Phoenix Suns: 3 Training Camp Decisions Could Have Seismic Impacts

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, JaVale McGee
Phoenix Suns, JaVale McGee (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Camp Decisions: Time Spent with Jalen Smith vs JaVale McGee

Both JaVale McGee and Jalen Smith enter the 2021-22 season looking to compete for Phoenix’s backup center job. But while they also share the task in needing acclimate themselves to this team, they do so coming in from completely opposite directions.

As a 13-year veteran, McGee knows all about playing at the NBA level, but essentially nothing about playing within Phoenix’s system. Meanwhile, Smith knows the Suns organization, but possesses little experience playing as a pro with only 27 games under his belt.

So with both these assets requiring significant attention this summer as they make their adjustments to the team, which one garners more attention?

If Williams and his staff prioritize Smith and his development, then he likely plays ahead McGee this coming season. That will notably alter Phoenix’s direction as a team, with Smith’s skillset as a stretch-big making the Suns bench unit a more offensive-minded attack.

But on the other hand, if Phoenix’s staff instead tends more to McGee, then their bench unit flops completely, playing off McGee’s strengths as a rim defender and operating with a more defensive-minded approach.

This team’s starting five still calls the shots from a large scale perspective, but their bench unit carries significant weight regardless. So by deciding who to focus on at camp, Williams dictates who runs with that bench unit, influences how it plays, and consequently adjust team’s identity.