The Phoenix Suns (18-37) are rebuilding and stand last in the Pacific Division. In fact, they’re 25 games back of the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs. It’s safe to say they haven’t been impressive this season.
Their leading scorer is their point guard Goran Dragic (averaging14.1 points per game). Center Marcin Gortat leads the team in rebounds with 8.6 rebounds per game. The Suns are in dire need of players to make them contenders.
Frankly, the current crop of players can’t do this on their own. Dragic, Gortat and four other players barely average more than 10 points per game. The Suns need to place an effort on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Let’s face it, in order for the Suns to become contenders in the West they need to reconfigure and add fire to their team. Here are five players that may possibly help the Suns become a contender.
1. Monta Ellis/Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
Ellis and fellow free agent Jennings have similar stats, roughly scoring 18 points per game and also play both guard positions.
The better pick would be Ellis because he isn’t an injury risk, unlike Jennings who earlier this year, sprained his left ankle and played through the pain.
Either guard would give the Suns a tremendous boost for scoring. Both guards can drive the ball better than Dragic. As far as Ellis or Jennings, if the Suns are willing to spend money, they can’t go wrong.
2. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have one good thing this season, small forward Josh Smith.
Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, averages 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. That’s nearly the same production in rebounds from Gortat and three more points than Dragic.
Smith would also fill in a hole much needed for the Suns. They’re presently weak at the small forward position with the underachieving Michael Beasley. Smith averages seven points and four more rebounds a game than Beasley, a better alternate for the position.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, rumors are swirling the Brooklyn Nets want Smith. Other teams rumored are the Bucks and Boston Celtics. If the Suns are wise and paying attention they should acquire Smith before someone else swoops him up.
3. Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz
Al Jefferson, center and hustler on the court from the Utah Jazz, is one of their few bright spots.
The 6’10”, 289-pounder averages 17.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Jefferson’s will be ann unrestricted free agent this summer.
The Suns need someone of Jefferson’s caliber to create a presence that is so needed down the middle. In fact, it’s rare for an NBA team to have that type of presence at center. Jefferson would instantly boost the Suns in that regard. Plus, adding a big man would make them true contenders with those teams with great centers. If Dwight Howard does stay with the Los Angeles Lakers, having Jefferson would be a great idea.
4. Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks
New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert has returned from ACL surgery. Shumpert isn’t a scorer, but he is a defensive specialist for the Knicks.
Rumors circulated that the Suns were interested in acquiring Shumpert, according to Yahoo Sports. This would be a steal for the Suns, who need to improve defensively. The Suns have let opposing teams score nearly 100 points a game on numerous occasions. Their record when opponents score 100 or more points against them is 8-21. For the Suns, this should be unacceptable.
5. Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets’ swingman Andre Iguodala was acquired thanks to the four-team Howard deal. Since then, surprisingly, he’s underachieved.
Iguodala averages 13.4 points per game. It isn’t a far cry from his career total of 15.2 points per game, but it is disappointing. The Nuggets can terminate his contract if they don’t like what they see. If that’s the case, the Suns should pick him up.
Iguodala would thrive under the Suns’ offensive scheme. Plus, he’d also lend a hand defensively after all he was part of the All-Defensive Second Team in 2011.
The Suns could use Iguodala for his experience and with the certainty that he can emerge as a locker room leader for Phoenix.
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