Phoenix Suns’ 3 prime NBA playoff matchups and how to win

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4
Phoenix Suns, NBA playoffs
Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns playoff matchup: The Los Angeles Clippers

More on the the buyouts. These things are tricky and sometimes met with sighs of exasperation from teams that aren’t attractive enough to pull off a Brooklyn Nets thing (James Harden whined until he forced the Rockets to trade him, then other vets Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge found their way to Brooklyn via buyouts).

NBA title rings are a strong lure for veterans who don’t need a massive payday anymore.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote some GMs want an overhaul of the buyout system.

"If the clear-eyed reality is that these players are simply faded All-Stars released from the back end of expensive contracts, the visual of them flocking to superteam rosters in two marquee markets does cast a chilling impact on the league’s collective psyche."

But, really, any playoff contender could have jumped into the rental mix — including the Suns (not to say they didn’t kick the tires on previous candidates).

As for the next opportunity, Suns fans can scout the Rockets’ Kelly Olynyk on Monday night. Houston could decide on a buyout prior to the April 19 deadline for postseason rosters to be set.

He’s a guy the Suns should certainly consider — a more versatile, better passing, better shooting version of Frank Kaminsky. He’d spread the floor when he subs for Ayton and he has plenty of pressure experience.

For the purposes of defense evaluation, though, this Clippers matchup isn’t so scary at the five.

Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka lead the team in rebounding and blocked shots, but combine for only 19.5 points per game on offense. Zubac could push Ayton around a little bit, but points in the paint shouldn’t be a huge concern.

LA added veteran Rajon Rondo and, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the rest of the offense poses all kinds of threats for the Suns’ defense.

Can the defense react quickly enough to close out on George? Probably.

Can the Suns stifle opportunities in paint? Sure.

But Leonard is always a problem, and this potential series could come down to Devin Booker against Leonard and George.