The Phoenix Suns lack depth at point guard, so who could they bring in to fill the void?
Consistently banged up and an increasingly poor fit for their ongoing rebuild, the Phoenix Suns traded Brandon Knight to the Houston Rockets during the offseason. That also removed the team’s likely starting point guard for this season, health-permitting, and a team flush with options at the position just a few years ago now has few.
Isaiah Canaan started 15 of the Suns’ first 20 games this season, but he was released last week. Talk of Devin Booker taking on the point guard role has started to come to fruition, but now he’s out again with a left hamstring injury with no firm timetable to return.
Rookie D’Anthony Melton was promoted from the G-League after Canaan was waived, but he’s only played 12 minutes in two games thus far. Fellow rookie Elie Okobo recently came back from a short G-League stint himself, and he’s averaged a shade over 30 minutes per game in the last three games.
With a 4-19 record right now, the Suns don’t need to rush Booker back and they can deal with whatever ups and downs Okobo might have going forward running the point. A better long-term answer may come with an early pick in the 2019 draft, depending on how Okobo does with what is line to be an unchecked opportunity to play.
But who could the Suns get right now, if only to fill some minutes behind Okobo? With a couple roster spots to fill, they’re leaving no stone unturned.
Darius Morris hasn’t played in the NBA in a few years now, but he is doing well for Golden State’s G-League affiliate right now (19.5 points and 6.7 assists per game) and has experience in the league (132 games).
Among possible trade targets, the Suns have expressed interest in Markelle Fultz and could wait for him to get right physically and mentally. But the Philadelphia 76ers may or may not be willing to trade him.
Jeremy Lin is playing on an expiring deal with the Atlanta Hawks, so the Suns could have some interest.
But a more realistic and more immediate answer is New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. The Suns have been mentioned among multiple teams with interest in him recently, as the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft has had his role reduced since Thanksgiving and has not played at all in back-to-back games now.
Ntilikina is hardly a finished product himself, averaging precisely 5.9 points per game over his first 101 NBA games while converting 30 percent of his 3-pointers and less than 36 percent overall from the floor. But unlike Fultz he’s healthy and not known to be going through any sort of possible mental yips, and the Suns can afford to be patient with wins and losses taking a backseat again this year.
The Suns may only be looking for a short-term solution at point guard to get through this season, but all options should really be open.