there isn’t a guarantee that he will be wearing the Orange and Purple once the 2021 season rolls around.
So what options do the Suns have?
Well, one big potential answer could lie in the Draft. Whenever it is that the 2020 NBA draft rolls around, the Suns have very good odds of landing a top 10 pick as everything is currently constructed. If that luck holds true, then the Suns should be closely watching tape on Obi Toppin.
Toppin is a high flying 22-year-old from Dayton who averaged 20 points, seven rebounds, and two assists a contest on 63% shooting from the field, 39% from three-point range, and 73% from the free-throw line. He is an electric dunker and a terror in transition, but he can also step out and hit the long ball. At 22 he’s not necessarily young for a prospect, but he will fit right in age-wise alongside Booker, Ayton, Bridges, and Oubre.
Defensively…..well that is a totally different story, and having Toppin and Ayton as your backline on that end doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Regardless, Toppin is a very intriguing candidate. Other prospects from the draft that could be considered are Paul Reed or Precious Achiuwa, two high-motor rim running bigs with more potential on the defensive end.
If a trade is more in line with what Phoenix wants to do, how does Aaron Gordon sound? The twice miffed dunk contest runner-up hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire outside of All-Star weekend after another mostly disappointing year. However, one could imagine that a change of scenery with a faster style of play could do Gordon some good.
Imagine the spacing he’ll have with Booker, Oubre, and Bridges around him, and if Ayton ever stretches it out to three? Oh, man. The Suns have already targeted Gordon just this past trade deadline, and honestly who can fault them for going after a player averaging 14-7-3 in his 6th season at only age 24? It is certainly intriguing.
No matter what avenue the Suns take to address this need, it is important that they see the power forward position as a piece needed to complete the championship puzzle.