Goran Dragic is the best player on the Phoenix Suns. He plays point guard.
The previous front office selected point guard Kendall Marshall with the 13th pick in last year’s draft.
When you add that up, you would think it wouldn’t make much sense for the Suns to take a PG with the fifth pick in this year’s draft.
I don’t believe this to be the case. If general manager Ryan McDonough feels Trey Burke is the best player on the board (Burke worked out for the Suns on Thursday afternoon) when Phoenix is on the clock, the Michigan product could make sense for a variety of reasons.
The NBA is trending more towards two point guard lineups, and groups of five featuring two players that play the one-position had success during the 2012-2013 season.
I looked at 10,557 minutes of two-point guard lineups across the league, and using weighted averages (to reflect combinations that played more than others were of higher importance) found that teams’ offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) improved by 2.88.
“Most teams, us included, feel like you need a secondary ball handler,” explained McDonough Thursday. “A lot of the defenses will trap the primary ball handler. When he gives the ball up you need someone who can catch it and make a play or the offense stalls out. You’ve seen Golden State do it, you’ve seen Denver do it some and other teams around the league feel like they need multiple guys who can shoot, run pick and rolls and help make decisions.”
On the other side of the ball two PG lineups aren’t necessarily a positive. The drop off in defensive rating was 2.21.
“Size can be an issue depending how big the point guards are,” stated the Suns GM. “You only really get in trouble when you have two small guards, especially if the other team has a power guard that they can drop down in the post and exploit that matchup.”
Overall, that’s a positive net gain of .67 when examining as a whole and when looking at the 22 different two point guard lineups I pulled, there were 11 in the positive. Out of the 11 that weren’t successful, five came from the Pistons, Raptors and Jazz, which explains a lot.
When you look at the Suns specifically, they were one of the teams that had success with two PGs last year, but it was only in a small sample size. Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall played 121 minutes together, compiling a ORtg of 114 and a DRtg of 111. Phoenix’s offense improved by 16 points per 100 possessions when the two of them played together and the defense only took a five-point dip.
I personally don’t see Marshall as a 25-30 minute rotation player with his skill set. He is best suited as a ten to 15 minute backup. To really get the most out of Dragic’s versatility another point guard would need to be added to the roster.
A player like Burke, who also has the ability to play on and off the ball, would be a fantastic compliment to Dragic.
Both players are a threat in pick and roll and isolation initiating the offense, but can also be used as court spacers because of their ability to knock down shots in catch-and-shoot scenarios.
With the way the NBA is trending, drafting a point guard of Trey Burke’s ability would make a lot of sense at number five even though it doesn’t seem like a true need.