The Phoenix Suns have had a wild offseason. So much so that they are now a completely new roster than the one that exited the playoffs last year at the hands of the Denver Nugget, although they were the only team to take two wins off the eventual champions.
Bradley Beal is now on this roster and ready to contribute, and there is no telling what a full season from Kevin Durant can bring. Even center Deandre Ayton, long talked about as a possible trade candidate, is looking trim and engaged playing for the Bahamas in FIBA competition.
This makes ranking three players who improved their trade value on the team hard, because outside of the top end talent, everybody else is a new face.
That doesn’t mean we can’t attempt this however, while expanding the parameters to include players who improved their stock elsewhere last season — and in doing so convinced the Suns that they were worth signing. With eight players playing on minimum deals as well, it would be fair to say most some these guys didn’t get the financial rewards their play warranted.
A chance to change that comes in the form of helping this organization to win a first championship, and the Suns will need these players to build upon last season if they want to win it all.
3. Damion Lee
Despite being 30-years-old, it feels like Lee is finding himself now with the Suns. It only took six seasons in the league, four of which were spent with the Golden State Warriors, but Lee was exactly the kind of player the Suns needed last season, and will be again this year.
He came off the bench in 74 games (five starts), and put up 8.2 points and three rebounds per game. While that doesn’t seem like much, shooting 90.4 percent from the free-throw line and 44.5 percent from deep (career high) on 3.3 attempts per night, is much more like it.
In the postseason, Lee saw his minutes dip from 20.4 to 11.1, where he played in eight games. That is not a problem though, because the hope here is that Lee can contribute much more during the regular season, then he ultimately will once the playoffs begin.
It is not like Lee had the best year of his career statistically last season (although he wasn’t too far off it), although that is not the object of this exercise. He has improved his stock within the franchise, because they know they can count on him in spot minutes, and he is comfortable in his role. That translates to other teams also realizing Lee could do a job for them as well.