Suns Should Keep these 2 Replacement Players and Cut 2 Others

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

Following almost every other NBA team, the Phoenix Suns made landfall on basketball’s island of misfit toys last week, bringing aboard their own squad of exiled and forgotten players to fill in for their guys currently stuck in health and safety protocols.

Before adding these replacement players, the Suns did not carry enough men to meet league requirements to play games, making them vital to the team right now even with their limited skills on the court.

With Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, and JaVale McGee all out for the time being, the Suns first inked 10-day contracts with M.J. Walker, Emanuel Terry, and Paris Bass. After that, they agreed to a deal with 10-year NBA veteran Bismack Biyombo.

With this motley crew heavily featured in Phoenix’s rotation during their games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics, the team struggled, barely beating the lowly Thunder and then having Boston blow them out.

However, the Suns bounced back with their new guys against the Charlotte Hornets last night, squashing them en route to a 133-99 victory. Phoenix’s replacement players combined for 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and five steals. They also shot a modest 7-15 from the field.

But with Crowder and Ayton coming up on a week in protocols, their return is likely right around the corner, meaning that Phoenix must part ways with these “super backups” rather soon as well.

With one open roster spot though even after all their guys come back, the Suns can still sign one of these players for the rest of the season. Also with Chandler Hutchison attached to two-way contract and only suiting up for six games this year, cutting him opens the door for another to stay on.

So with those opportunities, the Suns find themselves with a chance to keep two guys in the building. Looking over all four players, Phoenix should do the following.

Emanuel Terry – Forward

Re-signing with the Suns after he played two games with them midway through the 2018-19 season, Emanuel Terry’s second stint with Phoenix has lacked much excitement.

Despite appearing during the team’s last three games, he remains scoreless, going a collective 0-5 from the field. In 17 minutes of total run, he also has a collective four turnovers and four personal fouls. To his credit though, Terry did grab six rebounds against Boston, but still posted a -15 plus/minus for the game.

At 25-years-old, Terry’s best basketball days likely still lie ahead of him, but with the Suns looking to win now, his productivity at this time does not cut it. Wishing him luck wherever he lands, Phoenix must move on from him.

M.J. Walker – Guard

At 23-years-old, recent graduate from Florida State M.J. Walker represents the youngest replacement player currently on the Suns. He also remains scoreless between his two games against the Celtics and Hornets. However, he did come away with three steals during his seven minutes to close out the Charlotte game.

This offseason, Chris Paul recruited JaVale McGee to the Suns after noticing the extensive hustle he showed off during his “garbage time” minutes in the Western Conference Semifinals. Fighting for those three steals with the game already well-decided, Walker carries that energy as well. Call it a hunch, but he feels like someone who might fit in with Phoenix’s culture, and deserves to stay with the organization.

As a younger player, Hutchison’s two-way contract slot should pass to Walker, with the G-League resembling a better place for him to polish off his game a bit more. He certainly showed some pop during his four years as a Seminole, and if the Suns nurture that correctly, they might turn him into a rotation player one day.

Paris Bass – Forward

Paris Bass only played during Phoenix’s game last night vs Charlotte, but did moderately well with all things considered. The 26-year-old rookie went 2-4 from the field to score four points. He also grabbed two rebounds and came up with a steal.

But unfortunately, he tried bringing the ball up the floor almost immediately after checking in, turning it over on the drive and giving up a Charlotte layup at the other end. It certainly feels unfair, but mistakes like than can kill you in a short chance.

Despite the energy he brought to the team, pumping up his teammates on the bench and playing aggressively when on the floor, he feels like an “odd man out” for Phoenix right now. Wishing him well all the same, the Suns do not need to renew his contract

Bismack Biyombo – Center

Although a few years removed from his 26-rebound game with the Toronto Raptors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs, Biyombo still played effectively during his first game back in the league last night. He finished with 11 points, going 5-7 from the field. He also secured six rebounds, an assist, steal, and blocked shot.

But two of BIyombo’s points were louder than almost any other ones scored against the Hornets. Rolling off a high screen, he threw down a ferocious dunk to close the first half.

That play, along with all his other contributions allowed him to finish with a +19 plus/minus mark—the highest posted by anyone off the bench.

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Producing during his time on the floor, helping solidify the team’s thinnest position, and with lengthy playoff experience, Biyombo deserves to fill up this last roster spot for the Suns on a veteran’s minimum deal. He might not play much going forward, but he does no harm and seals off the rotation nicely.