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Ranking the Suns top 2023-24 newcomers

© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After making a splash in the free agency and trade markets this offseason, the Phoenix Suns will roll out 10 new players as of right now in the 2023-24 season.

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Let’s rank the newcomers based on who will have the most significant impact on the team’s success this season and examine their potential roles:

1. Bradley Beal (6-4 G)

© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Washington Wizards): 23.2 PPG | 5.4 APG | 3.9 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 2.9 TOV on 50.6/36.5/84.2 splits in 33.5 MPG (50 games/starts)

2023-24 salary: $46.741 million

Bradley Beal is the obvious choice for No. 1 here. Beal was acquired by Phoenix on June 18 and became the third piece of the Suns’ Big 3 for the upcoming season, which also features Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

There have been reports that Beal will be the Suns’ starting point guard this season. Whether Beal plays point guard or shooting guard, him and Booker are arguably the top backcourt in the entire NBA.

Beal has shown to be a pretty good playmaker, as he averaged 5.4 assists last season and a career-high 6.6 the season prior. Beal averages a career 4.3 assists per game.

The three-time All-Star will be crucial to the Suns’ success this season. The main concern with Beal is if he can stay healthy. The 6-foot-4 guard has missed a combined 74 games in the past two seasons.

Many people have brought up that Beal’s defense will be a negative to the Suns overall. Can he prove people wrong and show that he is a capable defender?

Another big question is how he will play off ball with KD and Booker. In the playoffs last season, the duo averaged a combined 62.7 of the team’s 114.2 points in the 11 playoff games with no other player averaging more than 13.4 points.

Beal appears capable of filling this off-ball scoring role to take some of the pressure of Booker and Durant.

All in all, Beal, Booker and Durant now combine to form the most lethal scoring trio in the entire NBA and could help the Suns put up some of the best offensive numbers in NBA history.

Bradley Beal’s Potential Impact

2. Eric Gordon (6-3 G)

© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Houston Rockets/Los Angeles Clippers): 12.4 PPG | 2.7 APG | 1.9 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.5 TOV on 44.6/37.1/82.1 splits in 28.5 MPG (69 games, 58 starts)

2023-24 salary: $3.196 million

Getting the 34-year-old Eric Gordon on a veteran minimum might have been the Suns’ biggest steal this offseason. The 6-foot-3 guard figures to be a crucial sixth man and scorer off the bench.

Gordon should play in a lot of closing lineups for the Suns alongside the Big 3 and Deandre Ayton because of the scoring he offers. He will also fill in the starting lineup if Booker or Beal are injured, which has been a theme over the past couple seasons.

Durant and Gordon are the oldest players on the team. Gordon’s veteran presence and experience helps solidify the Suns’ roster.

Another element to Gordon’s veteran leadership that developed this summer was him teaming up with Ayton on the Bahamas’ national team, establishing chemistry between the two Suns teammates. 

Gordon is the perfect depth piece for the Suns for these reasons. When the Suns played the Clippers in the first round of this year’s playoffs, Gordon averaged 10.2 points and started all five games due to the injury of Paul George.

The spacing that Gordon will provide will do wonders for the Suns’ offensive potential. Much like Beal, the biggest concern with Gordon is his defense.

The question then becomes: if the Suns have Gordon on the floor to close out games will the offensive firepower outweigh the defensive trouble?

In 2017, Gordon won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Could he repeat this achievement with the Suns? 

Eric Gordon: Sixth Man of the Year?

3. Keita Bates-Diop (6-8 F)

© Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK

2022-23 regular season stats (San Antonio Spurs): 9.7 PPG | 3.7 RPG | 1.5 APG | 0.7 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 0.8 TOV on 50.8/39.4/79.3 splits in 21.7 MPG (67 games, 42 starts)

2023-24 salary: $2.346 million

Keita Bates-Diop might not be the Suns’ fifth starter to start the season, but he could find himself in this role as the season goes on.

The 27-year-old Ohio State product drastically improved in all areas with the Spurs last season. After shooting 30.9% from three in 2021-22, Bates-Diop increased his percentage to 39.4% this past season. All of his 2022-23 stats except rebounds were season-highs for the forward.

KBD has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. His 3-and-D ability will be huge for the Suns all season and if he proves to be a reliable catch-and-shoot target, he will definitely assume the fifth starter spot.

In comparison to Josh Okogie, who will likely retain the starting spot to start the season, Bates-Diop brings a similar play style, but is much taller and longer. Okogie stands at 6-foot-4 with a 7-foot wingspan. Okogie’s height alongside Devin Booker and Bradley Beal might cause problems against bigger teams.

Bates-Diop has one of the highest ceilings on the team if he makes the most of his opportunity with the Suns.

BREAKING: Suns to sign Keita Bates-Diop

4. Drew Eubanks (6-10 C)

© Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Portland Trail Blazers): 6.6 PPG | 5.4 RPG | 1.3 APG | 1.3 BPG | 0.5 SPG | 0.9 TOV on 64.1/38.9/66.4 splits in 20.3 MPG (78 games, 28 starts)

2023-24 salary: $2.346 million

The Phoenix Suns lost both of their backup centers in Jock Landale and Bismack Biyombo. To replace them, they brought in Drew Eubanks from the Trailblazers, who was the first reported signing with the team when free agency opened.

