The Phoenix Suns did not have their big three play in the second preseason game of the 2023-24 season against the Denver Nuggets, the reigning champions. That was probably the right idea because the Suns will lean on their big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal all season long.
It’s also good that they didn’t play because in the first quarter, the Suns’ role players were beating some of the Nuggets’ best players, including Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. They really didn’t even need their big three in this one.
But, even without those three, this preseason game was important because it will help us figure out what this team will be in 2023-24. We can take away some things from the play’s first half.
Suns vs. Nuggets preseason halftime takeaways
Suns post offense
With the unit the Suns had out on the court in the first half and really to start the quarter of Saban Lee, Josh Okogie, Grayson Allen, Chimezie Metu, and Jusuf Nurkic, the Suns loved running everything through Nurkic.
There weren’t many possessions, if any, where Nurkic didn’t get a post touch, or anay touch for that matter. It will be interesting to see how that develops with guys like Beal, Booker, and Durant, who can get their own shot at any moment and love running an iso play every now and then.
Saban Lee as PG
No, not the starting point guard, even though that’s what he was on Tuesday night, but as the backup point guard, Lee looks great. Not only did he fill the point guard role perfectly, but he was able to score a bit, too. His poise and touch by the rim are really good, especially on that little push shot/floater he has.
Lee knows how to get to his spots, and the best part is that he can handle the ball. Josh Okagie had several instances where he was sloppy with the ball and either lost it or almost lost it. For a guy on a two-way contract, Lee could get some minutes this season.
Eric Gordon’s minutes
We won’t know what his role looks like yet, but he needs to be a guy in thaat second unit. Gordon’s three-point ability is great, as he hit a pull-up jumper on the fast break during the first half. But he can also get to the rim. He was also one of my players to watch coming into this game.
The biggest reason is that they need more guys who can handle the ball. My best bet is that Gordon will still get most of the guard minutes with Lee being on a two-way. He also has that leadership and experience. I felt like we didn’t see him quite enough, but maybe Vogel just knows what he is going to get.