The NBA season begins on Tuesday, with the Phoenix Suns advancing on Wednesday’s out-of-season news campaign.
Newsworthy is short selling it. It has been dramatic on several fronts, from the basketball side to the ownership controversy, and now Robert Sarver is seeking to sell the team.
The essence of The Suns returns from the past two seasons in 2022-23. However, those returning have variable roles given their age, contractual status, or natural growth trajectory.
At the first two round tables, we asked Arizona Sports Hosts, Editors, and Reporters What is the biggest question about this year’s team.
1. There are a lot of questions about this team: HE Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder’s commercial order, team up for sale and more. Which do you think is more worrying as the season begins?
Vince Marotta, co-host of Beckley and Marotta: I think Jae Crowder’s business order status is a bigger concern for Suns at the moment. Had he accepted his role, he would have been a top-seven on the rotation, and despite the sometimes frustrating nature of his stage, Crowder did many of the little things that championship teams needed. Either this saga will run through mid-January or beyond, or the Suns is getting a bit of a payoff in the near future. Neither scenario is palatable, in my opinion.
Luke Labinski, co-host of wolf and luke: only general depth. I still think this team is the rightful contender for the title, but it’s more reliant than ever on the top five right now. And there’s no way to look at this list and say it’s better on paper than it was a year ago. The Suns are relying on internal improvement from guys like Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Ayton and even Devin Booker – and I think they’re going to get some of that improvement – but the reality is that the West is loaded and they may still need to add impact on a player or two before the deadline if They were serious about taking a deep tour.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns and Jumbo: I expect Ayton to find out. He’s a professional and he’s got a max contract. The team for sale is just a business. There are many layers between players and the owner, so I don’t expect the upcoming sale to be a distraction. Crowder thing is another story. He’s been a valuable player for this team over the past two seasons and removing him from the roster now, without a replacement, doesn’t make Sun any better. makes them worse.
Dan Beckley, co-host of Beckley and Marotta: Apparently, Suns is trying a new volatile chemistry. As in, let’s see how far we can go with a bunch of vanity bruises. Mikal Bridges knows he has been circulating rumors of her trading to Kevin Durant. Same with Deandre Ayton, who had to turn over an offer sheet to Phoenix in order to get paid by the Suns.
Meanwhile, the team is so committed to Cam Johnson that they gave him a prime job and kicked Jay Crowder to the curb. But he did not commit enough to extend his contract. It’s a good thing Monty Williams has taken a steel cut because he’s going to need it. The era of innocence is over on Planet Orange.
Ron Wolfley, co-host of wolf and lukeCam Johnson is the new out-of-place player the basketball world is looking for. It has a solid handle and can put the ball on the ground. He is a smart player, not selfish. His defense gets better every year; All three shoots with self-confidence. But how will he respond to not getting an extension with The Sun? Is this messing with his mind and distracting him? The paradigm has completely changed for Cam this season… so what does that do to his brain?
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns and Jumbo: At first glance, I think Jay’s position is the most troubling because it speaks to the broader flaw in this Suns roster: their bench. It feels thin and unreliable. In addition, it speaks of another, larger flaw that may have cracked the universal and one-for-all foundation.
But really when I think about it, Sarver’s status is a close second. Jumbo assured me on air that ownership status wouldn’t stop them from doing business this season, but the lack of Johnson’s extension makes me think it will. This flows into the trade deadline, the acquisition market, etc., and so on. I never thought I’d get to a point where the thing I’d least worried about would be Ayton, but I think I’m there.
Kellan Olson, Suns reporter and co-host of Sun Empire audio notation: I will cheat and say that all together they are the most worrisome. The last thing this team needed after the last postseason was countless off-season stories bleeding into the regular season. This is what happens.
Kevin Zimmerman, editor of ArizonaSports.com and co-host of Sun Empire audio notation: It is probably illogical to suspect that there will be a primary polling hall in the future for farmers. But Monty Williams compared the role of sophisticated Chris Paul to Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. Consider that and the fact that the Suns haven’t upgraded their ball-making abilities, there’s a brightly colored red flag that’s been around since the 2021 NBA Finals for the team.
Expect Bridges and Johnson – and possibly Ayton – to take on more offensive duties. That’s okay, but when the playoffs happened, Booker couldn’t be the only guy capable of making his own shot. Surrounding has a big hole to fill in if Paul’s role is curtailed to protect him, and even if he isn’t.
Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com Editor: For me, the situation should be “crowder”. I don’t think selling the team will affect the field much, and while DA’s unhappiness is something to watch as the season progresses, he appears to be focused squarely on basketball. The maximum money is the maximum money after all, right?
I think Johnson would do well as a member of the Starting Five. The dude is from a distance and enjoys the confidence of his coaching staff and teammates. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with my Crowder trade order. He doesn’t have the ability to take on and win games like some of the other games on the list, but Crowder has brought toughness to the starting lineup. Phoenix will need to harness that elsewhere.