The Phoenix Suns have finished up their slate of preseason games, going an impressive 4-1 in the process. Not that the results themselves are important here, much more interesting has been watching head coach Frank Vogel tinker with his new roster.
We’ve seen glimpses of the “Big 3” of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant, with the latter not happy that this Lakers player was guarding him in their recent matchup. Really though they have been kept under wraps for the most part in preseason play.
Outside of those three, there have been a couple of winners and one loser with the minutes they have played so far in trying to impress the coaching staff.
Guard Saben Lee shot out of the gates early, and has continued to seize his limited opportunity with the team. Given that Keon Johnson was recently waived – bringing the Suns’ roster down to the required 15 players – Lee has already won this preseason by staying on the roster.
He also outlasted Ish Wainright, yet more proof that the coaching staff like what they see out of a player who will get some regular season minutes handling the ball. For the other three on this list though, the expectations were greater, with two rising to the occasion, and one with work left to do.
Winner – Grayson Allen
We may look back on the Deandre Ayton trade as the Grayson Allen deal for the Suns, and not the Jusuf Nurkic package. Allen came across from the Milwaukee Bucks as an underrated part of the trade, and he has got to work early and seamlessly in fitting in with this group.
He might not start on opening night against the Golden State Warriors, but he no doubt is in the Suns’ best eight man rotation right now. He is also going to push presumed starter Josh Okogie for that starting spot, and quickly, although the sixth man role may ultimately be where he ends up.
Playing 23.3 minutes across the preseason run of games is an encouraging start for Allen, as are the 11.3 points per game he put up. Allen may have had All-Star level teammates back in Milwaukee, but he will have never had as much space as he is going to playing on this roster.
Shooting 31.8 percent from deep just flat out won’t be good enough in the regular season, but to be taking 4.8 attempts per game while still figuring out his place on the offensive end is encouraging. Allen has the backing of the coaches, and his teammates, and has looked the ideal role player for this group.