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Empire of the Suns Mailbag, Part II: FA targets, getting over 35 wins

(AP photos)

Sniffing 20 wins following a victory against the also-stumbling Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns continue their development of their youngsters.

Rookie Josh Jackson has come on as of late, while Devin Booker extended his streak of scoring 30 or more points to three games.

But the roster has flaws. Its youth must show signs of improvement. What are the biggest questions for the rest of the year and into the draft and offseason? We asked you.

After taking on a series of questions about draft prospect Deandre Ayton, here’s what else our readers wanted to know about the Suns.

Kevin Zimmerman: That’d be Los Angeles Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Utah Jazz center Derrick Favors.

The Suns’ tinkering with Devin Booker at point guard could allude to their thoughts about Bradley playing in the backcourt alongside the youngster. Defensively, Bradley will take on the best offensive guard each night, is good enough to initiate some of the offense and can shoot well from three.

The problem begins when you consider that Booker also desperately could use another ball handler who can break down an offense. If Phoenix drafted a Luka Doncic or Trae Young before free agency, going with Bradley over, say, Elfrid Payton would make sense. Bradley currently is out with a hernia surgery — if he undergoes surgery, his price-point might drop after a poor, injury-plagued season.

I’ll let Kellan handle Favors.

Kellan Olson: For me, Favors is more representative of the point you are making than Bradley.

Bradley has proven he can be effective in a role not many guys can fill in the league. Favors, meanwhile, is a solid NBA big man who can do a little bit of scoring in the post, protecting the rim and rebounding. If we can look past the injury concern of him failing to play over 62 games in a season since 2014-15, he could certainly be worth a look.

At 26 years old, Favors would also be signed in his prime. He would give the Suns a reliable big man, something they have sorely lacked when Tyson Chandler is out.

The issue is even if the Suns don’t draft a big man, it’s hard to see a scenario where Favors wouldn’t block playing time for Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender. While Chriss and Bender have not played well this year, does Favors move the needle enough to bring him in?

The only wild, and I mean wild, scenario I see unfolding here for signing Favors to make sense would be the Suns moving their top pick for an All-Star point guard and needing an extra boost in the frontcourt to make a playoff push. In that scenario, sure.

Zimmerman: Really, I don’t think they have a choice. Chandler hasn’t been resting due to the Suns tanking. As it’s been presented, he’s really not been able to play effectively for 82 games. With one year remaining on Chandler’s contract that will pay him $13.6 million, there aren’t going to be takers for his contract.

He’s been accepting of his role. I think he’s realistic that his role here is to remain supportive of his young teammates.

Olson: I agree with Kevin. On top of getting Chandler as a strong veteran for your No. 2 most valuable asset, he can still do the job of playing 15-20 minutes fairly well.

Zimmerman: I am super curious what direction they go, and it’ll be telling who they put alongside Booker. If Phoenix goes offense by drafting a Doncic, Ayton or Young, then they need to go after guys like Bradley to shore up the defensive issues and make a push. Maybe a healthy Alan Williams and Brandon Knight refreshed gives them decent depth. That’s the only way I could see 35 games happening.

Olson: In theory, the Suns have the major asset (their own first-round pick) and minor assets (lesser first-round picks and young players) to pull off the big move for an All-Star that would see them reach this level of aspirations.

The question, as it always has been, is if that name becomes available and if it does, do the Suns have the best offer in the eyes of the team shipping out that star?

I’m also not counting out the very small chance of a new coach, a refreshed Knight, Booker taking another step forward, a key signing or two and major contributions from Jackson, one of the young power forwards and their upcoming top pick putting them around that mark. Probably not, but there’s at least a chance, right?

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