Phoenix Suns: 3 Players Who Won’t Finish 2021-22 Season on the Team

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns, Jalen Smith
Phoenix Suns, Jalen Smith. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Players Likely to be Traded this Season: Jalen Smith

The Suns took Jalen Smith with the No. 10 overall pick during the 2020 NBA Draft. But even though Phoenix clearly saw something in him given his high selection, they shelved him during most games last year, as he took the floor for only 27 contests and averaged 5.8 minutes per game while doing so.

But during the NBA Summer League a few weeks ago, Smith again showed his potential. He fought on the glass better than anyone, averaging a league-high 12.5 rebounds per game. He also scored 16.2 points per game, the most by anyone on the Suns.

Most importantly though, Smith illustrated an ability to stretch the floor during this run, averaging 2.5 attempts from deep per game, collectively hitting at a 35.7 percent rate. The modern game loves bigs who possess the ability to shoot the basketball, making Smith an incredibly intriguing prospect even despite his shortcomings thus far.

But why should the Suns part ways with this product who clearly still carries serious upside? Well…Smith’s great play during the Summer League at the end of the day…came only during the Summer League.

Seemingly every year one or two players make waves during this tournament, and then fall back into mediocrity once real basketball starts to unfold. For a team looking to compete now, they need guys which they can rely on, and a stat-filled Summer League performance cannot overcome how unplayable Smith was last year.

Also for a top 10 overall pick playing as a second-year participant, a performance such as the one which Smith just enjoyed quite frankly is something to be expected, rather than celebrated. For both the Suns and Smith, a fresh start for him elsewhere feels like the right option. He still holds some value, and can be advertised as a raw prospect to throw into a trade with a second rounder for a rotation piece.