June 25, 2024

3 Phoenix Suns who will fall out of the team’s playoff rotation

The Phoenix Suns are going to start tightening their rotation for the playoffs soon, and these three players are not going to make the cut.

The NBA’s regular season somehow only has five Sundays remaining, and the Phoenix Suns are worryingly still in a race to avoid falling into the play-in tournament. Games like the recent victory over the Denver Nuggets make it look like this team could actually crack the top four in the Western Conference, but those performances have not happened often enough this season.

Instead they have had to deal with injuries – with star Devin Booker still sidelined with an ankle injury and missing for Saturday’s loss to the Boston Celtics – which has forced head coach Frank Vogel to work with a stretched deck for portions of the season. Something he rightly deserves a ton of credit for successfully managing.

But with the playoffs now firmly on the horizon – coach Vogel is going to begin shortening his rotation – and some players are not going to make the cut.

There is still time for these three players to work their way off this list – the first individual we are going to look at certainly has the tools to play their part – but doing so will be tough. Outside of their star trio of Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the foursome of Grayson Allen, Jusuf Nurkic, Royce O’Neale and Eric Gordon are going to see most of the time on the court.

Which leaves spot minutes for guys like Bol Bol to come in and be the eighth man in a postseason rotation, although coach Vogel may push that number out to a ninth player depending on the matchup. With injuries also possibly playing a part the door is not all the way closed on these three yet, but their playoff chances are basically non-existent at this point.

3. Josh Okogie

There’s no doubt Josh Okogie might feel aggrieved to find himself on this list. After all, not only has he played more minutes per game this season (17.1) than the other two guys who will appear here, he’s also eighth in minutes across the entire roster. The exact kind of cutoff point where coach Vogel would drop everybody after Okogie.

He’s still only 25-years-old, can defend multiple positions reasonably well, and has played more and is just a more consistent option than Bol. It’s strange that those two are battling it out for possibly the last remaining playoff spot on this roster – they couldn’t be more different as players – but right now Bol is winning that battle.

Coach Vogel appears to now trust him for about 12 minutes a night, and he has found a home as part of jumbo lineups that also feature Durant and Nurkic. By hiding Bol outside the paint on third and fourth option scorers when on the court, the Suns have been able to survive having him out there on the defensive end, while offensively his upside and intriguing skill set trumps that of Okogie.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets

There could be a playoff matchup down the road where Okogie is needed. But he’s not as good at scoring as Allen, O’Neale and even Gordon, while defensively he might be better than some of those players in theory, but the reality is all three have settled into roles well on that end of the court. Okogie does some things well, but nothing at the kind of level that will lead to postseason minutes.

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