The Phoenix Suns have moved to 7-6 on the still young NBA season, and have gotten one of their superstars in Devin Booker back at the right time. The continued updates on the status of Bradley Beal are not positive, but the organization has steadied the ship after a rocky start.
Enough games have now passed that it is possible to look back on the free agents of the summer of 2023, and see which players the franchise could have signed at a discount price. The business that they did do at the time was mostly excellent, with role players such as Eric Gordon and Keita Bates-Diop having a positive impact on the group.
But there have already been a few misses from the Suns, with money and roster spots that could have gone to others who would have seized the opportunity.
Centers Bol Bol and Chimezie Metu are two such examples, players who haven’t been given much run by head coach Frank Vogel. When they have, the results have been about what you’d expect from players who aren’t even getting consistent minutes with the second unit.
This is not an exercise on chastising the Suns either – there was sound logic in every offseason addition made – but rather it is identifying players who are doing really well elsewhere, and who the team could have gotten on the cheap. As you might expect, a couple of these players are point guards, a continued position of need for the team.
3. Ish Smith
Point guard Ish Smith might just been the most well-travelled player in the NBA today. The 35-year-old having played for no less than 13 franchises since 2010. In all of that time he has started only 167 games, and has never started any of the 23 games he has played in the postseason.
That doesn’t seem like the kind of player the Suns would have been itching to get their hands on, but the $3.1 million he is making this season is certainly a figure the team could have gotten to if needed. It is also entirely possible that Smith would have taken even less money than that again to join the Suns.
Crucially, Smith was with the Denver Nuggets last season, and won a first championship with the team. Signing him for that reason alone might not have been wise, but he would have brought the experience of a title run with him to the organization. He also spent a season training with Nikola Jokic, a center who is sure to give the Suns problems again if they meet in the postseason.
So Smith isn’t exactly the kind of can’t miss floor general the Suns should have been targeting. But he has seen it all in his time in the league, in ways that neither Jordan Goodwin or Saben Lee – the Suns’ current point guard rotation behind Booker – have gone through. He would have only been used sparingly anyway, but surely would have got more run than Bol and Metu.
Luke Duffy valleyofthesuns.com Suns News
2023-11-20 13:08:27 , Valley of the Suns