PHOENIX SUNS

Suns shouldn’t panic over PG now, says former NBA exec Marks

Dec 13, 2018, 11:55 AM | Updated: 4:02 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game agai...
Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

They didn’t have a point guard when the season started and don’t have one now. Do the Phoenix Suns need to find a lead guard this season?

It’s a multi-faceted question, but ESPN’s Bobby Marks, a former NBA front office executive, might have an opinion in the minority.

The Suns shouldn’t try at all costs to make a trade for a point guard before the trade deadline, he says.

One area where the Suns should not panic at the deadline is the lack of point guard play that has plagued them all season. The Suns will have a projected $22 million in room to target a deep free-agent pool of point guards that includes Terry Rozier, Spencer Dinwiddie, Darren Collison, Patrick Beverley and T.J. McConnell.

Of course, Marks suggests that Phoenix should instead focus on trying to find a trade involving forward Trevor Ariza, who is on a one-year, $15 million deal.

Back to the point guard question, however, and it’s important to realize where the Suns are and what they already have.

They’re alone at the bottom of a Western Conference that from the top to second-to-last is separated by just 5.5 games.

The 12-14 Houston Rockets, who made the conference finals a year ago, are the 14th-ranked team in the standings, just ahead of the 4-24 Suns … by 10.0 games.

Phoenix’s roster includes rookie point guards De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo, plus second-year pro Jawun Evans, who is on a two-way contract. Shooting guard Devin Booker took on point guard duties when healthy, but the wear-and-tear has kept him out nine games so far this year. A recurring hamstring injury has put him on the sideline most recently.

Certainly, the Suns could use a point guard. But who is available? And at what cost? There aren’t any reports of point guards dangling in the trade market.

Another side of the coin is whether acquiring a point guard this season is necessary for keeping Booker healthy and keeping his work load reasonable.

Of late, Melton has earned starts and a dramatic increase in playing time.

In the six games of December, he’s averaged 12.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds to go with 1.3 steals. Melton is shooting 43 percent overall and hitting 37 percent of his threes, all good enough to make him somewhat reliable combined with his solid defensive abilities.

Is he enough of an offensive threat to take some exertion off Booker when the team’s leading scorer returns? That’s hard to say.

The Suns can and should be cautious in pushing Booker to come back too soon from a hamstring injury, especially with other injury problems from earlier this year. And to Marks’ point, that could go a long way in the team not panicking as it holds off from making a rash move amid a season that’s already gone too far south.

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