Phoenix Suns 2018-19 Team Preview

  • How’d We Get Here?

    While it may not seem like it, the Suns did a lot of overhauling to their roster this offseason. Seven guys who played regular rotation roles at one point or another are gone, and the team also hired a new, development-minded coach in Igor Kokoskov to start molding the young talent into something that resembles an NBA team. The Suns still don’t have a point guard of the future but they’re hoping that top pick Deandre Ayton answers all their questions up front.

    Offseason Moves

    Arrivals: Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Richaun Holmes, Isaiah Canaan
    Rookie Arrivals: Deandre Ayton (No. 1), Mikal Bridges (No. 10), Elie Okobo (No. 31), De’Anthony Melton (No. 46), George King (No. 59)
    Departures: Marquese Chriss, Elfrid Payton, Brandon Knight, Alex Len, Tyler Ulis, Alan Williams, Jared Dudley, Danuel House Jr., Josh Gray, Alec Peters
    Retained: Davon Reed, Shaquille Harrison

    Depth Chart and Minutes Per Game

    PG: Isaiah Canaan (0, 15-23) / De’Andre Melton (0, 16-26) Elie Okobo (0, 16-26) / Shaquille Harrison (0, 16-26)
    SG: Devin Booker (34-35) / Josh Jackson (24-28) // Troy Daniels (0, 10-16) / Davon Reed
    SF: Trevor Ariza (30-33) / T.J. Warren (26-30) / Mikal Bridges (0, 16-22)
    PF: Ryan Anderson (25.5-27.5) / Dragan Bender (0, 10-16)
    C: DeAndre Ayton (26-32) / Tyson Chandler (0, 18-22) / Richaun Holmes (18-22)

    Position Battles

    Point Guard: This is the one spot on the roster where the Suns have no real long-term answers. Of last year’s bunch, Eric Bledsoe, Elfrid Payton, Tyler Ulis, Mike James and Josh Gray are all out of the picture. Brandon Knight, who missed all of last season with an Achilles injury, is the projected starter. Behind him are rookie Elie Okobo, holdover Shaquille Harrison and re-signee Isaiah Canaan, who is also returning from a brutal injury.

    It’d be surprising if Phoenix set anything in stone here, and it’s not at all crazy to think that any of the four could play their way into the lion’s share of minutes. The Suns are probably hoping that Okobo forces their hand here so we’ll put him second for the time being. If neither Knight nor Okobo runs with the job, it figures to be quite the headache.

    Update: Knight was traded to Houston and De’Anthony Melton came back as part of the return. Swap those two names on the list but bump Shaquille Harrison up considerably.

    Shooting Guard: Devin Booker will be back in his usual spot and Kokoskov has already said he’d like to shy away from the Booker-as-a-PG looks that the team used at times last year.

    Sharpshooter Troy Daniels looks to be the backup, with sophomore Davon Reed behind him. Harrison or Canaan could slide down and see action here to help clear the logjam at the point guard spot but wouldn’t be looking at major minutes. Bridges could even slide up as his wingspan will make him a terror on the perimeter.

    Small Forward: Things are incredibly cramped at the forward spots, but we’re expecting Trevor Ariza to hold at least one of them down. Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren and rookie Mikal Bridges can all play the three as well and will see time here in different groups.

    Power Forward: For now we’re going to put T.J. Warren in as the starting power forward, though it could be Ariza or Jackson too. It’s even more cramped here than at the three with Bridges and Richaun Holmes as potential options alongside holdovers Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, who will have fewer opportunities to play center.

    The Suns seemed ready to hand Jackson a starting job but he’ll need to win it from Warren and Ariza probably didn’t sign on for a rebuild if he wasn’t going to start. Between the small forward and power forward spots it should be quite tight for everyone, and it’s possible that Bender finds himself outside the rotation to begin the year. A transaction would really clear this one up.

    Update: The Suns acquired Ryan Anderson and early word is that he’ll start. Great. Chriss is gone but there’s still a ton of mouths to feed here.

