After raising eyebrows in The Bubble last season, the Phoenix Suns promised to upgrade its roster and prove its performances at Disney were no fluke. General Manager James Jones was aggressive from the outset, talking with teams, making deals, and signing free agents when permitted to do so. After a busy couple of weeks, Phoenix has shipped out several key players from last season and replaced them with ones that fit their vision.
Almost two weeks have passed since the first transaction, so how has Phoenix fared? Last Word on Sports takes a look at the Suns’ transactions, breaking them down before giving a grade.
Phoenix Suns: Offseason Grades as Team Puts NBA on Notice
The deal sends Chris Paul and Abdel Nader to the Suns for Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 16, 2020
As the Suns’ biggest acquisition this off-season, 35-year-old Chris Paul is the piece Phoenix is hoping for to get them to the playoffs and beyond. The future Hall of Famer had an outstanding season in Year 17, leading an underrated Oklahoma City Thunder squad to the fifth seed last year. Paul averaged 17.5 points, five rebounds, and 6.7 assists on 48.9 percent shooting and 36.5 percent from three.
Much has been made about his advanced age and humungous contract, but Paul is exactly what the Suns need. He is a leader, shot creator, shot maker, dogged defender, intelligent ball handler, and an outstanding closer in crunch time. Cornerstones Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are going to learn how to be winners under Paul, setting the franchise up for years to come.
The Suns barely gave up anything to get Paul so this is a tremendous deal. It easily pushes them into serious consideration to finish top four in the Western Conference.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
After being acquired by the Miami Heat midseason, Jae Crowder had an outstanding postseason last year. The 30-year-old is a solid two-way player, comfortable at the three and four positions as well as shooting the three. He is a streaky three-point shooter but commands just enough respect that teams must account for him on the floor. The veteran averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds on 40.1 percent shooting and 34.3 percent from three.
Crowder has surprisingly bounced around the league, playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Miami. Now, he brings his hard-nosed attitude to Phoenix and can lead by example on the defensive end. The Suns signed him to a three-year, $30 million deal, a fair contract given what he has done and what he will bring to the team.
Restricted free agent G Jevon Carter has agreed to a three-year, $11.5M deal to stay with the Suns, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
One of the more underrated moves in free agency, Phoenix re-signed 24-year-old Jevon Carter. The former second-round pick has impressed with his tireless work, improving every facet of his game since entering the NBA in 2018. He is well respected amongst his peers and earned the affection of Head Coach Monty Williams last year. Carter had a nice season, averaging 4.9 points on 41.2 percent shooting and 42.5 percent from three.
Undersized at 6-foot-1, Carter is a strong defender for a player of stature. If his shooting remains true, he can be used situationally as a swiss army knife. He and Paul are unlikely to see the floor together at the same time, but he is a nice, high reward prospect signed to a team-friendly deal.
E'twaun Moore is signing with the Phoenix Suns on a one-year deal for $2.4 million, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 22, 2020
Veteran guard E’Twaun Moore adds depth and three-point shooting to a squad already loaded on marksmanship. The veteran isn’t a floor general by any stretch of the imagination but can handle some offensive handling when called upon. He is more of a shooter or play finisher as opposed to a creator and can cover both guard positions.
Moore spent the final part of last season recovering from a severe quadriceps bruise. After spending almost eight months on the sideline, the veteran is ready to go and figures to fight for minutes in the Suns’ rotation. He is a career 39 percent three-point shooter and could find playing time if others in the rotation struggle.
This is a lateral move in my opinion and not one I love or hate.
Thankful For The Opportunity https://t.co/7oMENQOFqV
— Langston Galloway (@LangGalloway10) November 23, 2020
Another undersized guard at 6-foot-1, Langston Galloway is another curious move by Phoenix but one I can understand given that the 28-year-old is a solid three-point shooter. The former Detroit Piston played 25 minutes per game last season, averaging 10.3 points on 43.5 percent shooting and 39.9 percent from three.
Galloway is going to compete for reserve guard minutes with three others on the roster. However, the veteran can also play both guard positions and slot in when he is needed. His shooting is his one great skill and will need to make shots if he is going to force himself into the rotation.
Similar to Moore, I don’t love or hate this move.
The Phoenix Suns had their best off-season in quite some time, making intelligent moves, filling areas of needs, and trading for one of the best leaders in all of basketball. Jones is proving to be a smart general manager, moving players who do not fit his vision and upgrading with those who do. Booker is set to solidify himself as one of the league’s superstars while stardom awaits Ayton. With Paul by their side, there’s no telling how far they will go.
The Suns have officially put the league on notice.
Embed from Getty Images