The 6-foot-10 Eubanks’ athleticism and efficiency are his strongpoints. Eubanks had the 11th most blocks in the entire NBA last season and was one of the best finishers around the rim, all while only missing four games.

Last season, former head coach Monty Williams benched Ayton during the second round of the playoffs, citing internal reasons. This came after the two were seen in a verbal altercation on the sideline during a December game.

Now that Williams is gone, will Ayton’s poor moments go away under a new defensive-minded coach in Frank Vogel? Vogel is known for developing big men, so he very well could turn Ayton around.

However, if Ayton doesn’t improve, Eubanks is a viable option at the center position either as a backup or a starter.

Eubanks doesn’t offer the deep threat like Landale did, as he only attempted 18 threes last season, but his excellent finishing around the rim and strong rim protection defensively fit perfectly into Vogel’s system.

Eubanks to fill Ayton’s voids at center for the Suns

5. Jordan Goodwin (6-3 G)

© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Washington Wizards): 6.6 PPG | 3.3 RPG | 2.7 APG | 0.9 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 0.9 TOV on 44.8/32.2/76.8 splits in 17.8 MPG (62 games, 7 starts)

2023-24 salary: $1.927 million

The Phoenix Suns cleared the way for new acquisition Jordan Goodwin to be the team’s backup point guard when the organization traded Cam Payne to the Spurs on July 16.

The 24-year-old, who was traded to Phoenix with Beal, is best known for his defense and rebounding even as a smaller guard.

During his in college at Saint Louis, Goodwin was named to First Team All-Atlantic 10 and Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team his junior and senior seasons. He averaged a double-double with rebounds both of those years and broke the all-time Saint Louis steals record during his career.

He went unselected in the 2021 NBA Draft, but signed a three-year contract with the Wizards during the 2022-23 season after impressing for them both in the NBA and during two seasons with their G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

Goodwin grew up having Beal as a mentor, so it was big for him to come over to Phoenix in the trade.

His defense will be a huge boost off the bench, but he does not offer much in terms of scoring offensively, only shooting 32.2% from three last season. This might not matter with the offensive firepower around him, as he has proved that he is a capable playmaker.

Goodwin was on Suns Summer League team this season, but only played in the first game, where he had 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.

If Goodwin just plays his role of a defensive stopper, willing distributor and able to get a bucket when needed, he will be a perfect backup point guard for this Suns team.

Get to know the Suns 2023 Summer League Team

6. Yuta Watanabe (6-8 F)

© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Brooklyn Nets): 5.6 PPG | 2.4 RPG | 0.8 APG | 0.4 SPG | 0.3 BPG | 0.4 TOV on 49.1/44.4/72.3 splits in 16.0 MPG (58 games, 1 start)

2023-24 salary: $2.346 million

Yuta Watanabe has already had an offseason to remember after signing with the Suns and then helping lead Japan to getting a bid for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

The 6-foot-8 Watanabe also has a chance to assume the fifth starting spot or close out games for the Suns.

Watanabe will team up with Kevin Durant once again, his teammate on the Nets. He will provide great spacing for the Suns in the offensive system after shooting a career-high 44.4% last season from deep (10.2% higher than 2021-22).

Watanabe needs to prove that he is not only an elite shooter, but a capable defender as well to see a lot of minutes in Vogel’s system.

That’s not to say he won’t see the floor much, as he will be the first or second forward off the bench in most games solely because of how well he can shoot the ball.

He could provide a similar role to Gordon to the team when he’s in a rhythm.

Watanabe will be a player to watch this upcoming season to see how he fits in the Suns’ system.

Yuta Watanabe helps Japan qualify for the Olympics

7. Bol Bol (7-2 F/C)

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Orlando Magic): 9.1 PPG | 5.8 RPG | 1.0 APG | 1.2 BPG | 0.4 SPG | 1.6 TOV on 54.6/26.5/75.9 splits in 21.5 MPG (70 games, 33 starts)

2023-24 salary: $2.019 million

Bol Bol received a lot of hype when he was traded to the Suns on July 16 and has been featured on Suns’ graphics alongside Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton.

Barring injuries, there is a very small chance the 23-year-old Bol actually cracks the starting lineup with the Suns’ championship aspirations.

Just how Bol fits on this team is one of the Suns’ biggest questions with training camp around the corner. His potential has always been there, and there were a lot glimpses last season of what kind of player he could be.

After an injury-riddled freshman season at Oregon, Bol was selected by Miami with the 44th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He played his first three seasons with Denver, only appearing in 53 games total and averaging under 10 minutes per game in his time with the Nuggets.

He then vastly improved last season with the Magic.

However, Bol still had some questionable moments and his biggest problem last year was his shooting.

He now has a lengthy in shooter in Kevin Durant to mentor him and help him improve his shooting. Bol has only shot 29.3% for three-point range in his career, but has converted on 61.5% of his two-point attempts.

