Looking bright for the future with a scoring machine like Devin Booker and a local centerpiece like Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns had another disappointing season with only 19 wins. After this tragedic year is finally over, the Suns’ unexperienced GM James Jones will face numerous obstacles in the upcoming season. Furthermore, the decisions Jones make this summer perhaps will decide the length of Phoenix Suns’ playoff drought.
- The Unpredictable Future for TJ Warren and Josh Jackson
According to Arizona Sports’ longtime talk show host, John Gambadoro, Phoenix is now trying to trade away TJ Warren or Josh Jackson.
TJ had improved his three-point shooting a lot last season, with a career-high 0.428 3-pt percentage. However, his injury problem was even worse last season since he only played 43 games in the whole year (From The Bright Side reporter Ashely Nevel’s source, TJ was recovered before the season is over, but the Suns decided not to play him on the court). Moreover, rumors said that Warren was not willing to be interviewed at the Suns’ season-ending open meeting. While TJ’s trade value is relatively high in the Suns’ roster (3 years left with a total of 35.25 million), the trade rumor hasn’t stopped for him.
Josh Jackson showed his talent last season, especially with some outstanding court vision and much improved 3-pt shooting, but the factor that will determine if Josh will leave the Suns or not is Kelly Oubre Jr’s market value. Though Kelly Joined the Suns in the middle of the season, his passion for the game and pure scoring showtime had got every fan’s attention. What’s worse for Jackson is that according to Slater Scoop, Jackson was arrested at Rolling Loud music festival in Miami Gardens on May 13th. He tried to enter the VIP area many times without a proper pass. After cops handcuffed him, he ran away. Nevertheless, if Kelly Oubre costs Phoenix too much in the summer, Josh Jackson still has a huge opportunity to play for the Suns.
2. A Huge Shock Woke the Suns Up: 6th pick in 2019 draft
Since the lottery draft rate had a significant change this year, Phoenix Suns unbelievably only got the 6th today. Therefore, if the Suns are still desperate about higher pick spots to select rookies like Ja Morant, Warren-Jackson-6th trade might still work.
If the Suns can’t find a buyer or the trade package is not high-valued, who might be drafted at the sixth pick? “Best-available pick” is the easiest. We just have to wait who’s going to fall out of the top 5, but it might be a small forward or a scoring guard like Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter. This move won’t make sense at all because Phoenix is already trying to trade away small forwards, such as Warren or Jackson. But if we are talking about “Suit-the-team-position-most pick”, that pick might be Darius Garland or Coby White, and that means the Suns find another rookie point guard to play with Devin Booker again. Without doubts, the sixth pick is extremely hard for Phoenix to deal with.
Yet, according to John Gambadoro, if the Suns can’t have a high pick to select Zion Willamson or Ja Morant, Phoenix will be looking for a chance to trade away their pick instead of adding another rookie to the roster. Now, with a sixth pick, perhaps the trade is happening soon.
3. New Coach Monty Williams’ Game Strategy and Igor Kokoskov’s Departure
Igor Kokoskov was fired in late April and soon the Suns had acquired 76ers assistant coach, Monty Williams as Phoenix’s new head coach with a 5-year deal. Kokoskov is undoubtedly an excellent coach with an awesome playbook, but he hadn’t met the Suns Office’s expectations: playing Deandre Ayton in the post and winning enough games to prove himself right. However, this move was firmly believed that Igor got fired simply because he wasn’t James Jones’ staff. Igor was recruited by former GM Ryan McDonough and Jones wasn’t pleased about using team staff from McDonough for sure.
Suns new coach Monty Williams is believed to have multiple roles beyond a pure basketball coach. Many NBA players, like Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, have said that Monty is a leader and a lifelong teacher off the court. Moreover, Monty is believed to have an outstanding player development plan, though James Jones said Monty wasn’t here to “take care” of the players but to “challenge” them.
However, Monty’ playbook is not considered as a playoff-level. When he was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, the game pace of his team is ranked at the bottom of the NBA. Furthermore, while three-point shooting became more crucial in recent years because the Golden State Warriors has dominated the league, Monty’s playbook isn’t good at creating 3-pt shooting space, and his team’s 3-pt percentage ranked almost last in the league. Monty definitely learned some experience within these years as the associate head coach of the Thunder and as the assistant coach of the 76ers. Phoenix Suns fans have to wait and see how much improvement Monty Williams has made.
The Phoenix Suns definitely still remembered that when the first home game against the Dallas Mavericks last year, everything looked so decent. With Devin’s game became more mature and Ayton’s soft touch with the ball was beyond expectation, Phoenix seemed that it was going to rise from the ashes. All of a sudden, the Phoenix Suns’ bright future become darker and darker.