Since the Kevin Durant trade, there has been an open space in the Phoenix Suns starting five, with four spots locked down with all-star-type talent. For the most part, the fifth starter has been Josh Okogie. The young guard has provided solid defense and is aggressive on the offensive end showing a knack for getting to the free-throw line and doing the little things that lead to victories.
As we go into this article, we are working under the assumption that Okogie will continue to be the fifth starter and, as such, is not one of our options.
Option 1: A player looking to get back to what he was
Cam Payne was the easy choice for Monty Williams when the Suns were running all the way to the NBA Finals. However, over the last two years, Payne has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. The Suns will likely rely heavily on Payne in the playoffs.
With Saban Lee likely not on the playoff roster, it is likely that Cam will be the only point guard on the roster besides CP3. Although Phoenix could choose to operate sans a point guard when Paul is not on the floor, with some point-Booker, the reality is the Suns need Payne’s ability to penetrate the defense and be a pest on the defensive end.
We may never see the same Payne who torched the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020-2021 playoffs, but we should get the chance. Recovering from a tailbone injury late in the season, the hope is that Payne is healthy and can contribute, which has not been a given this season; thus, others may get on the floor before the backup point guard.