Arizona Sports roundtable: Questions for the Suns in 2017-18, Part 2

Oct 18, 2017, 8:02 AM | Updated: 2:26 pm

(AP photos)...

(AP photos)

(AP photos)

LISTEN: Devin Booker, Suns guard

The Phoenix Suns’ season is upon us.

They tip 2017-18 on Wednesday, facing the Portland Trail Blazers. The game, which will air on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, tips off at 7 p.m. and, starting at 4:30 p.m., the “Suns’ Opening Night Special” will feature special roundtables to lead into the opener.

But before that, we asked our show hosts, Suns reporters and Empire of the Suns writers four key questions about Phoenix’s upcoming season. You can find our first two questions here.

Should the Suns trade any of Tyson Chandler, Jared Dudley or Eric Bledsoe? Will they?

Jon Bloom (Suns postgame show host): If the Suns can get another young piece to help continue their current construction then I’m fine with them making moves during the season to do that. I would hesitate making moves for more draft picks, however, since they are already well stocked in that area with five picks coming up in the next draft most likely (should Miami’s protected first-round pick not fall in the top-seven).

Doug Franz (Co-host of Doug & Wolf): The options are to go get a superstar or wait until Booker becomes one. Who is the superstar that Chandler, Dudley and Bledsoe will fetch? Since the answer is none, why trade them?

John Gambadoro (Co-host of Burns & Gambo)Bledsoe will be traded. Not a matter of if but when. My guess is by December, maybe January, but I can not see any scenario in which he ends this season in Phoenix. He doesn’t fit their timeline and his value is decent enough that they can get something for him.

Dave Burns (Co-host of Burns & Gambo)I would trade at least one of them, likely Bledsoe since he’ll fetch the most in return. All of this changes if the Suns shock us all by being good this year. Trade no one under those circumstances. But, if by Christmas it’s clear this team is going to meet their mostly low expectations, there is no reason to hold on to a player who has some market value and doesn’t fit into your timeline.

Craig Grialou (Reporter): Assuming the price is right, and though I’m a huge fan of his, I would look to trade Eric Bledsoe this season, especially closer to the trade deadline. He doesn’t fit the “timeline” and there is no way the Suns will re-sign him, not with his prior knee injuries. Saying that, I would keep both Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley on the roster. Neither needs to play, but they need to be in that locker room. Veteran leadership is needed on this young team.

Luke Lapinski (Host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski): I don’t buy into the philosophy of making the team worse, in the hopes of landing a couple more lottery balls that might move you up one spot in the draft. I just don’t think the trade off is worth it, if it means putting the players you’re already developing in a culture of losing. So I wouldn’t trade any of those vets simply for the sake of trading them. If I could get a piece or asset in return, however, then yes. I’m open to it. But Bledsoe is still the one I’d be least likely to part with.

Kellan Olson (Editor, Empire of the Suns reporter): Dudley is the most logical choice. If he plays, that means Dragan Bender isn’t much, and that’s a mistake. Dudley’s shooting and veteran savvy is valuable enough for a team looking to compete to take on his $10 million salary. As for trading Bledsoe, the team needs some semblance of structure to improve and moving Bledsoe for even more young assets isn’t worth the drop-off the team would have without him for the rest of this season and next. Unless there’s a clear way to package all those assets for an All-Star, keep Bledsoe and make your way towards 35-40 wins for the 2018-19 season.

Vince Marotta (Co-host of Bickley & Marotta): Yes. All three. They were able to benefit from the tutelage of Dudley and Chandler all last year, and they have some value on the trade front. Bledsoe is a good point guard who can help a lot of teams more than he’ll help the Suns. When they’re ready to win games, he’ll likely be north of 30 years old. If they’re going to subscribe to “The Timeline”, they should go all-in.

Kevin Zimmerman (Editor, Empire of the Suns reporter): I could see one or both of Chandler or Dudley being involved in a minor deal toward the deadline, but Bledsoe’s value might be highest come the 2018 draft.

How many games will the Suns win? Why?

Bloom: Every year I go through the schedule game-by-game and pick the Suns’ wins and losses. I’m not always accurate, but nonetheless, the tradition continues. This year I have them starting the season strong at 12-11 through November before a couple of difficult months back to back in December and January put them at 24-28. A 6-5 month of February gets them within striking distance of the playoff conversation in the West, but March is tough and they finish up facing the Warriors two of their five games in April leading to a 38-44 record. I’m optimistic because this team is talented enough to stay in games and filled with enough fighters to win some improbable ones.

Franz: Predicting a win total for a franchise that doesn’t feel a moral obligation to compete in every game on their schedule is a waste of time. When the Suns guarantee they won’t tank, I’ll make predictions.

Gambadoro: 29. That would be an improvement from last year but the West is loaded and Phoenix is just too young to compete this year. It is coming, just not now. Another solid lottery pick to add to Booker and Jackson is crucial in the Suns taking the next step.

Burns: I’ve optimistically got them at 32 wins. They’ll be better than they were last year since they won’t be actively trying to be bad.  Improvement from the young guys and the return of Bledsoe to the lineup will help.

Grialou: This season should not be judged by wins and losses. The Western Conference is too deep and talented for the Suns to make a big-time jump in the win total, so if they can hit the 30-win mark, and perhaps maybe a bit higher, and the roster shows improvement, then the season will be considered a success.

Marotta: I feel like I need to know if players will be “strategically rested” for the final 25 games of the season this year before I answer this. I’ll assume (and pray) that the Suns don’t go down that road again and I’ll predict 29 wins.

Lapinski: 27. Improving, so they should win a few more games than last season. But still incredibly young.

Olson: 26. Eric Bledsoe is very good at basketball and the talented youngsters will improve, but don’t become too enticed by them. Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender are still figuring it out. Even with how good Josh Jackson looks, rookies are rarely even below average players. Devin Booker will very likely be awful on defense again and Troy Daniels has played less than half the career minutes Booker has.

Zimmerman: I’m going right on the 30-win mark. It’s contingent on Booker taking another step forward, and the Suns not resting their veterans down the stretch.

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Arizona Sports roundtable: Questions for the Suns in 2017-18, Part 2