Phoenix Suns: Projected 2015 Starting Lineup
The Phoenix Suns are in the midst of a classic rebuilding dilemma. Loaded with solid, young talent (an average age of 27 with seven players that are expected to start or get significant minutes being drafted since 2010), the team is still left with no true leader and no definite go-to player. The Suns are certainly heading in the right direction though and are poised to contend for a playoff spot next season. Here is the well-talented Phoenix Suns 2015-2016 projected lineup:
Point Guard – Eric Bledsoe: Eric Bledsoe has positioned himself as one of the 10-12 best point guards in the NBA. With excellent athleticism and scoring-ability tagged with nearly elite defense, Bledsoe is right up there with the league’s next class of young, prosperous point guards. What Bledsoe has lacked in his tenure with the Suns is the ambition to pursue that leadership role; mostly because he hasn’t had to. After Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas were shipped away at the trade deadline this year, Bledsoe needed to step up. While the Suns ultimately fell apart by the end of the season, Bledsoe showed glimpses of how he could run this team in the future. While trade talks have loomed over Bledsoe since the re-signing of Brandon Knight and likely will continue all the way to the trade deadline, Bledsoe should enter the season as the continued Suns starting point. That is where he will have the chance to ultimately prove himself.
Shooting Guard – Brandon Knight: The Suns acquired Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline last March. Though he is considered a combo guard and can play the two, Knight is a natural point guard and has played point since his college days at Kentucky. Knight has the skill set to be able to play off of Eric Bledsoe, who knows how to make a dual point guard lineup work, playing alongside John Wall at Kentucky and with Dragic for a little over a year. Knight has developed a very consistent three-point stroke along with very natural passing ability that Bledsoe doesn’t posses much of. These two will always have the Kentucky Wildcats soul in them, which should allow them to play off of each other very nicely. Knight and Bledsoe are both potential All-Stars at their highest peak.
Small Forward – TJ Warren: A year-and-a-half removed from being the ACC Player of the Year, NC State product TJ Warren should be getting his first crack as a starter in his sophomore season. With Gerald Green gone to the Miami Heat and PJ Tucker showing he’s just not meant to be a starting three, the job should be Warren’s to take. TJ only solidified his resume in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging over 20 points per game and making the All-NBA Summer League First Team. Phoenix has been in search of a starting-quality scorer at the small forward position for years now; drafting Warren in the first round last year proved to be the answer and that is how it should play out this season.
Power Forward – Markieff Morris: Markieff Morris has been stamped as the Suns’ starting four for quite some time now. A classical stretch four that has developed his game to a very high level the past few years, Morris is the perfect fit for a Phoenix team that loves to shoot the three ball. Though it’s not guaranteed that the Suns will not trade him after the season starts, Morris will continue developing his game under Jeff Hornacek.
Center- Tyson Chandler: Perhaps the most unexpected signing of free agency, the Suns went and signed Tyson Chandler from the Dallas Mavericks. The addition of Chandler brings defensive and rebounding prowess that Phoenix could not get from Alex Len and Miles Plumlee at the center position. While it is certainly an upgrade, Chandler is certainly not a go-to scorer; leaving the Suns with, still, close to zero inside scoring.