Phoenix Suns deadline week: 3 best moves

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns deadline list item 1: Add that backup center piece.

The Suns should be seeking continued improvement, even though they sit at the top of the Pacific Division entering Sunday’s matchup with the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The eye immediately finds the Suns lacking in big-man defensive metrics.

While Phoenix has been in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating seemingly all season, they are a pedestrian 12th in opponents second-chance points allowed and 14th in opponents points in the paint.

To move forward — especially considering the added physicality of the playoffs — the Suns need more of a defensive presence.

The addition of 6-7 Torrey Craig filled the 15th and final roster spot, but the team could finesse a plan to bring aboard any one of the rim protectors/defenders who could be bought out.

Why do anything with the backup 5 spot? Look into your playoff crystal ball and see how it’s gonna look if the Suns tangle with the Lakers (Anthony Davis at the 5), Nuggets (Nikola Jokic = a problem) or Jazz (Rudy Gobert).

The Suns have been able to get away with using Dario Saric, whose contributions truly have been a pleasant surprise, to help close out tight games but Saric could be more valuable as a traditional sixth man. He should play the 5 only when the Suns defend a small-ball lineup.

Jalen Smith’s body is a couple of years away from being able to help on the interior, and Frank Kaminsky is a center in name only. Valuable, sure, but expendable for the right price.

The move: Chase down and exhaust all options to bring on the likes of JaVale McGee, LaMarcus Aldridge or Hassan Whiteside.