The Phoenix Suns return almost all of their players from the roster that made a push to the 2021 NBA Finals.
The two exceptions: reserve guard Jevon Carter was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Landry Shamet, while Dario Saric is out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL in Game 1 of the Finals.
Phoenix opens the 2021-22 season on Wednesday, Oct. 20, when it hosts the Denver Nuggets at the Footprint Center.
|PG||Chris Paul||Cameron Payne||Elfrid Payton|
|SG||Devin Booker||Landry Shamet|
|SF||Mikal Bridges||Cameron Johnson||Abdel Nader|
|PF||Jae Crowder||Jalen Smith||Chandler Hutchison||Dario Saric*|
|C||Deandre Ayton||Frank Kaminsky||JaVale McGee|
* Saric suffered a torn ACL during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He is out indefinitely.
Key additions and subtractions
The Suns didn't see much roster overturn from their 2020-21 season, but there were a few transactions.
Phoenix traded Jevon Carter and the No. 29 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft (Cam Thomas) to the Brooklyn Nets for Landry Shamet.
The Suns re-signed Chris Paul, Cameron Payne and Abdel Nader in free agency, while adding some bench depth with players like JaVale McGee, Elfrid Payton and Chandler Hutchison (two-way contract).
The Suns will more than likely go with the same starting five that took this team to the NBA Finals a season ago, but there are some battles to be had for playing time off the bench.
Cameron Payne solidified himself as the first guard off the bench with an impressive playoff run last season, but after bringing in both Landry Shamet and Elfrid Payton this offseason, that duo will have to fight for the second reserve guard spot.
With Dario Saric out indefinitely with a torn ACL, that opens up some playing time for other forwards and centers on the Suns' roster. Third-year forward Cameron Johnson will certainly be the first forward off the bench, but who will head coach Monty Williams go to after that?
Abdel Nader filled some of those minutes in the playoffs and was re-signed this offseason, but former No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Jalen Smith made a strong case for more playing time with an impressive Summer League performance, averaging a double-double while leading the league in rebounds.
There's also a battle for Deandre Ayton's backup, as both Frank Kaminsky and JaVale McGee will fight for the role as first center off the bench.
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