Welcome to ‘Inside the Suns’, your weekly in-depth analysis of the current Phoenix Suns team.
Each week, Fantable – a roundtable of Bright Siders – gives their take on the latest Suns issues and news.
Amazing question of the week
Q1 – After watching rookie Toumani Camara in Summer League, do you think he has a chance to earn some rotation minutes this season?
Saving: I definitely think there is a legitimate chance Toumani can earn some rotation minutes this year. He looked pretty good in the first summer league game. You can tell he has good defensive instincts and his motor definitely sticks out. The jumpshot movement looks a lot smoother than I expected, there might be something there. His weakness is obviously ball handling and self-creation, but it is not necessary for him to do that in our team.
OldAz: Admittedly, I’m not a basketball junkie for catching summer league games, and basing opinions on highlights alone can be very problematic. That said, the only real chance Camara gets more than garbage time minutes would be if Frank Vogel and staff make a conscious decision to prioritize rookie development in regular season games.
This should seem like an obvious and good thing to do, but the previous staff valued winning every stinking regular season game so much that they showed absolutely no interest in any secondary or tertiary player development during the regular season. I really hope this staff is different in this area and therefore gives significant minutes and room to fail to younger players who need it. The few extra losses in the regular season will be a small price to pay in the long run.
Dan-Fly: Tou is further along than I thought he would be, takes it to the rim and finishes with both hands, gets to the line, plays defense and has an NBA body. But … His 65% FT rate is not going to work for the NBA. He has to be a hard worker so I see it getting better. But with the guys ahead of him, I don’t see the coach giving him minutes unless there are injuries. Maybe after the All-Star break, if he shows up to practice and or coach wants to change things up, he could see playing time, but probably not until then.
Brrrberry: If Camara has an incredible work ethic, I have no doubt that he will have a long NBA career. His role, or lack thereof this year will ultimately depend on his bball IQ and maintaining the confidence to hit his 3. He has tightened up his mechanics since playing his last game in Dayton, and aesthetically he has gotten one of the most beautiful pictures from 3 on the list. Then you add in his athletic ability, not just jumps, but the guy has some WHEELS. He gets end to end incredibly fast.
The organization has a big drive for him to train with him being locked up for 4 years and our expected lack of cap space for several years to come. We could really use a multi-year contributor at a low salary, someone who is guaranteed to stay, who can build cohesion with the other guys (stars) on multi-year deals. I figure he’s that guy and I’m really looking forward to watching him compete and grow. He is an alluring prospect.
Rod: I doubt that will happen early, but Camara seems solid enough to possibly move up in the Suns’ rotation as the season progresses. We’ll be able to get a much better idea of his ability to contribute once he’s had a chance to go through training camp and we get to see him play in some preseason games against more skilled opponents. While I don’t think he has a very high ceiling, I think he has a pretty high floor and could develop into a very solid bench/rotation player.
Q2 – Outside of Goodwin and Camara, is there anyone else on the Suns’ SL squad who you think can at least earn a training camp invite?
Saving: I’m sure we’ll probably invite at least one more guy from the squad, but who it will be, I have no idea. Jemison our center had a great motor the first game so I could see us giving him an invite since center has our least depth right now.
OldAz: Not really. Anyone beyond those 2 is probably no more than a “camp body” to make sure the vets aren’t overworked.
Dan-Fly: I see a few guys in summer league who are potential 2-way players, at least up to this point. Hunter Hale and Trey Jemison. Hale has good motor skills and can score well, he has played in a physical league and I think he has a good all round game. He is another long wing, and would be good as cheap insurance for injuries or if we lose Diop and Yuta next year. The other one, Trey, is a big body that I think we need to hit on the physical guys instead of Metu in the right situation. He has bad issues, but he is young and will get better. It might also help if we lose guys next year.
Brrrberry: It has to be Trey Jemison. The guy has an incredible mindset that I would do anything for Ayton to adopt. He loves the physical nature of the game and said he wants to be the “best role player in the league.” I think Mikal Bridges could have been like that during his time here, and as we’ve seen, it’s a mindset that can translate itself into something beyond role player. That’s who we need Ayton to be.
