Too much time looking at the Suns can be dangerous, particularly of late, but azcentral pays Scott Bordow (@sbordow) to do it. Between entries in his personal travel diary, Scott will answer the best of your recent questions every Tuesday and offer a breakdown at the top and bottom of the NBA standings.
NBA DRAFT: Which picks do the Suns have now?
The Suns had the toughest schedule last week and it showed, as Phoenix lost all four of them (and 10 of their last 11). They won’t lose as many games this week, thanks to the All-Star break.
Kings (17-38) This week: Tues. at Mavs, Wed. at Rockets
Suns (18-40) This week: Wed. at Utah
Mavericks (18-39) This week: Tues. vs. Kings
Hawks (18-39) This week: Tues. at Bucks, Wed. at Pistons
Magic (18-38) This week: Wed. vs. Hornets
Grizzlies (18-37) This week: Wed. vs. Thunder
SUNS SCHEDULE: The All-Star break draws mercifully near for Suns
Three questions on the Suns
Is Elfrid Payton the long-term answer at point guard?
That’s what the Suns hope to find out the final 24 games of the season. There’s no question Payton is an upgrade over the other true point guards on the roster but he’ll be a restricted free agent after the season and Phoenix has to determine if he’s worth more than $10 million a year. The Suns’ decision also will be influenced by what they do in the draft. If they take a point guard – say Luka Doncic or Trae Young – it’s unlikely they would spend that kind of money to keep Payton.
If the Suns have the No. 1 pick who will they take?
Phoenix loves Doncic, as do some analysts who consider him to be the best prospect ever to come out of Europe. But they also have to be enticed by the prospect of getting potentially a dominant young big man, Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton. At this point I’d go with Doncic but again, how Payton plays these final two months could have an impact.
Why has Alex Len’s playing time decreased?
Two reasons. First, Len has not played as well as he did the first two months of the season. Through Dec. 20 he was averaging 9.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Since then, 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. Second, Len will be an unrestricted free agent after the season so there’s a good chance he won’t be with Phoenix in 2018-19. Given that, it makes sense for interim coach Jay Triano to experiment with Dragan Bender at center to see if that may be his natural position in the future.
NBA POWER RANKINGS: How bad are the Phoenix Suns?
Suns coach Jay Triano talks about how Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained to him why he was having his players coach against the Suns on Monday.
Around the NBA
The Warriors are so bored with the NBA season that Golden State’s players called their own plays against the Suns on Monday night. Predictably, this did not go well for the Suns, who lost 129-83. Games to circle in this short week: Rockets at Timberwolves and Cavaliers at Thunder, both on Tuesday night.
NBA Finals contenders: (*odds to win title as of Monday)
Warriors (10/17) This week: Wed. at Trail Blazers
Rockets (5/1) This week: Tues. at Timberwolves, Wed. vs. Kings
Celtics (12/1) This week: Wed. vs Clippers
Cavaliers (5/1) This week: Tues. at Thunder
Raptors (12/1) This week: Tues. vs. Heat, Wed. at Bulls
Nice-but-no-real-shot at NBA finals:
Spurs (25/1) This week: Tues. at Nuggets
Timberwolves (33/1) This week: Tues. vs. Rockets, Thurs. vs. Lakers
Wizards (66/1) This week: Wed. at Knicks
Thunder (25/1) This week: Tues. vs. Cavs, Wed. at Grizzlies