    Center: Deandre Ayton will spare the Suns from overplaying Tyson Chandler’s husk again. Chandler has a chance remain the backup, at least in the early going, but we’d expect to see Richaun Holmes overtake him as the playoffs hope fade if not win the job outright.

    The Suns tried to trade Chandler last season and had to shoot down buyout rumors over the summer so it’s clear he’s not in the plans, which might prompt them to just run with Holmes. Chriss is a nice on-paper fit for a small lineup but playing time here will be tough to come by if Chandler is in the rotation.

    Outlook

    The Suns appear to be ready to actually progress now that they have a coach who isn’t an obvious lame duck. Kokoskov will be tasked with furthering the development of the promising young core: Ayton, Booker, Jackson and Bridges, with Okobo not far behind. Anything he can squeeze out of guys like Chriss, Holmes and Bender would be a big bonus but this year will be all about making sure their best young players mesh well.

    Beyond that we’re interested to see how the rotation shakes out, especially up front, as anyone’s placement in those ranks could be quite telling about where they’re at currently and where the organization feels they can realistically go.

    Devin Booker

    Total Value: 67/108 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 27/49 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 54

    2017-18 Review: Booker came into the year as a promising young scorer who could light up the box score if he got the appropriate volume. He leaves the year as a more well-rounded player after upping his assist rate by over eight percentage points without an accompanying increase in turnover rate.

    Booker-D set new career-highs in points (24.9), 3-pointers (2.7), rebounds (4.5), assists (4.7), free throw percentage (.878) and field goal percentage (.432). He might’ve shot even better had he dodged injury, as Booker was hitting at .453 through 25 games before straining his groin. The Suns gave him a lot of extra responsibility this year and for the most part he excelled. Booker was well on his way to an early-round season before injuries depressed his value.

    This Year: That said, Booker’s 3.9 turnovers per game were prohibitive, and should come down with the Suns backing away from his minutes at point guard. He still has lots of work to do on the defensive end as well. Perhaps the biggest issue facing Booker’s immediate future is his propensity to take some wild, and frankly stupid, shots.

    He’s got the pure skill to make anything but it’s a bad habit that they’ll need to break for Booker to become truly elite. The addition of a better supporting cast should help in that regard as Booker will be able to rely on his teammates to hit their open shots in a structured offense. Oh, and he also signed a five-year max contract.

    Injury History: Booker missed a game in November with right big toe inflammation, eight December games with a strained left adductor, one in January with a right rib contusion, four February games with a left hip pointer, one game in March with a triceps issue and the final 12 games of the year with a right hand sprain/contusion.

    He’s dealt with multiple ankle issues earlier in his career but he had only missed 10 games over his first two seasons. He’s likely going to begin this year on the shelf as he underwent surgery on his right hand in early September that came with a six-week timetable. It means he’ll miss something around five games if that timetable is right on, and the fact that he won’t have a training camp or preseason means he’ll be playing his way into shape for a couple weeks thereafter.

    Outlook: Booker flashed his top-25 potential in the season’s first few weeks, and if he can ever consistently hit shots at the rate he did during that stretch he’s a slam dunk early-round player.

    His scoring numbers should see him fly off draft boards around the fourth round and if you think that the new teammates and coaches will positively impact his shot selection you can consider spending a third-rounder on him.

    We weren’t too excited about him last season but he did a really nice job expanding his stat set overall, so he’s good to treat as a top-45 guy with a boost in 8-cat leagues. Maybe the hand injury opens up some room for profit margin, though you’ll have to weigh those risks for your own team.

    Josh Jackson

    Total Value: 190/244 (8/9 cat)
    Per-Game Value: 238/305 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 77

    2017-18 Review: Jackson had both the good and the bad on display last season. There were nights where he looked like the two-way terror that would be Phoenix’s backbone for years to come (36 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block and two triples on March 17) and others where he looked like a guy who’d play himself off the floor (0-for-13 shooting on January 28). Those are the two extremes, however, and Jackson did close the year strong as the Suns totally folded up shop and let everyone do as they pleased.