You add a big who is the best role player in the league to Beal, Book and KD and you have a dynasty. He reminds me a bit of a Mark West/Samuel Dalembert hybrid, and while I think he might be too limited with his movement, he might be a guy who turns into an 8/10 guy, a valued role that play big like Kevon Looney? He already has an NBA body and mindset, so hopefully management sees him as someone worth exploring further.
Rod: Trey Jemison has performed pretty well, but the competition hasn’t exactly been great. If this was the pre-2019/20 Suns squad I’d say he’s probably earned himself a training camp invite, but I think there may be better options available if the Suns want to bring in another big . He has an outside chance at best of getting a camp invite in my opinion, but on a Schedule 10 contract (non-guaranteed), not a two-way before camp even begins.
Hunter Hale impressed me with his 3-point shooting against New Orleans, and his overall game (21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 TO, eFG% of .769) was pretty good. If he can keep it up over the last two SL games, I think he could earn a training camp invite on an Exhibit 10 contract. In fact, I would be surprised if he do not do get at least a training camp invite if he continues to shoot well at SL. Teams can always use more shooters at the end of the bench.
Q3 – The Suns currently have 15 players signed to standard NBA contracts. They can have up to 20 players (including players on two-way contracts) under contract during the season, but there have been nothing but vague rumors of “interest” regarding other players recently. Would you be content to start this season with the roster they’ve already assembled?
Saving: I would definitely be happy with our list as is. We added a 3rd star and got some really nice bench pieces. Eric Gordon is finally a Sun after what feels like forever trying to acquire him. I love Eubanks add to a great backup. He is a good athlete and has a good ability to roll cards when our stars are doubled. Keita and Yuta are also really quality players who will have a big impact this year. And it looks like Goodwin will give Payne a run for his money as our backup PG.
OldAz: Absolutely, they are good to go with the current roster. I’m less worried about the PG spot with all the guard depth they have in Gordon, Payne, Goodwin, D. Lee and S. Lee if needed. The only thing I’d like to see them back up is the 3rd string center with a veteran who doesn’t need a ton of minutes and is more of an “emergency” type player. I still think Biz is the best option for this role as long as he remains unsigned.
Dan-Fly: The roster looks set, except for MAYBE Bol Bol, with the guys signed and 2-way, barring injuries, we already have way more depth than last year, and I have to say I don’t see anyone available that I would trade our guys for. So yes, we could go into the season with what we have. Of course, you always have a wish list, but realistically we are ready.
Brrrberry: I’d be more than satisfied at this point, but with the way they’ve completely redone the roster so well, it made me feel greedy as a fan. Like there’s nothing sensible they can’t handle. If you had told me we would be able to trade Todd for 3 seconds, a swap that won’t mediate next season, and a 2030 swap, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Hearing that they are doing what they can to sign TJ McConnell, someone I’ve wanted us to acquire for years at this point is what I’m really hoping for next. A tough floor general who has never played with anywhere near the type of talent we have on this team is exactly what is missing. PG is the thinnest position in the league imo so he is hands down the best guy we could reasonably acquire imo. McConnell (with Payne, Ish and 2nd round pick) walks out the door and another surprise ring chaser at a minimum, then maybe Bol and we’re ready for training camp. I just want the season to start!
Rod: It can always be at least a little bit better, but I wouldn’t complain if all the Suns did between now and opening night was fill the two-way contract spots with solid, deep guys. The only way I can see them adding others who can make a significant impact would be through a trade rather than free agency. It’s certainly possible, but I don’t believe a big deal is likely to happen. And having said it openly, I now at least half expect the Suns to prove me wrong sometime in the next two weeks.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable members for all their extra efforts this week!
Last week’s poll results
Last week’s question was:Who do you think the Suns’ 5th starter will be?“
09% – Eric Gordon.
10% – Yuta Watanabe’
68% – Keita Bates-Diop.
03% – Cam Payne.
09% – Josh Okogie.
01% – Another one.
A total of 731 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is…