Frank Vogel has now shown us the Suns' playoff rotation

Like it or not, Phoenix Suns' head coach Frank Vogel has now shown us his rotation for the playoffs.
New Orleans Pelicans v Phoenix Suns
New Orleans Pelicans v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns' recent run of impressive form came to a halt on Sunday night, as the New Orleans Pelicans got the better of them in The Valley. Perhaps we jinxed them after commending their three game win streak, although this team did have - and continues to have - the toughest remaining schedule in the league.

Losing to the Pelicans - who Devin Booker had dropped over 50 points on in the last three meetings - was a negative for another reason, and that is because in a theoretical postseason matchup between the two, the Suns should be favored. This loss giving the Pelicans some belief that a series between them could be closer than previous encounters would have you believe.

In playing a nine-man rotation for this game, head coach Frank Vogel officially gave fans a look at the rotation he will be using come the playoffs.

Starting at the top of the roster, and any two of Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal are sure to be on the court at all times for the team once the postseason starts. This also includes a run through the play-in tournament, which the Suns could yet get sucked back into if they lose a few more games.

After that, center Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen round out the starting five. As they should - as for all of Nurkic's limitations in the middle - he has been a constant for the Suns this season. With Allen outperforming his role massively, that is five of the nine slots now taken care of.

The sixth man role is surely going to go to Royce O'Neale - although that was not quite the case versus the Pelicans - although we now know he can also start if required to do so. Having O'Neale and Allen occupy slots five and six in this rotation will also allow the Suns to make some important tweaks to how they play certain opponents in a seven game series as well.

Then there is Eric Gordon - who had four more minutes than O'Neale in the loss to the Pelicans - and who has had a pretty disappointing season. Still, if he is your seventh man you know you're getting some shooting from deep, veteran play off the bench and an ability to guard bigger players thanks to his stout frame.

If Gordon can average somewhere between 15-18 minutes in the playoffs - and not be a black hole on both ends of the court while he is out there - then that will be deemed a success by the Suns. Spots eight and nine are where it gets dicey though, with backup big Drew Eubanks going to get the nod when Nurkic goes to the bench.

Eubanks tries just about as hard as anybody on this roster, but he is limited in what he can do. More skilled bigs make him obsolete out there (although that is also true of Nurkic), while bigger centers can bully him to their spots. Any Eubanks minutes are going to be an experience, and not necessarily a good one. But they are also necessary because he's the best they've got in the backup role.

Nine rebounds and a pair of assists while being held scoreless by the Pelicans is roughly what you can expect in the playoffs - although with Durant sure to spend more time at the five - the need for Eubanks should be even less than the regular season.

Making up the rotation is Bol Bol, and the fact he's even made it to this point is incredible given coach Vogel clearly didn't trust him to start the season. The variance on how he could be used will also fluctuate more than any other player outside of the starting five for the Suns.

Bol is not a traditional big, and so he can't take minutes off Eubanks directly. He's also a truly dreadful defender in the paint, to the point he literally cannot be used in this way. Yet if he's allowed to operate either as part of jumbo lineups with Nurkic and Durant, or as a defender on the perimeter who annoys third and fourth options, Bol can have real success.

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Which is why depending on the matchup he could be the first player off the bench, or else he'll barely play at all. Against the Pelicans it was the latter, as the long in most areas opponent limited what Bol could do on both ends. He played seven minutes, whereas a team like the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets don't have the ridiculous length outside the paint to contain or attack him.

That variance will be needed to try and hurt certain teams, and it is also the wildcard that coach Vogel has at his disposal. There is nothing overly shocking about this nine-man group, and it is the best combination of players after a gruelling regular season that the franchise have to go to battle with in the playoffs. Does it fill you with confidence?