The Phoenix Suns’ offseason moves indicate that, for the first time in a while, they plan on winning some games in 2018-19.
Going into the 2018 NBA offseason, I expected the Phoenix Suns to be mostly dormant. They had a good young core, but no real chance of competing this year.
I think Bridges is a fantastic player; in fact, I think he’s one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, and his skill-set is a perfect match around Booker and Ayton. However, I can’t help but feel like he doesn’t have a high ceiling.
The NCAA champ coming out of Villanova could certainly be a very good NBA player, and I imagine he’ll wind up being somewhere between a good role player to a solid starter. I just would’ve expected a rebuilding team like the Phoenix Suns to pick guys with more star potential, even if they have lower floors.
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The two assets the Suns gave up to get Bridges — Zhaire Smith and the Miami Heat’s 2021 unprotected first round pick — are those kinds of assets. They could be busts, or they could really be something special.
I’m not saying it was a bad trade, I’m just saying that it seems to imply that the Suns had different intentions for the season than I thought.
There’s something to be said for a rebuilding team signing some veterans for their experience and wisdom. The Process-era Philadelphia 76ers signed a washed-up Elton Brand, while the Dallas Mavericks have kept J.J. Barea around.
Veterans like these are generally cheap and not very good, but the Suns spent $15 million on a guy who just last year started for the team with the best record in basketball.
Like Bridges, Trevor Ariza is a good 3-and-D player who will fit well and make the team better. The signing makes a ton of sense on the court, but it’s the off-court implications about the direction of the franchise that I find so interesting.
I don’t know if the Phoenix Suns really think they can make the playoffs this year. The Western Conference is loaded, and it certainly won’t be easy.
It would have been easy for the Phoenix Suns to kick the can down the road another year. They could have just let their young guys play, and waited for the West to hopefully get weaker at some point.
Instead, they’re taking the path of most resistance, which may or may not be wise, but is definitely commendable. We’ll see if it works, but at least we’ll get to watch some better basketball in the short-term.