2018 record: 19-63
Even though the Suns finished dead last in the Western Conference last year, and last in the entire NBA the year before that, they’ll always be first in the hearts and minds of fantasy owners everywhere. Their score first and play defense later mentality is fantasy gold, and this year is no different. There is reason to be optimistic this year though, with the arrival of Ricky Rubio and the emergence of Kelly Oubre. The Suns finally get their true point guard to distribute the ball and a veteran mentor for the young guns. Booker is looking healthy (for now) and Ayton should take a big step forward. I love the Suns when it comes to fantasy, and I have a sneaking suspicion they won’t be that bad in real life either.
The last time the Suns had a true pass-first floor general was when Steve Nash was in town, and Ricky Rubio will come in and try to bring back those glory days. Playing in the up-tempo system of the Suns is perfect for Rubio’s game, and I fully expect his assists numbers to go back up. He did look out of place playing with the Jazz, but thankfully those days are gone. Rubio will be given the keys to the Suns offense with several lethal scorers at his disposal. Ayton, Booker, Oubre, and Saric are all very capable scorers and will help to pad his assists stats. Add that to his usual steals, fts, and boards and you have yourself a bargain stud. He’s currently going in the 70s and 80s in standard drafts, and should be worth every penny. Draft him with confidence anywhere after pick 60.
Even though he will be sharing point guard duties with Rubio, Devin Booker can now focus on doing what he does best: putting the ball in the basket. As one of the best finishers in the league, he can score from anywhere and will get more easy baskets with Rubio around. He surprisingly shot 46.7% last year, and there’s reason to believe that he can repeat and even improve on that this year. Expect the assists numbers to go down, but the elite scoring, FTs, and 3s will be there. Would be nice to have a few more steals, but he hovers around 1 a game so that’s usable. The geniuses at Yahoo have him ranked much lower right now than he should be, so make sure you capitalize on that. There is definitely an injury concern with him, but he’s well worth a second round pick.
Despite having a lot of exciting young guns, my favorite player on the Suns is none other than Kelly Oubre Jr. He was a monster last year before he got hurt, and the Suns have cleared the way for him to repeat that success this year. With Warren and Jackson out of the way, KO should be primed for a big year. He’s one of the few players who can get you a steal, block, and three-pointer a game, while adding a nice scoring punch. In the 12 games after the All-star Break last year, Oubre averaged 20 points, 5.7 boards, 2.1 steals, .9 blocks, and 1.9 3s a game. Those are elite numbers, and if he can come anywhere close to that with his new role and added playing time, he’d be golden. Oubre is sliding hard right now in drafts due to his wrist injury. Consider it a steal if you can get him any time after pick 75.
Dario Saric is someone to keep an eye on, and he can be had late in the draft. The Suns’ run-and-gun system works with his game perfectly, as he is a prime example of a stretch 4. If given around 30 minutes a game, he is capable of getting 14-7-3 with 3s and stellar FTs percentage. He’s a great fit to start alongside Deandre Ayton, as his ability to stretch the floor will give Ayton the freedom to operate inside. He’s worth a look in the last few rounds of your standard draft, and he’s pretty much guaranteed to outperform his current ADP.
Mikal Bridges will be in the mix for both forward positions, and may start at either depending on the match up. He was a surprising value last year, finishing 62nd overall in standard 9-category leagues. He looks to build on that this year, and should be able to get enough minutes to be a fantasy asset. He’s added some bulk during the off-season, so he should be able to play the 4 more often. He currently can be had for cheap due to his injury and uncertainty, so don’t be afraid to take a gamble around the 100 mark.
Deandre Ayton finished 37th overall last year in standard 9-category leagues, which is comparable to how Towns finished in his rookie year. That’s a lofty comparison, but the word is that he’s been putting in the work this off-season and the Suns staff are saying he’s going to have a monster season (in their unbiased opinion of course). I can see him going 20-10 with increased efficiency and defensive stats. He didn’t block a lot of shots last year, but he did get .9 steals, which is always nice coming from your center. Having Rubio around will only help him develop while improving on his already impressive stats. Ayton is going around pick 25, which is about right for him. He’s as safe of a pick as you can get in that range.