Chess Pieces

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virtual9mm
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Chess Pieces

Post by virtual9mm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:19 am

I've been watching the season mainly to see how the players mature and are fitting together. What role would each of the current Suns play on an ideal championship caliber team? Here are my thoughts:

POTENTIAL STARS

Devin Booker: Very good second-best player on a Championship team. Capable of being the best player on a Championship team with extremely strong second- and third-best players (e.g. GSW before Durant).

DeAndre Ayton: Upside is a hybrid Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard, potentially the best player on a Championship team, think David Robinson or Hakeem Olajuwon. Middle-range projection is a Patrick Ewing, who was a defensive anchor but never quite stacked up to Robinson or Hakeem. Downside is that of a Rik Smits or a Rony Seikaly -- borderline all-star that puts up great numbers but isn't quite elite.

PROVEN STARTERS

Ricky Rubio: Solid starting PG that is transcendental in some ways but with some glaring weaknesses.

SIXTH MAN

Kelly Oubre: Although he can start, he's really more of a sixth man + microwave off the bench on a championship squad.

BENCH ROTATION

Mikal Bridges: Upside is a 3-and-D proven starter on a contending squad if he can fix his 3-pointer. Downside is a seventh or eight man on a title squad if he can't fix his shot.

Aron Baynes: He plays hard but he can't seem to maintain more than 20 minutes per game.

Dario Saric: He's been disappointing so far compared to what he did in Philadelphia. Don't know why but he's looking like a solid bench player on a contender, no less but no more.

Cam Johnson: Situational 3-point gunner on a contender. Which could be really valuable as we've seen a few times now.

NON-FACTORS

Everyone else for now.

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OVERALL -- the Suns need a third star + fill some glaring holes (e.g. backup PG, PF). A Rubio-Booker-Oubre-Bridges-Ayton starting lineup would be among the strongest in the NBA if Bridges could fix his shot. The development of a Cam Johnson and perhaps some other players like Ty Jerome is needed for a bench to materialize.

Had the Suns not lost Ayton for 30 games + Rubio and Booker for a critical stretch of winnable games -- and if Tyler Johnson and Saric had played to expectations, the Suns would be closer to .600 than .400 and about a 7 seed in the West. But this is where depth comes into play.

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