2019 Phoenix Suns Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Tyler Johnson||De'Anthony Melton||Ellie Okobo|
|Shooting Guard||Devin Booker||Jamal Crawford|
|Small Forward||Mikal Bridges||Josh Jackson|
|Power Forward||T.J. Warren||Kelly Oubre Jr.||Dragen Bender|
|Center||DeAndre Ayton||Richaun Holmes|
The Phoenix Suns made waves last season after firing head coach Earl Watson just three games into the season and things pretty much went downhill from there. They ended up going 21-61 on the year and had the league’s worst offensive rating (103.5) and defensive rating (112.8). Some of their struggles were part of their tanking process to help surround Devin Booker with young, lottery level talent with. Tanking paid off in 2017-18 as they landed the number one pick and Deandre Ayton. Things will look a little bit different this season as they head into the 2018-19 season with former Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov at the helm. Koskoskov is a highly-respected young coach who was a proven coach in Europe where he led the Slovenian National team to a 2017 EuroBasket title. He has a strong record of developing young players which is just what the Suns need. Kokoskov has plenty of young talent to work with on this Suns team as Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have all been in the NBA for four years or less, and will be joined by number one pick Deandre Ayton and rookies Mikal Bridges and Elie Okobo.
While the Suns have plenty of young talent, including their three rookies, the point guard position is a major question mark for them this season. Brandon Knight is returning from an ACL injury that he suffered heading into last season and should be the starting point guard but the fact remains that Knight is not really a point guard as he lacks the skillset and ability to run an offense efficiently. Knight has averaged 15.2 points and 4.3 assists per game over his career but has struggled to shoot the ball as he owns just a career 41.5 percent shooting percentage. Ellie Okobo will be Knight’s backup off the bench and there are even more question marks surrounding him. He is a very intriguing talent that is a good shooter from the outside with enough length to defend on the perimeter but he is very young and not experienced as a point guard. Keep an eye on Shaquille Harrison heading into the season as he could end up being someone that overtakes both Knight and Okobo on the depth chart. Harrison was good for the Suns in limited minutes last season and is the best of the bunch as an on-ball defender. Devin Booker will end up being the team’s de-facto point guard based on his skill set and role in the offense and will look to build off his career year in 2017-18. Booker averaged 24.9 points and 4.7 assists per game last season and looked to be one of the best young guards in the NBA. The Suns have Troy Daniels backing up Devin Booker once again this season and he brings excellent three-point shooting and veteran experience to the second-unit and Davon Reed will find himself in the mix, as well.
Things get interesting for the Suns as we look at both the small forward and power forward positions, as they are loaded with talent at both spots. Kokoskov will need to find minutes for TJ Warren and Josh Jackson on the wings, along with minutes for rookie Mikal Bridges, which is a pretty good luxury to have. Warren is entering his fifth season in the NBA and brings decent shooting to the floor, while Josh Jackson is coming off an All-Rookie campaign where he averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Jackson’s decision making needs to improve for him to be successful in the NBA but he is a high-energy player that fits perfectly next to Devin Booker and is probably better suited to be the starter at this point for Phoenix. Phoenix will move the newly acquired Trevor Ariza to the power forward position where he will Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, while Josh Jackson could also see minutes at the position. Chriss and Bender have yet to develop into the talents that Phoenix expected them to, so having Ariza in the starting lineup makes a lot of sense. Number one pick Deandre Ayton will get the nod as the starting center and his development will certainly be fun to watch. Ayton doesn’t quite fit the mold of the modern-day NBA center but he is a physically imposing presence that gives the Suns a much-needed rim protector. Behind Ayton, the Suns are blessed to have veteran Tyson Chandler who will be an excellent mentor for Ayton and the newly acquired Richaun Holmes.