Phoenix Suns: 3 Roster Weaknesses Even After Free Agency

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns roster weakness: No playable playoff big other than Ayton 

During sets without Deandre Ayton as his primary defender, Giannis Antetokounmpo shot a ludicrous 71.0 percent from the field during the NBA Finals. But with Ayton on him, his field goal percentage dropped to a modest 48.0 percent.

But before the elephant in the room (i.e. the Suns lacking proper size and personnel to guard elite bigs without Ayton) became apparent, red flags endorsing this problem began to pop up even as the Suns rolled through the West.

During the Western Conference Semifinals, Denver Nuggets center and league-MVP Nikola Jokic shot just 37.3 percent (22-59 on FGs) from the field with Ayton as his primary matchup. But when covered by anyone else, Jokic shot 81.8 percent (18-22 on FGs).

A similar trend occurred with Phoenix’s defense against the Los Angeles Clippers. DeMarcus Cousins enjoyed multiple big games, but his points mainly came off the bench. This happened for a reason, with Ayton being a starter instead, and consequently not facing off directly against him.

While Dario Saric became a notable miss in the Finals, the fact of the matter is that Phoenix’s roster just straight-up lacks the size and skill to bother the league’s best bigs.

The Suns have clearly acknowledged this issue, as they used their mid-level exception to sign McGee. But still, McGee has not been particularly playable over his last two trips to the postseason mainly due to his lacking mobility, which especially hurts during pick-and-roll situations. While McGee remains a decent backup in drop coverage, defensive schemes such as that often go exploited time and again by the more adept teams present during the postseason.

The Suns still need a versatile big, with enough mobility to field important playoff minutes, who also possesses the necessary measurables and frame to protect the rim as a defender. Two players potentially on the trade block who both fit this description, that also carry the ability to play both with and without Deandre Ayton include Larry Nance Jr and Thaddeus Young.