Welcome to “Inside the Suns”, your weekly in-depth analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
Each week, The Fantable – the Bright Siders roundtable – gives their opinions on The Suns’ latest releases and news. How do their opinions align with yours?
Great Questions of the Week
Q1 – What do you think Devin Booker should do to get a legitimate shot at this year’s MVP?
GuarGuar: He will basically have to maintain level playing in his first 4 matches. And even then, he probably didn’t have any media narrative. They’d rather give it to Luca, Ja, Tatum than Booker. He’s really going to have to go through a crazy season to win the MVP award.
OldAz: This wouldn’t be a popular opinion on this site, but I can’t convince myself that there is any scenario that would lead to Devin Booker winning this year’s MVP. Even if Devin had the best stats with the highest efficiency and was clearly the captain of the best regular season team at the end of the season – I still don’t think he would win. This is an award voted on and decided by sports writers and broadcasters and for many, last year’s end-of-year cloud will still be hanging over Devin (and any other Suns player) until a different narrative can be formed, and that can only happen with the success of the playoff.
Some voters will be able to separate this season from last season, but the faction that cannot make it past the end of last season will be large enough to pry Devin as the best player, even if he clearly deserves it. For proof, just listen to the broadcast of any national Suns game so far, as it’s pretty pervasive in the game, but commenters simply have to find a way to weave into the discussion of last year’s meltdown. I really hope I’m wrong, but I can’t imagine that happening despite Devin’s great start to the season.
Cliff 30: Either he needs to lead the league scoring goals in really good shooting splits or increase his passing by a big margin. While CP3 here leads the league in scoring it appears to be the most likely scenario. If he can be around 30 dpi in the 50/40/90 split and we have the best record in the league again, I think he’ll have a real chance at MVP.
Stick: I really think Book is going to have good stats before he seriously considers an MVP. There are still plenty of goons who blame the Suns for being so bad during his first few years in the league on his inability to carry the team to more wins. But how can anyone hold a team made up of mostly G Leaguers and/or NBA fringe players to win?
Unless the book really stands road Out of competition, just winning regular season matches wouldn’t make much difference due to past prejudices because he has a good support group now. I would say he has a better chance of winning the Finals and getting the Finals MVP than winning the regular season MVP award.
Q2 – So far, playing Tori Craig on the bench has been a pleasant surprise (at least for me) for the Suns this season. Do you think he can keep up with the season or is it just a picture on the radar?
GuarGuar: The sample size is definitely small but it has been really good so far this year. It will always go down to 3pt% which is pretty good so far. But time will tell if this is sustainable or not.
OldAz: definitely. Tori Craig is all about energy and perseverance, and his contributions began in 2021 with his work on boards and aggressive defense. His good shot (so far) is the product of him getting regular minutes and feeling good. While I think he will go through the ebb and flow with his successful shot, I think he can 100% maintain his energy and influence if he gets consistent minutes off the bench this year.
Cliff 30: The TC is shooting 50% of three and 89% of 2. This won’t last. But I think what he brought in on his first Suns assignment was energy in defense and effort on the boards. This was not the same as last year. But this year, his rebounds are back to 2021 levels. That has resulted in a lot of easy buckets for him. So can he continue to be a positive contributor, yes. Could this be good for an entire season, no.
Stick: Craig’s play so far has been so good that I can’t believe he’ll be able to keep up for that long (especially the payout percentages) but I hope we don’t see too much of a drop in his play. We know he can play better than he did last season, and if the withdrawal eventually leaves him above his career averages, I’ll be satisfied.
Q3 – Although fans are impatient with Jae Crowder’s stance, I doubt James Jones would do anything rash to speed up the trade or try to encourage him back into the team. When do you think we will see a solution to the problem?
GuarGuar: I honestly expect us to stick with Jay until the trade deadline and then deal with him. We are in no rush to throw it away unless it is for a good value. I know James Jones is watching what’s happening in Brooklyn, too.
OldAz: I don’t expect anything to happen until after December 15th, but I think there is a good chance that a move will be made at that time or else it may not be close to the February trade deadline. Too many teams are still figuring out what they have and what they are willing to give up. The Suns need some teams to decide that this is a wasted year and start ditching the long-term contracts that were just signed this summer.
Jae will be traded for sure, and I don’t think he will be another player on an expired contract. In order to keep a player on this salary slot (or at a bigger salary if Jae can be bundled with another player like Saric on a deal), the returning player would have to be on a multi-year deal that allows the Suns to carry that salary for the next year (and beyond).
I think it’s ‘possible’ that Jay could return to the squad and then extend it beyond the season regardless of the cap’s implications (Rodd may need to confirm this). To me, that’s what makes Jay come back with such an unlikely scenario. The Suns will not only commit to Jae this season, but are also essentially “forced” to re-sign him in the off-season. Otherwise, it can only be exchanged for a minimum salary player if left alone.
Cliff 30: I think if the team was going to make a big show for Crowder, it would have happened by now.. If James Jones was going to leave and just accept the best offer out there, he would have done it too. So what we need is a change of circumstances. Either a major injury makes the team desperate or new players can be transferred on December 15th. I think the 15th of December is the most likely date.
Stick: I just don’t see anything happening in this anytime soon. On December 15, more players around the league will be eligible to trade, so I think that’s the earliest we can expect a deal to happen. At some point between that time and the trade deadline, Crowder will be transferred though. If nothing happens before the deadline day (Feb 9), I’m not optimistic about a good return though. If it gets this far, Jones could find himself in a situation where he just has to get the best offer available rather than just letting his contract expire at the end of the season or eventually making a purchase.
We’ve seen quite a bit of Dario, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we also see him trading Crowder or perhaps in a separate deal.
As always, a big thank you to our awesome members for all their extra efforts this week!
Last week’s poll results
Last week’s question was,How many wins do you think the Suns will have when they reach 20 matches?“
45% – 15 or more.
03% – 10-12.
00% – less than 10.
A total of 304 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is…
Jay Crowder will be traded…
before December 15th.
After December 15th but before the end of January.
At or near the trade deadline (February 9).
355 votes total