The Phoenix Suns enter the 2023-24 season with plenty of top end talent. Even better, they did a great job this summer of adding the right kind of players on minimum deals to round out their roster. Something that owner Mat Ishbia deserves a lot of credit for.
While Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal will get most of the praise, and have a lot said and written about them, the regular season in particular will be when the bulk of this group can shine. In fact, they will have a big impact on how many games this team will end up winning.
Of all the players now on the Suns’ roster, there are still a number of them who are underrated throughout the league.
If they weren’t, then the Suns wouldn’t have been able to nab many of them for next to no money on minimum deals this summer. One thing we can say with certainty about this group, is that the vast majority are not ring chasing. They have come to The Valley to improve their stock around the league, in hopes of a future payday.
Which makes separating the truly underrated players on the roster quite a difficult task. For many it goes beyond the basic numbers here, and no two players in the league are viewed in the same way. What is overachieving for one, can be seen as not living up to the potential for another.
3. Deandre Ayton
We start, somewhat surprisingly, with a player who has spent his whole career with the Suns in Deandre Ayton. The former first overall pick having just completed a great summer run with the Bahamas, helping put them in position to qualify for a first ever Olympic Games next summer.
How then can Ayton be underrated? He’s been the starting big man on a team that made the NBA Finals only two seasons ago. Well, despite clearly being a top 10 big in the league, and a player who has shown he can be a defensive anchor when it really matters, Ayton continues to find himself in trade rumors. Even when no trade currently exists.
Which is ridiculous when you think about it, because there are few 25-year-old bigs in the league who the Suns, or anybody, would trade Ayton straight up for. Yes he is making close to $100 million over the next three seasons, and that seems to rub people up the wrong way for some reason.
Really though Ayton was smart to sign an offer sheet in the past with the Indiana Pacers, and leverage it into a bumper contract offer from the Suns. Would you rather have Rudy Gobert with this group than Ayton for example? He is already 31, and is making over $40 million for the next three seasons. His playoff limitations in the past have also appeared obvious.
So you see bigs who can play are at a premium in the league, as they should be. The last three winners of the MVP award have been Giannis Antetokounmpo (twice), Nikola Jokic (twice) and Joel Embiid. Can you name three better bigs in the entire NBA to attempt to guard these monsters in a seven game series? Exactly, which is why Ayton is still somehow underrated in his own weird way.