Your weekly Inside the Suns analysis straight from the BSotS community who live and breathe the team.
Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly deep down analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
First up… the Fantable — a round table of Bright Siders who give their takes on the Suns latest issues and news.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 – The NBA will be implementing some new rules this season to reduce the number of fouls drawn on “non-basketball moves”. These include:
- Offensive players launching into defenders.
- Offensive players abruptly veering off of their path.
- Shooters kicking their legs out at abnormal angles.
- Offensive players using their off-arm to hook the defender in the process of attempting a shot in a non-basketball manner.
“If the contact on these plays is deemed marginal, they will not be called for fouls on either side, but if the “offensive player’s contact impacts the defender’s speed, quickness, balance, or rhythm,” offensive fouls can be called on them.
What are your thoughts on these rules and do you think they will mostly help or hurt the Suns?
GuarGuar: I think these new rules will affect our starting backcourt the most out of anyone else on the team. Book and CP both like to hunt for fouls using some of these tactics. Hopefully it doesn’t take them long to adjust to the new rules so they can continue to score efficiently.
Sun-Arc: I think these are good rules to try and implement. I’d be happy if ALL players stopped kicking their feet out on 3pt attempts. Its silly to me – and yet it has been part of the game. I would have also liked them to stop fouls on fast breaks, but alas. And I’d like them to tighten down on “Pushoff P’s” blatant offensive fouling. But… Alas, this is unlikely to happen.
The only Suns players that may be affected by these rule changes are Booker and CP3, as they are the only guys hunting free throw attempts. Sure, Ayton occasionally hooks his defender, but they’ve been calling that anyway. I think Booker and Chris will adjust. They are too smart to continually get busted by new rules.
SouthernSun: As long as it stays consistent and all players are called equally without bias, it will help. I feel pretty confident saying it will probably end up being bad for the Suns though. Just because I fully expect Book and maybe CP3 to be called for offensive fouls on stuff like that, and for guys like Luka and LeBron and Harden to get away with it.
Half of Westbrook’s game is launching himself into defenders and getting free throws, so he probably won’t be called fairly. Giannis is similar.
I could see it being detrimental to Book, who already gets, seemingly, called for more offensive fouls than some of his peers for doing the same things they do.
Alex S: I’m a fan of the rule change but I do think it’s going to be a struggle early on to generate consistency from the refs when it comes to enforcement of these rules.
In terms of how it will affect the Suns, generally speaking I think it’ll help. There are a couple scenarios such as the CP3 rip through that will be impacted negatively but overall the Suns aren’t notorious for blatant foul baiting. Their free throw rate is already super low as is so this should only help in my opinion.
Rod: I think all these new rules are good for the game. Not only do I hate seeing players draw fouls by initiating unnecessary contact with defenders, I much more enjoy games that aren’t drawn out by seemingly endless trips to the free throw line.
I also think that these rule changes will mostly effect CP3 and Booker who are smart enough to adapt quickly. Crowder will also need to keep his legs underneath himself when shooting threes. We might even see the team’s shooting stats improve as player start thinking more about getting off the best shot possible rather than thinking about how they can force a foul and get to the FT line. Nobody else on this team really goes out of their way to try and initiate contact to draw fouls so they won’t have to unlearn those habits.
Q2 – Does the short turnaround for the Suns between the end of last season and the beginning of the 2021-22 season concern you?
GuarGuar: I’m a little concerned about it given what happened to the Heat and Lakers this past season (although that was an even shorter offseason). I think more than anything we might have a letdown considering we were just playing NBA finals games and then two months later you are just playing some random game in Minnesota. I can see it being hard for us to get up for average games to start the season.
Sun-Arc: Short turnarounds nearly always affect teams. Miami was in the finals in 2020 and had a very difficult time adjusting to the very short turnaround for the 20-21 season. Lakers too. The good news is we (still) have a mostly young team that doesn’t need quite as much time as the older players. Book, Bridges, the Cams, Ayton… they should be pretty much good-to-go. Booker is the only one I worry about because of the high usage rate he plays with and all the abuse he got through the playoffs. So we’ll see.
