Phoenix Suns: Who is at risk of being squeezed out of the rotation?

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 5
Phoenix Suns, Dario Saric, NBA playoffs
Phoenix Suns, Dario Saric (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns depth options: When Deandre Ayton sits.

The players: Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, Jalen Smith.

The Phoenix Suns are dancing with who brung ’em when it comes to the backup five spot.

No DeMarcus Cousins (Clippers), JaVale McGee (Nuggets), Andre Drummond (Lakers), Kelly Olynyk (Rockets) or Hassan Whiteside (Kings).

With the April 9 deadline for adding players who could be on teams’ playoff rosters having passed, it’s Dario Saric’s show. No danger of Saric facing a squeeze in playing.

Certainly, he has played a strong part in the Suns’ bench success this season.

That said, Saric could find steep challenges in the playoffs when he’s asked to defending opposing fives.

On offense, Saric has seen his numbers fall since the All-Star break, with the exception of his rebounding average (4.0 to 4.3). His 3-point shooting to start the season always seemed like a bit of a mirage. A career 3-point shooter who connects on almost 36 percent, he hit .377 before the All-Star break.

He’s fallen off since then, hitting .333 after the break including a clanky April 3-point percentage of .267.

On the other hand, Saric always pushes full effort, averaging only 18 minutes per game this season, down six per game from the past couple of seasons.

The Frank Kaminsky Show pretty much closed, with his 33 games played comprising 27 before the All-Star break. He’s played only once in April — four minutes — so his services have not recently been deemed necessary.

The playoffs offer uncertainty, though, and Kaminsky does have a certain set of skills, including a nice touch from long range that could serve to exploit opposing fives in the right circumstance.

Jalen Smith? Suns fans continue to wonder why he isn’t Tyrese Haliburton, but that’s for another day.

Smith is not ready for meaningful playoff minutes.

In case of emergency: Saric can log heavy minutes if needed to compensate for Ayton’s absence. That would probably mean Kaminsky and Saric at the same time, so Big Frank would have to find his toughness and touch for the Suns to move forward in the postseason.