The Phoenix Suns entered the 2020 NBA Restart Bubble as the team furthest away from earning a playoff spot. However, they went a perfect 8-0 and came so close to making the playoffs in an improbable run. This led to lofty expectations for the team in the 2020-21 season, to which GM James Jones responded to by making a series of moves. Here is my analysis of the moves and the impact of the new acquisitions through the first four games of this new NBA season.
The Phoenix Suns made arguably the biggest move of the entire offseason by trading Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a future protected first round pick in exchange for Chris Paul and Abdel Nader. Through four games, this move seems to be a very good one for the Suns. Paul has provided the veteran leadership and quality play on the court that is desperately needed for a team looking to make the playoffs. Although his scoring hasn’t been great this year, his playmaking, defense, and intangibles have been a key part of the Suns’ 3-1 start. Nader will likely not play very much this year due to the amount of talent on the roster.
The Suns made their biggest move of free agency by signing forward Jae Crowder to a three-year $30 million deal. Crowder, fresh off a Finals run with the Miami Heat, will provide more veteran leadership to the team. As a 3-and-D player, his presence in the starting lineup provides exactly what the trio of Paul, Devin Booker, and Ayton need around them. Alongside a similar player in Mikal Bridges, these two are a large part of the Suns having the second-best defensive rating in the league. Crowder also allows Cam Johnson to be the sixth man of the team, where he has done very well to start the season. Lastly, Crowder has a much lower usage rate than Kelly Oubre, who he is replacing. This allows the ball to be in the hands of the two stars, Paul and Booker, as much as possible.
The Suns also added some quality role players such as Langston Galloway, E’Twaun Moore, and Damian Jones. Galloway and Moore are great shooters, while Jones is a big with championship experience. Overall, the Suns had a great offseason and have given themselves a great shot at making the playoffs.