3 Phoenix Suns who have to go in the New Year

The Phoenix Suns need all hands on deck in 2024 to turn their season around, but these three players should not be part of the team by then.
Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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1. Drew Eubanks

Outside of Watanabe, no one player has seen their stock fall more this season with the Suns than backup center Drew Eubanks. Why this is even worse than Watanabe, is because Eubanks actually had some nice moments early in the campaign, where he was looking like exactly what this group needed off the bench.

Starting big man Jusuf Nurkic certainly brings the passing out of the post, screening and moving without the ball that the starting five needs. But it was Eubanks who was bringing the energy and hustle off the bench with the second unit, fighting and scraping for every ball. That has dwindled though, and it is no surprise that he's averaged only 15.4 minutes per night in December.

Down on the 18 or so minutes he had appeared on the court in both October and November, as coach Vogel looks to go in another direction with the backup big minutes. Metu is fast becoming the obvious choice here, and his Christmas Day heroics against the Dallas Mavericks alone are reason to get him more minutes.

Udoka Azubuike likely isn't a long-term solution here, but it is interesting that he's received some run in the absence of Nurkic as a result of a personal issue. Minutes that both Eubanks and Metu could have easily absorbed, yet it was Azubuike who played 19 minutes in the recent win over the Houston Rockets, and 22 in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.

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With both Metu and Azubuike successfully pushing Eubanks for minutes - and no shortage of big men out there who are looking for a team - it feels like Eubanks is going to be squeezed out of The Valley. Which is unfortunate for him, because unlike Bol and Watanabe, he had actually contributed some so far this season.