3 best players the Phoenix Suns got on minimum contracts.
1. Keita Bates-Diop
A lot of people were surprised to see the Suns add Keita Bates-Diop straight away once free agency began, and many opponents were jealous of the acquisition as well. When you think of the kind of players who will thrive in the setting the Suns are cultivating, Bates-Diop has to be on that list.
At 27-years-old, Bates-Diop has never averaged more than 10 points in a season in the league, although he did hit nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers last season, on 2.1 attempts per game. The defensive end is where he is going to make his name however, and he’s already had plenty of standout moments for his former employers, the San Antonio Spurs.
The best case scenario here is that Bates-Diop can replace the departed Craig, and very quickly become a much better version of him as well. This also applies to Okogie, who can start if required, but who would be better suited coming off the bench. Bates-Diop in theory is entering his prime, and has been presented with a golden opportunity here to start and win a championship.
All he has to do is exactly what he’s good at, and nothing more. There won’t be any requirement for him to make many shots outside of the occasional 3-pointer, and the hope is that his young legs will carry the team on some nights during the regular season.
There’s also a belief that once the postseason begins, Bates-Diop can be part of their shortened rotation. He has too much defensive ability not to be used, and like the others on this list, to get him on a minimum deal is superb business by the Suns.
Bates-Diop has his flaws. If he didn’t, he’d have been offered the kind of money to play elsewhere that he simply couldn’t turn down. But this is the ideal situation for him. Help the Suns play elite basketball defensively while he is on the court, and hopefully form a fierce partnership with Ayton. His one-on-one skills defending elite scorers is going to be crucial.