Your favorite Phoenix Sun might just be back next season

The Phoenix Suns are going to look different around the fringes of their roster next season, but one fan favorite may just be back in The Valley.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns are unlikely to trade any of their "Big 3" this offseason, but there are still going to be changes made to a roster that came up well short in the playoffs this year. A new head coach in Mike Budenholzer helps, but the front office now need to once again identify players that can be signed for the minimum who can actually contribute to this team.

Last summer it was a mixed bag in that regard, with players like Eric Gordon and even Drew Eubanks playing some sort of part in the Suns' 49 win season. On the other hand though, guys like Yuta Watanabe and Keita Bates-Diop - who came to The Valley with reasonably high expectations - flamed out badly.

Ahead of some minor moves being made again there is one player on a minimum deal who likely will be back in Phoenix next season, and that is Bol Bol.

That's because according to Evan Sidery of Forbes Sports;

"The Suns would like to re-sign Bol Bol, who could receive a more consistent role under new head coach Mike Budenholzer. Bol shot 42.3 percent on threes, and that could be explored further within Budenholzer’s scheme as a stretch big. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal all raved about Bol’s work ethic throughout the season."

Evan Sidery

Already we have examined exactly why Bol would be a great fit playing under coach Budenholzer, and it revolves around his combination of height, shooting ability and ball-handling skills. It was a minor miracle that Bol managed to find consistent playing time under previous head coach Frank Vogel, who is known to favor a stronger interior presence out of his big men.

But Bol isn't really a center at all - rather a guard trapped in one of the longest frames in the league - and even Vogel conceded as much in the second half of the regular season. Rather than play backup to center Jusuf Nurkic or even Durant, Bol instead played alongside both some, as well as Eubanks on certain nights.

That allowed him to freelance defensively outside of the paint - where he would be both brushed aside too easily while also not really knowing what he was doing - in favor of trapping smaller scorers outside the 3-point line. There is no doubt that coach Bud can once again use Bol in the same way, and hope that he benefitted greatly from the extended playing time last season.

On the offensive end is where he could really flourish though, and it is clear Durant in particular has a real soft spot for Bol. It is not hard to see why, he comes across as a somewhat shy individual, who is extremely diligent in doing what is asked of him on the court. If anything he's not aggressive enough offensively, although again on the other end is where he can be easily targeted.

Bol shot over 42 percent on 3-pointers during the regular season - and took roughly 1.3 attempts per night - and that is an area coach Budenholzer will surely lean into. His form, although a bit awkward looking when you watch him put the shot up, is remarkably consistent in how it leaves his hands. Then again when nobody can block your shot, it is easy to understand why.

Coach Budenholzer won't run many plays through Bol - but assuming he does come back to the Suns - he will surely see his number called that little bit more often. Playing with superstars means less attention on him, and in both February and March of last season, he averaged over eight points per game.

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That came on what amounted to 10.9 minutes each night across the whole season, although at only 43 games played (zero starts), there were quite a few DNPs in there too. By the time the playoffs rolled round, Bol didn't play in one of the Timberwolves losses and managed just 4.3 minutes across the other three games.

Therein lies the beauty of Bol however, and it is another reason to believe he can go to another level again under Budenholzer next season. He can be used more as a regular season player, before becoming the eighth man in their playoff rotation as a best case scenario. There is no shame in that, and he is unlikely to get that chance anywhere else. A return makes sense for everybody involved.