Trade deadline addition already starting games for the Phoenix Suns

Despite only playing a handful of games for the Phoenix Suns so far, this trade deadline addition is already starting games for the team.
Detroit Pistons v Phoenix Suns
Detroit Pistons v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns were busy at the trade deadline, shipping out for players and three second round picks in order to acquire the services of David Roddy and Royce O'Neale. They then doubled down on the addition of new recruits, by going out and getting Thaddeus Young through the buyout market.

With one roster spot remaining as well, they may not be done dipping into the open market in order to add another veteran to the end of their bench. All of this was done to reinforce the roster around the superstar trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, giving head coach Frank Vogel some trusted depth to turn to depending on the matchup.

Yet after only five games played for the organization, O'Neale is about to start his first game for the team versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

The reason for doing this was explained by coach Vogel to the media in the lead up to the game versus the Lakers - a must win given the Suns are riding a two game losing streak coming out of the All-Star break - and it made a lot of sense. With Beal still out with a hamstring issue and normal backup starter Eric Gordon also unavailable, O'Neale became the next man up.

Coming at this from the perspective of the bigger picture though, and is this where the Suns thought they would be as the calendar gets set to flip to March? Expecting a guy who has only suited up for them five times to suddenly be a starter? Is that smart business at the deadline, or the desperate act of a front office who ran out of depth chasing stars, and are trying to replenish it?

Easy as it might be to pile on the Suns here, it is more likely that the latter is true. O'Neale ordinarily wouldn't be available for the price of three second round picks, but the Brooklyn Nets were going nowhere fast. In fact it may have been former fan favorite in The Valley Mikal Bridges who only went and got head coach Jacque Vaughn canned out in New York.

So the Suns didn't panic by trading for O'Neale, they saw an opportunity to get better and took it. Given that Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, Keita Bates-Diop and Jordan Goodwin - the four players who left so that O'Neale and Roddy could join - didn't do much of anything this season, this definitely looked like a chance worth taking.

Having him start games this soon into his tenure - and after some muted performances to date as well - might not have been part of the plan, but O'Neale is a lot better to have in reserve than some of the other players the Suns have tried to use in bigger spots this season. Outside of Gordon and the excellent Grayson Allen, there really hasn't been a reliable enough player to play big minutes.

O'Neale might be struggling from beyond the arc to start his career in Phoenix, the 32 percent he has managed on five attempts per night is just bad, but the 22.2 minutes he has amassed per contest tell you all you need to know about what coach Vogel thinks of him. He's the natural player to slide into a starting spot in the backcourt next to Booker, and it is hoped his shooting can improve as a result.

3 most important players to the Suns outside their big three. dark. Next. 3 most important players to the Suns outside their big three

This also likely means what we expected when the trade went down, and that is that O'Neale will be part of the playoff rotation. Their "Big 3" plus center Jusuf Nurkic, then Allen, Gordon, Young, one more buyout guy and maybe five minutes of Bol Bol would appear to be the group, plus O'Neale for good measure.

Is that enough to win a championship if you're the Suns? On paper it doesn't look like it, and relying so much on the trio of Allen, Gordon and O'Neale as the top three role guys (Nurkic is likely to sit to play Durant at the five more) isn't going to inspire fans with a ton of confidence either. Still, O'Neale represents a better option than the Suns had earlier this season, making adding him a win.