This list will focus on what I believe the impact/value added will be for each player next season with a slight calculation for upside and potential factored in as well.
I will be doing an updated version of this towards the end of the season just for comparison sake to see how much has changed over the course of the season.
2019/2020 impact: 80%
#1: Devin Booker
I mean, obviously.
Booker needs to play 70+ games this season and at least maintain the level he was playing at last season (or even elevate to another level) in order for this team to potentially win 35+ games. If he stays healthy and completely buys in to this new system then this could be a special year now that he has actual NBA teammates. If not… fire up Tankathon (again), Suns fans.
#2: Deandre Ayton
Despite coming off one of the more underrated rookie seasons in recent memory, Ayton still has many areas to improve in. I’m not going to be looking into his PPG or RPG numbers too much, as we know he’s capable of going for ~20 & 10 on efficient shooting on any given night, and Rubio should only elevate him offensively.
If he can push towards being at least an average defender this season and improve his defensive rotations and awareness that would be a huge step towards becoming the All-NBA center he has the potential to be one day.
#3: Ricky Rubio
The $51 million dollar man. The Suns finally got their point guard after a very long wait, and he is the best passer this team has had since Steve Nash. He very well could be number two on this list and I wouldn’t blame you for putting him there due to his impact of making everyone around him better and the importance of his control over the offense.
The main concern with Ricky is his shot. That form isn’t inspiring to say the least, but if he can at least make the defense somewhat respect his jumper this year that would be nice from a spacing perspective.
#4: Dario Saric
This was a tough one because 4 through 6 are pretty close, but I decided to stick with my formula at the top since right now Dario is a more proven and better NBA player than both Mikal and Kelly until proven otherwise. I think some Suns fans are going to be pleasantly surprised by Dario this year and a breakout season could be in store for the 25 year old Croatian. He should quickly become a fan favorite.
#5: Mikal Bridges
Mikal was a playable wing as a rookie where he impacted the game with his elite point of attack defense on a nightly basis. He showed an element of playmaking and decision-making that offered some hope as a secondary offensive skill he could bring to the table outside of his shooting. Speaking of that… he has to shoot. If he doesn’t shoot better than 35% from three he’ll drop to number 6 or 7 on this list, even if he’s putting people in jail defensively.
#6: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre will play a key role on this team whether he starts or comes off the bench as a sixth man. His high-energy and ability to create highlight reel plays are why Suns fans fell in love with him during his brief stint in Phoenix last season.
Now, we need to see if he can maintain this level of production in a more efficient manner while surrounded by more actual NBA players. If he can take his game to another level it’s not crazy to think he could be number 3 or 4 by the end of the year.
#7: Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson aka “rudder” came in and started slow his first few games as a member of the Suns, but once he got comfortable he was the ultimate stabilizer in the backcourt with Devin Booker.
He helped lead Phoenix to a few competitive stretches before going down to injury, and now having him lead the second unit as the third guard should be a welcome sight for Suns fans after what the guard rotations have been these last few years.
#8: Aron Baynes
Baynes has already shown his ability to play physical ball and made his mark with a few bone-crunching screens and a couple charges drawn in the preseason. He does the little things that Suns fans are hoping will rub off on not only Deandre Ayton, but the rest of this young, impressionable team. I have a feeling this will be his best season yet and I think the shooting is real.
#9: Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky has looked very promising in preseason, and I know, it’s just preseason… but it’s encouraging nonetheless. He will likely play some PF and C, though I think he’s best suited as a 5 defensively. If he can keep shooting at a high level then it’ll be tough to not give him 15-20 minutes a game.
#10: Cameron Johnson
Cam Johnson has impressed in both training camp and preseason so far, earning rave reviews from coaches and players. He looks ready to contribute right away and should offer some optimal floor spacing if he can shoot at the level we all think he can. He’s also shown he has a nice little pull-up game and can run the court well in transition.
#11: Ty Jerome
Ty Jerome has been awesome in the preseason and like fellow rookie Cameron Johnson earned some high praise throughout training camp and it’s carried over into the games. His confidence on the court shines through and he hasn’t looked like a rookie very often.
After taking raw rookies that weren’t ready to see the floor the past few years, it’s obvious James Jones made it a priority to take players that were ready to go and needed minimal development.
#12: Jevon Carter
Jevon would’ve been 14th on this list before the preseason, but right now he’s making a serious case to crack the rotation with his disruptive defense and improved shooting he’s shown in a small four-game sample size.
If he can be a threat offensively and provide the pesky, Patrick Beverley-like defense then it’ll be tough for Monty Williams not to play him.
#13: Cheick Diallo
Diallo has had a rough preseason and it will be tough for him to crack the rotation in my opinion barring an injury. I still like the signing as it offers some depth they haven’t had in the past at the PF/C position.
#14: Elie Okobo-
Okobo had himself a sneaky good preseason after a *somewhat* quiet summer league. I’m not sure he will ever develop into a legitimate starting point guard, but he has some qualities to become an instant offense type of sixth-man with his ability to heat up in a hurry.
#15: Jalen Lecque-
I’m really hoping to see him in the Dunk Contest this season, but outside of that I doubt we see much of him at the NBA level this year. It figures to be a year of development for him, so you should keep tabs on the NAZ Suns if you want to follow his progress throughout the year.
Comment below with what your list looks like!