    He averaged 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks after the All-Star break. His numbers really began to trend up in January, though he was only a top-150/190 guy from that point onward thanks to poor percentages.. Even with a big March he was only a top-130 guy on the month (plus April) in 8-cat.

    This Year: Jackson still has to work on restraint with the ball as well as his free throw shooting, but our biggest worry about him this year is playing time. He’s going to be one of the players to guide the Suns into the next era but there’s a big logjam of players at his current positions.

    Unless there’s a transaction coming it’s very tough to see JJ duplicate the 30-plus mpg he received from January onward. Development should take priority in Phoenix but they can’t justify ripping minutes away from T.J. Warren or Trevor Ariza unless they’re way out of the race.

    Injury History: Jackson missed the final two games with a “quad injury” as well as two earlier the year with a knee and a groin problem. He’s not an injury risk.

    Outlook: Jackson has all the tools in the world but the January-April guy (17.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 0.9 3-pointers) is not coming back, at least to begin the year, and even then his counting numbers were mostly undone by ugly efficiency.

    Between playing time concerns and the obvious drag that his percentages present while accounting for development, we’re looking at Jackson as a deep league guy with upside if he can put a tourniquet on the percentages. Owners in 9-cat leagues will want to dial things back a shade, too.

    T.J. Warren

    Total Value: 104/87 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 82/71 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 65

    2017-18 Review: Warren continued to work as Phoenix’s top secondary scorer after signing a four-year, $50 million contract. His game is pretty limited but there’s a certain level of consistency to his performance that makes him a solid presence for fantasy owners.

    Warren’s 19.6 points per game were a new career-high, as was his .498 mark from the field. The stat set isn’t the best but when you’re scoring efficiently on volume, you’ll almost always be an asset.

    This Year: Warren finds himself in a tough spot, as while he should enter the season as a starter on merit it’s possible that the combo of Trevor Ariza and Josh Jackson pushes him into a sixth man role. He should be getting good minutes just the same but we’re expecting a decrease from the 33.0 mpg last season.

    Beyond that he’s pretty much a cut-and-finish player that takes most of his shots from way in close to the cup. Warren could work on his playmaking or shooting (22.2 percent from deep last year) to help round out his game for both the Suns and fantasy owners, but even if there’s no improvement he’ll be one of the team’s top scoring options.

    Injury History: Warren’s season was ended by a sprained left knee sustained on March 18 that forced him out of the final 11 games of the year. He also missed two games earlier in the month with back spasms and one game at the end of February with a tailbone injury (ischial tuberosity contusion if you’re fancy).

    A back injury also kept him out of two games in January. In 2016-17 Warren missed a month with a head injury that the Suns said wasn’t a concussion, and he also had foot surgery in 2016. Warren isn’t a huge injury risk but he also has yet to play more than 66 games through four seasons, so his durability rating isn’t the greatest.

    Outlook: Unless he starts adding defensive numbers or 3-pointers to his profile, last year looked like his peak. Warren’s fantasy output is heavily reliant on volume so we’re downgrading him with the impending cuts to his minutes. He’ll still have enough juice to return top-120 production but anyone drafting him with last year in mind will end up being disappointed.

    Trevor Ariza

    Total Value: 97/66 (8/9-cat)

    Per-Game Value: 87/59 (8/9-cat)

    Games Played: 67

    2017-18 Review: Ariza remained his same old self last season, though his steals declined for the second season in a row. He continued to offer the same blend of threes and steals with poor field goal marks and extremely low turnovers and was better for 9-cat players, as usual. He didn’t beat his ADP like he normally does but owners got the numbers they expected to see.

    This Year: Rather than return to a title contender, Ariza heads to Phoenix on a one-year, $15 million deal. His stat set shouldn’t change but we’re worried about his minutes coming down. The Suns can use Ariza at either power forward or small forward but have T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender all in that mix.

    If the Suns aren’t in the playoff hunt by midseason, Ariza is the most likely of the bunch to lose work. There’s almost no way he gets 33.9 mpg again.

