There is no doubt the Phoenix Suns have a stacked roster heading into the 2023-24 season. Not only do the franchise boast Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, but they also have a big in Deandre Ayton who could be the best fourth option in the league.
Ayton is actually this team’s x-factor, and how he responds to the challenges put to him will go a long way to deciding how good this team can be. Outside of these core individuals, the Suns did a fantastic job of adding no fewer than eight players on veteran minimum deals this summer.
These were headlined by Eric Gordon and Yuta Watanabe, but Drew Eubanks and even Bol Bol add depth to the rotation.
With so many players added, it is going to be hard for those on the fringes to get much game time throughout the regular season. Injuries can obviously change this, but as things stand, the regular season is more important than the organization would like it to be. Last season they ended as the fourth seed, which meant a postseason date with the Denver Nuggets.
The Suns fell in six games, and the higher they can finish this season, the better their chances of winning a first ever championship. Not that the Suns will have Durant in mind for these games – he is exempt from the new rules around rest that the NBA is implementing. Still, these three players will begin the season on the outside looking in.
3. Ish Wainright
Forward Ish Wainright might feel aggrieved to be here. After all, he’s far more likely to be called upon before Bol for example, because he is a more known commodity for the franchise. He’s also a player they clearly value too, and they continue to have him around this contending roster.
Wainright is also more likely to have his moment this season than the other two players on this list, because of his skill set. He is a big and bulky forward who has the ability to make life difficult for opponents. Wainright also understands his role with this group perfectly, having played with Booker and Chris Paul in the past.
On the nights when Durant is sitting (or worse yet unavailable), Wainright will surely come into the rotation. But he is a limited player offensively, and at 29-years-old and after only two seasons with the team, he is not likely to take a significant leap this coming season either.
Wainright is an enforcer, having famously been a part of the Buffalo Bills’ training camp roster back in 2018. Wainright didn’t make the NFL, and he spent his entire basketball career before the Suns picked him up playing abroad. He is a fighter and absolutely has a place on this team. He just won’t get to see the court as often as he’d like. Less even than the 12.1 minutes he’s averaged.