Bol could also develop into a nice rim-protector off the bench behind Ayton. He could have the chance to play his way ahead of Eubanks. However, he also has to compete for minutes with Chimezie Metu. If Bol’s shooting improves, the Suns could play him at the four as well.

Every time he steps on the court, Bol will have eyes on him because of his unique build and skillset. Can it all materialize on a team trying to win a championship?

Is Bol Bol the Answer for the Suns?

8. Toumani Camara (6-8 F)

© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Dayton): 13.9 PPG | 8.6 RPG | 1.7 APG | 1.2 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 2.1 TOV on 54.6/36.3/66.9 splits in 30.0 MPG (30 games, 30 starts)

2023-24 salary: $1.119 million

The 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft, Toumani Camara, comes into a team with title hopes and a chance for him to see minutes as well.

Just a couple days into free agency, the Suns elected to sign Camara to a standard contract rather than a two-way contract, solidifying his role on the team.

The 23-year-old, defensive-minded wing played for Dayton his last two seasons in college after transferring from Georgia. He was a standout on the Suns’ Summer League team in July. 

Camara will join a loaded forward position that features Durant, Bates-Diop, Watanabe and Ish Wainright, with the three latter players having a similar play style to the rookie.

The Suns lost Torrey Craig to free agency this summer, however. Uniquely enough, Camara’s draft comparison was Craig. Could he develop into a Craig-like role for the Suns?

Camara is an experienced college player, so he’s not a raw prospect, which bodes well for the Suns this season. However, he has a lot of potential to unlock and has to prove himself to see significant minutes on this year’s team.

The Suns need all of the spacing and defense they can get with how explosive their offense will be, so if Camara can show that he is capable of doing these things, he could have a role on the team.

Suns fans are excited to see how Camara does after his Summer League performance.

Toumani Camara Shines Despite Suns First Summer League Loss to Bucks

9. Chimezie Metu (6-9 F/C)

© Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Sacramento Kings): 4.9 PPG | 3.0 RPG | 0.6 APG | 0.3 BPG | 0.3 SPG | 0.5 TOV on 58.9/23.7/74.0 splits in 10.4 MPG (66 games, 0 starts)

2023-24 salary: $2.019 million

Chimezie Metu finds himself in a tough spot with all of the Suns’ newcomers. His versatility of being able to play the four or five seems to be the greatest strength of his to find playing time.

Metu, who signed with the Suns on the first day of free agency, brings a lot of athleticism and strength to the court. However, the 26-year-old needs to impress thoroughly to see meaningful playing time.

Standing at 6-foot-9, Metu needs to greatly improve his shot blocking and rim protection especially in Vogel’s system, as he only averaged 0.3 blocks last season.

He also hardly ever shot three-pointers last season, but out of the 38 attempts he did take, he only made nine of them (23.7%).

It will be hard for Metu to find a role on this team, but he is still young and can show significant improvement. His path to playing time seems to be what he can do on the defensive end. He will have good mentors in Ayton and Eubanks for defensive purposes and Durant for his shooting.

Metu saw a lot of winning last season with the Kings, so he knows what it takes to be a good team. How big of a role he ends up having with the Suns remains to be seen.

Phoenix Suns’ Chimezie Metu shines in Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament

10. Udoka Azubuike (6-11 C)

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2022-23 regular season stats (Utah Jazz): 3.5 PPG | 3.3 RPG | 0.3 APG | 0.4 BPG | 0.2 SPG | 0.5 TOV shooting 81.9% from the field (no threes attempted) and 35% from the line in 10.0 MPG (36 games, 4 starts)

2023-24 salary: $559,782 (two-way)

The Suns’ latest signing came on July 31, when the team agreed to a two-way deal with former Jazz center Udoka Azubuike.

The 23-year-old Azubuike is best known for his four collegiate seasons at Kansas (2016-2020). He averaged 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on 74.6% shooting in 87 games played for the Jayhawks.

The center was drafted in the first round in 2020 by the Jazz with the 27th overall pick. He had his best season last year in Utah, shooting an ultra-impressive 81.9% from the field on 72 shots attempted in total.

Azubuike joins a center position that features Ayton, Eubanks and Bol. His efficiency and rim protection could allow him to see some minutes when the Suns’ other bigs are injured or in foul trouble.

Being a two-way player, Azubuike can only suit up for 50 of the Suns’ 82 games as well as not be eligible as a rotation player come playoff time.

Suns Sign Center Udoka Azubuike to a Two-Way Contract

The Full List

Rotation Prediction

How will all of these players fit into the Suns’ rotation come Game One? Here’s my prediction:

PG: Bradley Beal  | Jordan Goodwin | Saben Lee (two-way)

SG: Devin Booker | Eric Gordon | Damion Lee

SF: Josh Okogie | Yuta Watanabe | Ish Wainright

PF: Kevin Durant | Keita Bates-DiopToumani CamaraChimezie Metu 

C: Deandre Ayton | Drew Eubanks | Bol Bol | Udoka Azubuike (two-way)

The Suns still have one two-way spot to fill.

Devin Booker teases orange colorway of Book 1

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Brendan Mau is a Phoenix Suns insider and college sports reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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