The innovative style of basketball that the Phoenix Suns are doing this season isn’t quite working. Out of all 30 teams in the league, the Suns are the only ones that don’t have a traditional point guard in their lineup. The experiment was quite intriguing at the start. However, after 10 games, their approach hasn’t been successful.
Phoenix is currently the worst team in the fourth quarter, and they’ve done nothing to fix it. They perform well in the first three quarters but can’t follow up with a consistent closing period. A big reason is their lack of depth in the point guard department. The stars carry the load offensively, executing the play and scoring for the team.
Many were excited to see Devin Booker as the primary ball handler for the team this season. But he hasn’t been healthy for the team and has only appeared in two games. Although he is nearing his return, it probably won’t solve the team’s issues.
The Suns need another point guard right now. Luckily for them, the Chicago Bulls are close to blowing their roster up. Trade talks surrounding Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso are heating up rapidly. Out of the three Bulls players, Caruso is the player that fits their current needs.
Trading for Caruso will influence the team on both ends of the floor.
Caruso is a proven role player in the league. While he’s mostly playing the shooting guard position, he hasn’t forgotten how to control the pace as a point guard. After all, he started in the NBA as a two-way facilitator.
While the majority focuses on trading for LaVine and DeRozan, the Suns can use this moment to pursue the defensive guard. At first, I thought Phoenix could trade Grayson Allen in exchange for Caruso.
But, given the history of Allen with the Chicago crowd, the management might not like that proposal. Dealing with the former Duke player for the undrafted guard could be their best shot. Adding a second-round pick could convince the Illinois team to agree with the trade.
Caruso can control the pace as the team’s primary ball handler. This way, the Big Three can have more motion off the ball and get themselves open. At the same time, he can help stretch the defense, as he’s shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.
The two-way guard is also intelligent in shot-making this season. He’s averaging 4.9 attempts from the field, which isn’t a lot. But that shows that he prioritized playing team-oriented basketball.
On the defensive end, the Bulls guard has built a reputation as one of the league’s best perimeter guards. He became an elite lockdown defender with the Los Angeles Lakers. Caruso’s defensive intelligence helped the Lakers win the 2020 title. I’m not saying he’s the key to the Suns winning the Larry O’Brien trophy, but his addition will boost the team’s chances. His knowledge of Frank Vogel’s system is a positive characteristic.
All-Star Kevin Durant has given Caruso his props in their last game, which is a positive sign for the Suns to trade for him.
"“A hard worker who is going to do all he can for his teammates,” Durant said. “That stuff right there (he does) makes up for a lot of mistakes. Tonight he got his hands on the ball and was able to knock down threes, and that takes him to another level when he’s able to knock down three balls like he did tonight and create off the dribble like he did tonight. He’s a phenomenal player. I don’t want to even call him a role player; he’s a guy you can plug with any lineup and he will make the right reads and right plays on the defensive and offensive side and the Bulls are lucky to have him.”"
Phoenix shouldn’t waste time trading for Caruso now that the Bulls are willing to open the possibility of returning to square one. With a reliable two-way facilitator familiar with Vogel’s system, the Suns could start their return to the win column soon.