Prior to the 2013-14 season, many wondered how the Phoenix Suns would manage a backcourt that included two start-worthy point guards — Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
Nearly 50 wins later, the supposed conundrum had seemingly been solved.
But now, one offseason later, coach Jeff Hornacek is once again facing crowded backcourt questions.
Thomas, 5-foot-9, projects as nothing other than a point guard, with no positional versatility to show. And beyond Dragic and Bledsoe, the Suns’ first-round draft pick was also a point guard, as is budding guard prospect Archie Goodwin.
“We welcome Isaiah Thomas,” said Lon Babby, president of basketball operations for the Suns, on Saturday. “His addition to our backcourt makes it one of the deepest and most dynamic in the league. We have enjoyed getting to know him during his visit to Phoenix this week. He will quickly become a fan-favorite.”
Given the somewhat confusing nature of the acquisition, pundits have begun to weigh in, offering explanations as to how Hornacek and his staff will find enough minutes for the team’s guards.
ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton published an analysis article on the move, grading the Suns’ end a B+ for the move.
Pelton points out that the Suns’ approach to the acquisition of Thomas practically mimicked a draft-like approach, prioritizing talent over need and taking the best available, within means. Thomas is just that, he says.
Thomas is one of the better values on the market — a 25-year-old point guard who posted nearly 10 wins above replacement player last season. It’s easy to focus on Thomas’ weaknesses — his size, his tendency to dominate the basketball — and miss his efficient scoring and ability to create his own shot.
As for the destiny of the various cast members in the Suns backcourt, Pelton has some guesses.
Ultimately, it seems likely that one of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas will have to go. Maybe Phoenix will let Bledsoe walk as a restricted free agent or work a sign-and-trade to get value for him. More likely, the Suns will look at their surplus of point guards as an opportunity for a future trade. With apologies to fans thinking their team will get Dragic for pennies on the dollar, Phoenix doesn’t have to be a hurry to move anyone, and both Bledsoe and Dragic should be coveted by other teams.