    Injury History: Ariza had been on a nice four-year run of 77 or more games played but lost 11 games to a sprained foot and sore leg plus four games for other reasons (two each to suspension and rest). There’s a broken foot and MCL surgery way back in his record but with his minutes set to decline we’re not fretting here.

    Outlook: Ariza will be a solid source of threes and steals but might find open looks a little harder to come by this year. This will be year No. 15 and some continued decline is to be expected, so think of Ariza as more of a top-100/80 player than the guy he’s been over the past few seasons.

    Ryan Anderson

    Total Value: 198/173 (8/9-cat)

    Per-Game Value: 202/169 (8/9-cat)

    Games Played: 66

    2017-18 Review: Anderson suffered through a down year last season, emerging as a big salary that the Rockets tried to dump in every rumor that came up.

    This Year: The Melo addition hurts here as Anderson had already fallen far behind P.J. Tucker. His hyper-specific skillset can offer situational utility for the Rockets but they’d probably prefer the salary relief. He’ll be the backup or third power forward who can give them a jolt whenever he gets hot. If the Rockets could find a taker for his contract it might revive his value somewhat but it would depend entirely on the destination.

    Anderson was dealt to the Suns and in the immediate aftermath of the move it was mentioned that he’s lined up as their starting power forward. Some shooting touch would be nice but it’s going to butcher the team’s defense. His minutes should decline as the season progresses and he’ll probably hit the trade market again after agreeing to some salary restructuring.

    Injury History: A sprained left ankle cost him the final four games of the regular season plus some of the first round. Hip soreness cost him nine games from late February into mid-March, while he missed an early February game with an ankle issue and a November game with an illness.

    Previously he’s been hit with groin, ankle and back injuries, plus a sprained right MCL and surgery on his cervical spine for a herniated disk. He’s not a major injury risk but the 70-game neighborhood is about right for him.

    Outlook: Anderson provides threes, some rebounds and points on generally poor marks from the floor. He’s not going to be worth taking in standard leagues and is only a specialist play until we get into the 16-team territory, if not a shade deeper.

    The Suns didn’t really address their PF logjam despite dealing Marquese Chriss, so while Anderson might start it seems unlikely that he’s going to take a majority of the minutes. Even if he does it will only result in late-round numbers. Ryno is still more of a specialist play in 12-team formats but at least has a shot at top-170 value if he ends up winning the starting job.

    Tyson Chandler

    Total Value: 260/262 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 195/204 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 46

    2017-18 Review: Chandler opened the season as a starter but eventually wound up in Phoenix’s three-center DNP rotation, though his minutes were going to be cut in the second half anyway. He averaged 9.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks while shooting .647 from the field in 25.0 mpg.

    This Year: With Deandre Ayton in town, Chandler will no longer be gifted the starting job. He’ll be competing with Richaun Holmes for the backup minutes and while we’d like to lean towards the younger, more athletic option, Chandler has shown an incredible ability to play ahead of better alternatives since joining the Suns. Perhaps a new coaching staff changes that. Either way he’s likely going to dip below 20 mpg. He is a definite trade candidate on an expiring deal.

    Injury History: Chandler missed time with neck spasms and a related shoulder injury and also got lots of rest days and DNPs. He’s fractured his right fibula before and has a long list of knee, back and ankle issues as well. Chandler is as much of an injury risk as you’d expect for someone who’s been at it for 17 seasons.

    Outlook: If Chandler is in the rotation he’ll have utility as a rebounding specialist in 16-18-team leagues, but everyone else can look elsewhere for production.

    Dragan Bender

    Total Value: 180/193 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 247/272 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 82

    2017-18 Review: Bender accomplished the rare feat of taking a nice step forward while also authoring a thoroughly uninspiring season. He was at least given adequate playing time and was able to hit 36.6 percent of his triples while notching 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.6 blocks in 25.2 minutes.

