Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

The Bledsoe trade left them with only 2 fantasy relevant players for the whole year in TJ Warren and Devin Booker. Greg Monroe and Elfrid Payton played some solid games for them but overall it was a disappointment because their recent draft picks really struggled. Alex Len, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson simply didn’t live up to their expected value [at least as measured by where Suns drafted them]… and for all those mistakes they got another top draft pick. Though it also lead to a new GM…

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Alex Len, Tyler Ulis, Elfrid Payton
Added = new head coach Igor Kokoskov, Deandre Ayton, Trevor Ariza, Mikal Bridges, De’Anthony Melton, Elie Okobo, Ryan Anderson

The tough part about their new head coach is… Suns already played at a really fast pace and were average in 3-point attempts so typical mantra doesn’t really apply here. So what changes will he bring that affect players’ stats?

Projected Depth Chart:

PG SG SF PF C
Devin Booker Josh Jackson Trevor Ariza Ryan Anderson Deandre Ayton
Elie Okobo Troy Daniels T.J. Warren T.J. Warren Richaun Holmes
Shaquille Harrison De’Anthony Melton Mikal Bridges Mikal Bridges Dragan Bender

Positional Battles: Guard next to Booker, PF

While Ryan Anderson is projected to start at PF I don’t think he will do it for the whole season. In my opinion Ariza, Warren or Bridges will finish the year there.

But the interesting dilemma is among the guards. They have 3 prospects to try out at PG but probably none of them is ready for a full-time starting job which should shift Booker there for more minutes [despite Kokoskov’s statements earlier!]. Based on the preseason it’s clear they want to play Josh Jackson next to him but I’m not sure it’s a legit solution for the whole year [and I don’t think it will work longterm]. Will someone step up and secure this role or will Suns acquire a new option?

Fantasy Relevant in leagues with 12- to 15-teams:

Deandre Ayton

53,3 FG%, 74,0 FT%, 0,13 3PM, 13,63 PTS, 9,23 REB, 0,84 AST, 0,63 STL, 1,26 BL, 1,97 TO

There are some concerns about his defense so he may not be the best player from 2018 draft class in five years but he’ll probably be the best rookie in fantasy because he’s the most physically ready and with no real competition for minutes he will have the best opportunity to shine early. Key questions about his fantasy value are about the blocks [there were weirdly low in NCAA for a top big man prospect, was it something about the team or the effort and will it change in the NBA?] and his role on offense [will he be the second option or third or fourth?]. If you are more optimistic about those 2 things than my projections you should move him up in the rankings.

T.J. Warren

51,2 FG%, 75,7 FT%, 0,32 3PM, 16,91 PTS, 4,16 REB, 1,06 AST, 0,91 STL, 0,53 BL, 1,06 TO

Despite the breakout year he’s not going to be a starter so his minutes and stats per game should be lower this season. But he has a sneaky profile of 3 good categories, 4 decent ones and only 2 weaknesses which plays well even in more limited minutes. Keep in mind I assume he will be at worst their 6th man with high chance of taking over Ryan Anderson.

Devin Booker

42,8 FG%, 86,6 FT%, 2,69 3PM, 23,16 PTS, 3,89 REB, 4,92 AST, 0,87 STL, 0,26 BL, 3,7 TO

Unpopular opinion alert, I don’t think he’s going to break out this year for 3 main reasons:
– injured shooting hand just before the season usually affect shooting percentages so I expect a drop there,
– Suns’ lack of legit point guards will force him into more playmaking, which is great for his longterm development but not so great for short-term results, I assume turnovers will kill his value in 9-cat this year,
– the addition of Ayton will lower his usage which is a problem for a player with weak defensive numbers because his value comes only from offense.

Trevor Ariza

41,5 FG%, 79,5 FT%, 2,17 3PM, 11,66 PTS, 5,26 REB, 1,93 AST, 1,28 STL, 0,18 BL, 1,24 TO

You can’t blame him for taking the best financial offer on the table but you can blame him for intentionally lowering his fantasy value because in Phoenix he will probably be worse for 2 main reasons:
– Rockets were great at creating open three point shots, Suns won’t be so Ariza’s threes should fall down significantly.
– he joined a bad team which will affect his minutes [because of all the blowouts] and defensive numbers [because of the lower effort on his part and others].

Josh Jackson

42,8 FG%, 65,5 FT%, 0,82 3PM, 14,06 PTS, 5,16 REB, 2,02 AST, 1,2 STL, 0,57 BL, 1,95 TO

I include him because he’s projected to start and play a lot of minutes. I get that he has a nice potential mix of play-making and versatile defense but with such horrible shooting percentages players have to be elite at many other things to survive and he’s not at this level at anything yet.

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
Mikal Bridges

Just don’t bother with:
Point guards.

They have 3 prospects which may get some spot starts but none of them will get enough minutes to matter.

Don’t forget to check the rest of the Phoenix Suns fantasy basketball projections..

Posted in Teams preview