Phoenix Suns: Takeaways From Preseason Blowout of Los Angeles Lakers

Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

For Phoenix Suns fans, and essentially everyone who enjoys NBA basketball, preseason games are only a mirage.

After spending months walking through the desert, or in this case the NBA offseason, fans want nothing more than to peer over the horizon and see competitive basketball once again. Long deprived, they even begin to falsely envision it, acknowledging the preseason as such.

At their core though, everyone knows the truth. These games mean nothing, and they only exist to help players fineIy tune their skills before the real show begins.

But at the same time, completely neglecting a preseason game feels just as foolish as mistaking It for a regular season one. To play in between these concepts and give Phoenix’s most recent preseason bout some attention, but not too much, below sit a few brief takeaways following their rout of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Phoenix Suns Pick and Roll Offense is Here to Stay

As the offensive orchestrator for the Suns, Chris Paul‘s return to action for this preseason contest allowed us to see Phoenix’s offense back at its full form. Based off how things went down, it certainly looks like the Suns plan to run with a pick-and-roll oriented offense once again this year.

Although leading scorer Devin Booker sat out, which slowed down this offense substantially, we still saw its framework come into play with to what Paul’s return added. He frequently worked off screens, finding either open mid-range attempts for Ayton/McGee rolling to the rim.

With it leading to so much success for the Suns last year, this decision to utilize the pick and roll makes sense, and quite frankly was expected. However, watching it indeed come back still felt enjoyable, especially with it helping Phoenix ruin the Lake Show.

The Phoenix Suns New Players Fit in Well

As the most viable thing to judge off the preseason, team chemistry became a notable factor to watch for during this game. But even with some new additions playing heavy minutes, the Suns still operated like a well-oiled machine.

JaVale McGee moved in unison with his teammates down low, finishing with 12 points. He also locked eyes with Abdel Nader at one point, throwing the ball through DeAndre Jordan’s legs to hit him on a back door cut for an easy score.

Even though Landry Shamet failed to let it rain from deep, he also blended well with his new teammates. Helping to create offense, he finished with four assists, and likely could have added more if the Suns put him out there some of their more talented players.

No Holding Back for the Phoenix Suns Point Guards

Coming back from offseason surgery, Paul looked perfect. He mentioned his full health during media day last week, but during this game, he actually illustrated it, moving well while contributing with eight points and 11 assists.

At the same time, Cameron Payne showed out as Paul’s backup. After leaving the NBA to go play overseas a while back, and then returning to enjoy a career year with the Suns, some more skeptical fans wondered if Payne’s performance last season was just a fluke.

However, he put those takes to bed with ease. Payne picked up right where he left off, torching the Lakers with 11 points, going 5-9 from the field.

Phoenix Suns Big Man Jalen Smith Might Dial it Back

Jalen Smith’s ability to stretch the floor as a center makes him a hot commodity. He illustrated these skills often during the NBA’s Summer League, where he shot 35.7 percent from deep with 7.0 attempts per game.

But during Phoenix’s first preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, he shot just 1-6 from beyond the arc, and last night against the Lakers, he attempted just one 3-pointer. Based on those findings, Smith might chose to pump the brakes on his 3-point shooting while he tries to work his way into the rotation.

Next. Phoenix Suns Five Most Important Regular Season Games. dark

Although this comes from a small sample size, not much else exists to judge Smith off of at this point. Taking too many ill-advised triples represents an easy way for a young prospect to play his way back into the G-League, and Smith surely understands that here.