The Phoenix Suns have had a terrible year, as they are 22-52. With a backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker, the Suns were expected to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, that will not be happening this year. The main reason is directed towards their defense, which ranks 29th, allowing 113 points a game.
Bledsoe and Booker have played well but they haven’t gotten enough help from their running mates. Bledsoe was shut down with knee soreness on March 12. The 27-year-old averaged 21.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. Booker, a player who has been making headlines the last few days following his 70 point performance against Boston last Friday. The talented wing is averaging 21.6 points and 3.2 assists this year. Players such as TJ Warren and Tyson Chandler have had their moments this season.
Although, there are a few reasons to be excited for the Suns future.
- Phoenix will have a lottery pick in this years draft. That pick will likely be a top-3 selection. Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum would be good options for the Suns.
- Youth movement (Booker, Alex Len, TJ Warren, Dragan Bender, Alan Williams and Tyler Ulis.
- Marquese Chriss.
The final reason is key. Rookie forward Marquese Chriss has untapped potential. The 8th pick in last year’s draft is only 19-years-old, and he is 6’10 with athleticism. Chriss can defend multiple positions and has three-point range. There isn’t really anything he can’t do except stay out of foul trouble. On the season, he is averaging 8.9 points and 4 rebounds in just under 21 minutes. The problem is that he averages 3.2 fouls. Chriss is often a victim of picking up two fouls in the first few minutes of the game. At times he gambles for steals and tries to make the highlight play.
As of late, Chriss is playing his best basketball of the season as his role has expanded. He has also improved in staying out of foul trouble early in games. Over the last 10 games, he is averaging 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks.
Since the All-Star break, Marquese Chriss has increased his FG% from 42% to 54% & 3PT FG% from 29.7% to 44.1%. pic.twitter.com/KLaX07iCxx
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationNBA) March 23, 2017
Look for Chriss to be a big key to the Suns future as he will likely be their starting power forward for the next few seasons. He has the size and tools to be a good defender and a nightmare matchup on offense.