The Phoenix Suns have had a stellar offseason, and now have a regular season schedule to pour over in anticipation of what they hope will be a championship run in 2023-24. There are already several talking points regarding their schedule, with the key dates obvious to fans of the team.
This is a stacked roster featuring as much high end talent as you could hope to see, and enough depth through smart summer moves to ensure the regular season heavy lifting can be more evenly distributed. On paper, this roster has all of the ingredients you could hope for.
The game isn’t played on paper though, and hard as it may be to imagine now, the Suns won’t be immune to entering the trade market if necessary.
Given how hard owner Mat Ishbia has tried to create a winner here, sweeping changes aren’t going to be made on a whim. Devin Booker is obviously untouchable, he is one of the best 10 players in the league today. The newly added Bradley Beal is going to be given time to integrate himself to this group as well.
But time is of the essence here, and a slow start or sloppy play from a player over a prolonged period of time, could see them find their name in trade talks. Eight players are on minimum deals, and so moving them if they do not perform shouldn’t be much of a problem if needed either. This is a big season personally for many Suns players.
3. Yuta Watanabe
On the face of it, Yuta Watanabe is one of the best players the Suns got this summer. He was touted as the ideal player for the organization to add because of his size and shooting ability, but the belief was that he’d be offered a lot more money to go and play elsewhere. Plenty of teams could have done with his services.
Which is why he surprisingly finds himself on this list. Watanabe shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range last season, and at one point led the league in corner 3-pointers made. He played with Kevin Durant while on the Brooklyn Nets, and was the ideal player to pair next to the superstar.
He can stretch the floor offensively, and on the defensive end is a big body who may be a touch underrated by opponents. Watanabe doesn’t have crazy athleticism, but he can certainly get up there and block shots when necessary. He also moves his feet well for a bigger player who is used to spotting up around the 3-point line.
Watanabe is here then because, if this season begins to get away from the Suns, he is the player they could move for the best return. The new CBA means trading a player on a minimum deal is difficult because you have to bring back a player of the same value. But if the Suns want to work around the fringes to get better, they could get some picks or another veteran for Watanabe.