    On the flip side, he was atrocious at finishing close to the rim, saw his steal and block rates decline and was frustratingly passive on offense. Nearly two thirds of his shots came from distance and there were 23 games where he played over 20 minutes and took five shots or less. The ugliest one there was a 36-minute 0-for-1 performance in March. A player of his pedigree, and with his uncertain future, simply can’t be that anonymous even if staying within himself and the offense is well-intentioned.

    This Year: Bender is a nice fit for the modern game but the Suns are absolutely loaded where he needs to get his minutes. Like Chriss, it’d be a shame to completely give up on him, especially as the team hired a coach who specializes in player development, but he’s definitely been passed over by newer guys.

    Injury History: Bender missed a big chunk of his rookie campaign after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs in his ankle. He managed to stay healthy for all 82 last season so he’s still only a minor injury risk.

    Outlook: While the skillset is interesting, there’s no reason for most fantasy players to consider Bender. With the new-look rotation he’ll be lucky to get into the top-275.

    Richaun Holmes

    ADP: 140/147 (ESPN/Yahoo)

    Total Value: 276/266 (8/9-cat)

    Per-Game Value: 261/225 (8/9-cat)

    Games Played: 48

    2017-18 Review: After a big finish amidst an injury-riddled 2016-17, Holmes’ season got off on the wrong foot after he fractured his wrist in October. A healthy Joel Embiid plus the addition of Amir Johnson (and later Ersan Ilyasova) wiped away any shot he had at consistent minutes at either frontcourt spot.

    In 15.5 mpg Holmes was able to average 6.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.5 blocks but the Sixers never seemed intent on playing him until they absolutely had to.

    This Year: Finally freed from Philadelphia, Holmes heads to Phoenix. It’s another team that has plenty of obstacles to playing time with an even more questionable development track record, so we might be looking at another year of what-could-have-been.

    He should definitely be the backup center in the second half as the team pumps the brakes on Tyson Chandler but there are no guarantees before that, and Deandre Ayton might not leave many minutes behind for the reserves anyway. It’s even more crowded at power forward.

    Injury History: The fractured wrist that cost him the first eight games is just another item on a surprisingly long list for Holmes, who has also dealt with a right hamstring injury and a concussion in 2016-17 plus a sore Achilles, an ankle sprain, a right knee sprain and another right hamstring injury the year before that. Holmes also fractured his right elbow shortly after being drafted. The lack of consistent playing time masked his injury risk, but it’s definitely there.

    Outlook: The hope is that Igor Kokoskov recognizes that Holmes’ style of play is far more compatible with Phoenix’s future than Tyson Chandler’s and rewards the younger option the backup minutes. Even so it’s going to be hard for him to carve out a big enough role to support standard league value despite tantalizing per-minute production.

    His upside makes him a late-round flier but owners in deeper leagues can feel more comfortable about that proposition. Just be prepared to sprint to the waiver wire if Ayton ever goes down.

    Mikal Bridges (R)

    2017-18 Review: Bridges enters the NBA on the heels of winning two NCAA championships in three years for the Villanova Wildcats. His versatility powered his ascent into the starting lineup when he was a sophomore, and he would eventually win the Julius Erving Award for best small forward and won MVP of the Big East Tournament.

    This Year: Bridges joins a packed wing situation for the Suns and he appeared to be struggling with his shot during Summer League, though he still rattled off a 45.5/43.8/100 line so this is probably entirely too many words on five games of Summer League. He is as seasoned as anybody coming out of the draft and there is heat on GM Ryan McDonough, so expect Bridges to get every chance to earn his minutes.

    Injury History: There is practically no information about any injuries for Bridges despite playing a full three seasons of college ball. He’ll have no assigned injury risk heading into his rookie year.

    Outlook: There might be a triple-one in his future but it’s probably not this season. If the end of your standard league draft isn’t looking so hot, give him a look but we’d like to see more evidence of his path to minutes before getting too far along on the hype train. Dynasty owners should note the Khris Middleton-light stat set.

    Deandre Ayton (R)

    2017-18 Review: Ayton has sat at the top of whatever ranks you’ve seen for the last two years, and spent his one-and-done season at Arizona averaging 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a first-team All American, drafted No. 1 overall by the Suns.