Of course I worry about CP3 in this scenario. He was really banged up through the playoffs. He could certainly use more time off. This is where I think it could really affect us. This year feels like the kind of year we can almost go into the playoffs at any position 1-6 and expect to be one of the scariest teams in the west. So maybe he takes some games off in the first couple of months – I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind it, personally.
SouthernSun: Not really. Maybe CP3’s recovery time after his surgery, but the Suns have Cam Payne and a more than capable third string PG in Payton. I think starting sooner will actually be fine. Hopefully the team remains in whatever mindset they were in that helped get them to the Finals.
Alex S: Yes, as there is an ongoing history of NBA Finals participants having struggles. It’s not to say I think Phoenix will be unprepared for the season or anything but you are susceptible to risk when your season is as long as the Suns’ previous was.
That being said, the majority of the roster is young so they should be able to manage the wear and tear appropriately. The biggest obstacle to overcome will be Chris Paul’s health. My hope is he’s willing to give Cam Payne more opportunity and take measures to protect himself in the regular season.
Rod: It worries me a little bit but mostly because of CP3. Especially coming off his wrist surgery, he shouldn’t be playing a lot of minutes early in the season but perhaps that’s why the Suns brought in Elfrid Payton as their 3rd point guard.
The younger guys should bounce right back into the flow of things. It’s great that most of our rotation players are on the right side of 30.
Q3 – Everyone gets some court time in preseason games. Who are you most interested in seeing how they perform during those games?
GuarGuar: I want to see Jalen Smith against NBA competition. He had a very mixed summer league showing. Lots of ups and downs. Hopefully an off-season of work after that has paid off. Don’t want this pick to be a flop.
Sun-Arc: The two guys my eyes will be on mostly are Jalen Smith and Chandler Hutchison. Everyone already plays their roles well.
If Stix can show he belongs playing 16 minutes in NBA preseason games- particularly with defense and 3pt shooting, that would be better than expected for me. That would be a good sign for our depth. I really want this pick to pan out, but so far I’m not a believer. So I’ll be looking for him to show he belongs.
Hutchison is an unknown, and hitherto a fringe NBA guy. The good recent article by Damon Allred paints him as a talented but maligned player in bad situations. If that is the case and he can get straightened out by our team, system, and coaching – that would also help our depth from a 2-way contract. He is athletic, long, with potential as a versatile defender and perimeter shooter. If he wows us game after game in the preseason, this could be a bit of a PJ Tucker find.
SouthernSun: Thad Young when he hopefully gets traded to the Suns for the person who I will otherwise be interested in seeing, Jalen Smith (obviously the package will be more than just him but Saric isn’t gonna be playing at all for awhile, so).
Also Elfrid Payton. Interested in seeing him playing next to Cam Payne. Could be a fun duo off the bench. I want to see how he gels with the 2nd unit. He could be instrumental in helping to give CP3 some rest this season.
Alex S: It’s obviously Jalen Smith.
He’s going to need to prove himself before the trade deadline so his minutes with the actual Suns (not the Summer League Suns) will be very telling towards his future with the franchise. I still remain hopeful and encouraged that his skillset can be a helpful piece for Phoenix but he’s going to have to prove it. Potential can only get you so far with a contending team and the Suns can’t afford to mess around.
Rod: If no trade for Thad Young happens between now and then, I’ll be watching Stix closely to see how well he plays. He was a very inefficient scorer in Summer League but he was also put into the position of being the Summer Suns’ number one, go-to guy on offense. He will be way down in the pecking order in that respect playing with the main team and that could help with his shot selection. The Suns need the kind of rebounding he showed there and I’m hoping that the rest of his game is up to snuff to be a solid contributor off the bench. Defensively I’m still not sure what to expect from him so I’ll be watching him closely on that end too.
I’m also very interested in seeing how well Landry Shamet fits into the Suns’ system.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members – GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex S. – for all their extra effort every week!
Interesting Suns Stuff
3 Reasons The Phoenix Suns Will Return To The Finals. Here’s Why
It’ll be tough for the Phoenix Suns to win the West again – Richard Jefferson | The Jump
Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll was “If it were possible to add a prime Shawn Marion or a prime Amar’e Stoudemire to this Suns team, which one would you choose?”
68% – Shawn Marion.
32% – Amar’e Stoudemire.
A total of 200 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is…