Youth will be served this season for the Phoenix Suns.
Fans will get their first peek a rookies Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis Saturday when the “Summer Suns” open Las Vegas Summer League play against Portland.
Some on Planet Orange believe Ryan McDonough’s young re-build blueprint is mis-guided for a franchise who hasn’t been to the playoffs for six seasons. Others feel the tear down is a much-needed step as other teams, most notably the Golden State Warriors, have established a foundation building young instead of chasing overpriced and mostly underwhelming free agents.
As the game is evolving, so to is the way organizations view draft prospects which is why many feel getting Bender and Chriss will help the Suns in a myriad of ways at both ends of the floor.
“We all know at the power forward position to have those two guys who can switch on pick-and-rolls which is the evolution of basketball and can also hit the three-point shot,” head coach Earl Watson told Sports360AZ.com in a recent phone interview. “That gives us a unique ability to play with length and size and athletic ability to compete with the OKC’s, Golden State…and Minnesota moving forward.”
Part of the evolution of Suns’ basketball could include any one of the five players on the floor being able to step out and knock down three-pointers, as well as space the floor for Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, T.J. Warren and others.
“The potential is there and you see them grow,” Watson said of his young core of players. “You think about this team in the upcoming years moving forward and the veteran leadership of P.J. Tucker and Tyson Chandler. Those are the rocks you need…it gives you unlimited creativity on offense and defense.”
For a once proud fan base starving for success in the loaded Western Conference let’s hope McDonough’s plan works as well as it looks, at least right now, on paper…in early July.