    This Year: The Suns have been a clown show both on the sidelines and in the front office for a while but hopefully some recent smart moves are an indicator of a better future. The team hired Igor Kokoskov, which was smart, and they acquired Richaun Holmes, which was smart. That’s two smart things in one year. As long as the team doesn’t play Tyson Chandler’s corpse again, Ayton is looking at big minutes.

    Injury History: Ayton missed some practices due to back soreness but nothing serious popped up on the radar. He’ll enter this season with no assigned injury risk.

    Outlook: We can harp on his defensive stats all we want but the bottom line is that absent the Weekend at Bernie’s described above, Ayton is going to be bringing percentage-friendly big man volume. It’ll be interesting to see if the hype machine outpaces the ADP here but either way he’s easily a mid-round guy and from there we’ll have to see where the market settles, as well as how he looks in the preseason.

    Troy Daniels

    Total Value: 224/212 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 282/273 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 79

    2017-18 Review: Daniels was a sneaky pickup for the Suns, as he came in and provided quality 3-point shooting by knocking down 2.3 a night on 40.0 percent. In 15 starts he saw his playing time jump from 19.2 as a reserve to 26.2 mpg which allowed him to average 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 3-pointers. There was definite deep league utility when he was getting extra run.

    This Year: Devin Booker will take up almost all the time at shooting guard but Daniels is the backup as far as true shooting guards go. The addition of 3-point shooting players elsewhere on the roster has called his use into question but as long as he’s a member of the Suns he’ll get low-mid teens minutes.

    Injury History: An ankle sprain shut him down late in the season but he might’ve been able to play through it had the games meant anything. There’s no risk here.

    Outlook: You can treat Daniels as a solid 3-point specialist. His consistency in that area will give him some situational value in leagues of just about any depth but as a standalone player he’s probably going to settle outside the top-300.

    Shaquille Harrison

    Total Value: 348/345 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 229/218 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 23

    2017-18 Review: Harrison impressed on a pair of 10-day deals and earned himself a multi-year contract with the Suns. The last member to hop on the team’s point guard carousel, Shaq averaged 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks and 0.3 triples while hitting 47.6 percent of his shots in 16.7 minutes a night.

    This Year: Harrison will be battling for time with Elie Okobo and Isaiah Canaan behind Brandon Knight. He has real a chance at earning minutes.

    Update: ESPN mentioned Harrison by name as someone the team hopes can take on a bigger role, so he’s got a shot at being at least the backup in the early going. If the Suns can’t swing a deal for a more established point guard he might even start.

    Injury History: There are no injuries of note in Harrison’s past.

    Outlook: While it’s possible that Harrison wins the backup job, there’s an ugly timeshare brewing and things could change at the drop of a hat in Phoenix if someone gets hot. Unless we get some clarity on how the depth chart will look Harrison is only a deep league flier.

    Update: Harrison might even be the starter here if no moves get made. An ugly timeshare remains the most likely result but he’s emerging as a dart-throw in 12-14-teamers for now.

    Elie Okobo (R)

    2017-18 Review: Okobo comes to the NBA with professional experience under his belt after a successful stint in France. He was one of the team’s best at the FIBA U20s and put up a number of big scoring nights in a league that features some fringe NBA talent, emerging as a popular late-first round pick in many mocks. Consistency was an issue at times but he has 3-point range and can flip the switch from playmaker to go-to scorer pretty quickly. The Suns were able to nab him at No. 31.

    This Year: Phoenix quickly signed Okobo to a four-year, $6 million deal to squash any talk of him returning to France for more seasoning. The Suns are reportedly in the market for a veteran point guard to hold the fort amidst a field of underwhelming or inexperienced candidates, but if they end up taking the developmental route (which they would if it were up to us) then Okobo might take the lion’s share of minutes. One wonders what that means in a four-guard group, but fantasy owners would take it.

    Injury History: Okobo is relatively clear coming into the league, with his only recent malady an unexplained mid-game departure during a Summer League tilt. No concerns here.

