After Phoenix Suns’ general manager James Jones traded away former center Deandre Ayton on Sept. 27, it looks like Jusuf Nurkić will be one of the main focal points of the team.
On paper, the players that seem set to start for the Suns include: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, and Nurkic.
But the question is, who starts as the second forward alongside Durant?
When looking at the roster, small forward/shooting guard Josh Okogie jumps off the list as someone who can start right of the jump.
Even though his stats aren’t necessarily the most flashy, his impact on the defensive side of the floor is what keeps him in the lineup.
— Burn City Sports (@BurnCitySports) October 2, 2023
In his five-year career at this point, he has split time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Suns.
As an NBA player, he has averaged 3 total rebounds and about a block a game with 0.9 in 316 career games.
He started 26 out of the 72 games he played for Phoenix last season and averaged 7.3 points.
While his offense may hurt his chances of being a starter, Okogie slotting in as a forward with more opportunities could help the Suns defensively since they need someone who can guard opponents effectively.
If Vogel wants his team to outshoot his opponents, sliding Eric Gordon into the small forward role and playing Durant as a power forward would make sense as well.
Playing in 818 career games, the 34-year-old Gordon brings experience and yet another element offensively to the Suns.
— Brendan Mau (@brendan_mau) October 2, 2023
Averaging 16 points and shooting 37.1% from three, Gordon can shoot the ball from anywhere and will get plenty of looks because of the possible double-team defending by opponents on players like Booker, Durant and Beal.
Last year, he split time with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.
His offense took a dip with averaging 12.4 points, but his three-point-percentage remained the same as his career total and his field goal percentage went up to 44.6%, as his career number in that category is 42.9.
The only downside to Gordon starting is that he has yet to play all 82 games in a season in his 16-year-career.
So if he does become a starter for the Suns, there is a chance that he becomes injured and someone else may take his spot.