The Phoenix Suns are in the process of turning their season around right now, and this has been achieved in large part thanks to finally getting their star players healthy. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal haven't played together very often this season but when they have, this team looks like a contender in the Western Conference.
Role players such as Eric Gordon, Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic have certainly helped, and we now have enough evidence through games played to see which players signed this offseason have struggled to bring value to the end of the bench for the organization. Bol Bol being one example, although he had his moment in a recent win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Looking at the most disappointing signings by the franchise this past offseason though, and Yuta Watanabe tops the list.
The Japanese sharpshooter has certainly provided more of a spark than Bol, but context is relevant here. The Suns signed players like Bol and even Chimezie Metu with a view to them maybe having a couple of moments during the regular season, before ultimately being shelved once the postseason began.
Watanabe and the 44.4 percent he shot from deep with the Brooklyn Nets last season however was viewed as a fantastic get by the front office, with his shooting the perfect compliment next to the "Big 3". Only that hasn't happened, with Watanabe languishing on the bench to the tune of 15.8 minutes per night. Which makes these three players better alternatives the team should have signed instead.
3. Andre Drummond
Signing Andre Drummond when he was just sitting there for anybody to get would have been a twofold problem-solver for the Suns. With Drew Eubanks having regressed massively from the promising stretches we saw earlier in the season, and Metu a fun, but limited, player, this team is light in depth at the center position.
Drummond is currently playing for the Chicago Bulls on the second-year of a two-year, $6.5 million deal. Watanabe is in the first of a two-year, $5 million contract, so making the numbers work wouldn't have been difficult. Neither would convincing Drummond not to pick up the second year of his current deal, which he had to do in order to return to the Bulls.
Having a player who is coming off the bench in Chicago and averaging 8.3 rebounds per game to back up Nurkic would have been nice, and it also would have freed the Suns up to go and get another shooter in place of Watanabe. If not that, then perhaps a veteran point guard who could run the show when Booker is out of the game.
The organization rightly put a lot of trust in Watanabe to fill several needs on this roster, and to this point he has failed to do so. Going and getting a dominant big man for the postseason run - while perhaps adding another player on the cheap as well - would have been a wiser direction for the team to go in hindsight.