    Outlook: It’s tough to confidently project anything about Phoenix’s point guards until we see how things look in the preseason. Okobo certainly offers the most upside of the bunch and his timeline aligns nicely with the rest of the Suns’ core, so he’ll likely be groomed as the future starter even if there’s a stopgap solution this season. Okobo is only on the board in as a dart throw in deep leagues or a long-term play in dynasty formats, though it’s worth checking on his playing time as we get closer to the second half of the season just in case they let him loose.

    De’Anthony Melton (R)

    2017-18 Review: Melton sat out last season for NCAA-related nonsense (one of his relatives reportedly accepted some money from an agent) but came into the draft as a highly-regarded combo guard whose defensive abilities would buy him some time to work on a consistent jumper. The Rockets were declared draft winners for nabbing him at No. 46 before trading him to Phoenix in the Ryan Anderson deal.

    This Year: After an impressive Summer League showing, Melton is in the mix to start at point guard – at least until the Suns pull the trigger on adding a veteran. The defense should play right away, however, and would be a great fit next to Devin Booker in the long term. The point guard situation here is a mess and the backup shooting guard spot isn’t high-profile given Booker’s presence, but Melton could easily play his way into a good role here.

    Injury History: He’s not an injury risk.

    Outlook: It’s tough to pick any one of Phoenix’s current guards as the frontrunner to start, but the fact that Melton excels at one particular facet of the game could help his case. He’s on the board as a late-round flier in leagues with 20 teams or more and will be a popular dynasty pick despite his second-round draft status.

    Isaiah Canaan

    Total Value: 354/355 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 197/216 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 20

    2017-18 Review: Canaan signed on with the Suns in mid-December and ended up playing a fairly large role after a hot start. He scored in double digits in his first five games with the Suns and would average 9.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.2 3-pointers across 22.0 minutes per game in his time with the Suns.

    This Year: The Suns decided to bring Canaan back, and he’ll be competing for backup minutes with Shaq Harrison and Elie Okobo. We’re putting hit in fourth place on the depth chart for now but his 3-point shooting could help quite a bit.

    Injury History: Canaan fractured his left ankle and underwent surgery on February 1. He’s expected to be ready for camp but is definitely an injury risk coming off such a brutal injury. Canaan also sustained a strained left adductor but the ankle overshadows that considerably.

    Outlook: Keep an eye on the competition in camp as any of Phoenix’s four point guards could conceivably come away with a steady role, but until there’s anything definitive there’s no need to spend a draft pick on Canaan.

    Davon Reed

    Total Value: 425/427 (8/9 cat)

    Per-Game Value: 453/461 (8/9 cat)

    Games Played: 21

    2017-18 Review: Reed had a few nice games at the very end of the season but didn’t make his NBA debut until January 14 after offseason knee surgery.

    This Year: The Suns decided to guarantee Reed’s deal after pushing the deadline back, and he’ll be looking to carve out some minutes on the wing. Troy Daniels is currently his main competition.

    Injury History: Reed had left leg surgery back in 2014 and missed most of last year after needing surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. He was pretty clear in between but two surgeries on the leg before age 23 is not a great sign.

    Outlook: It’d be surprising if Reed got enough playing time to make any impression in fantasy.

    George King (R)

    2017-18 Review: King closed his Colorado career with a big season and it’s his versatility that caught Phoenix’s attention in the pre-draft process. Despite standing at just 6’6” King spent some time guarding opposing power forwards and has both the length and intensity to hold his own against larger players. He also shot a sterling 41.1 percent from deep over his last three years in college (as a freshman King went just 4-for-20, so it’s hard to ding him for spot action). He was selected 59th overall.

    This Year: King signed a two-way deal with the Suns, and while the brass talks up his defensive abilities he’s likely to do almost all of his work in the G-League.

    Injury History: Squeaky clean.

    Outlook: King isn’t on the radar this year and probably won’t be next year either, so he’s only a stash play in deep, deep dynasty formats if you’re looking for a potential 3-and-D guy way down the line.

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