Phoenix Suns 3 Free Agents to Avoid in 2022 NBA Offseason

Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Austin Rivers
Phoenix Suns, Austin Rivers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns 2022 Free Agents to Avoid: Austin Rivers

Perhaps more than anything this summer, the Suns need to acquire a true backup point guard given Chris Paul’s growing age and Cameron Payne’s ineffectiveness last season. With that, some might look toward Austin Rivers with him being one of the most passed around plug-and-play ball handlers of the past decade.

Regardless, James Jones and company should look elsewhere to address this need. Phoenix’s entire offense revolves around the pick-and-roll, whether Chris Paul is on the floor or not. Austin Rivers, being a shoot first guard, does not fit that bill.

This past season with the Denver Nuggets, Rivers served as the ball-handler in just 10.8 percent of the team’s pick-and-roll sequences—the fewest on the team besides bigs Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon, and sharpshooter Bryn Forbes.

But even with those limited opportunities captaining the pick-and-roll, Rivers still turned the ball over at the third highest rate on the team. Overall, he ranked in the 11th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler as well—the second worst mark on the team.

While Rivers ranked toward the bottom of his team in these pick-and-roll categories, it’s also important to note that the Nuggets ranked in the bottom five last year in points per possession and field goal percentage on said play types.

Rivers was quite literally one of the worst pick-and-roll ball handers on arguably the league’s worst pick-and-roll teams last season. Being a shoot first guy as well, how comfortable are fans watching him take looks away from weapons on the wing like Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson? Phoenix needs to stay away, far away.