For the Phoenix Suns, Orlando should be about development

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Ty Jerome (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Ty Jerome (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns will look to compete and play to the finish as best as possible, but the desired goal should be to bring out the most of the younger players.

In a little over a month (crazy that it is still so far away) the Phoenix Suns will be playing in Orlando. The schedule is out, the matchups are determined, and Phoenix knows exactly who will be available for action.

While poring over the schedule (no national games, not even one?) it dawned on me; the Suns odds aren’t exactly impossible, but they are pretty well stacked. You may not need a reminder, but allow me to provide one anyway: Phoenix would have to climb into the ninth seed and be within four games of the eighth seed by the conclusion of the remaining “regular season” games.

The Suns are currently 6.5 games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies, and with a rather stacked schedule that includes contests against the Clippers, 76ers, and Thunder…let’s just say it would have to be one heck of a torrid run for the Suns to make up so much ground.

Of course, as competitors, you better believe Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Ricky Rubio, and the rest of the Suns will do their darndest to compete for every game, an opportunity to look ahead may be one that is more palatable down the course of their Orlando stay.

Giving the younger prospects a ton of minutes shouldn’t be the first option for the Suns, but if the opportunity presents itself, it may pay dividends in the future.

Think about it: the Suns certainly have a competitive team, even with the absence of Kelly Oubre. However, if coming out the gate Phoenix has a couple of let-down losses, what harm is there in giving the young guys some extended run down the stretch?

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The nature of these games and the situation that the Suns are in make the remaining contests high-stakes regardless of the overall outcome. If Phoenix can grab some wins and gain some ground, then commit fully to the path and see what happens. Situations such as these are the beginning of Cinderella stories. If not, players like Ty Jerome, Jevon Carter, Cam Johnson, and even lightly used Jalen Lecque and Tariq Owens should all log heavy time.

For these younger prospects, the chance to get sustained minutes of real NBA action may not pay dividends immediately, however, it is possible that the positive results may manifest itself down the line. The Suns front office and coaching staff will have the opportunity to evaluate some of their younger players in advance of the offseason and can help them with elements of their game in real-time, as a way to continue to fast track their development.

I will be the first to admit that it should not be (and probably isn’t) the first option for the Phoenix Suns to pursue. However, it is a valid one that can help the Suns down the line as they continue to fortify their roster and become stronger, not just for the remainder of this season, but for future ones with their young core.

It is ridiculous no Phoenix Suns games will be nationally televised. dark. Next