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Phoenix Suns fantasy basketball season recap

Previous team recaps: DETWASPORCHASASTORMEMUTABKNATLCHIHOU, SAC, GSW, MIA, PHI, ORL, LAL, IND, CLE

At a Glance:

Record: 49-33 (6th, West)

Offensive Rating: 116.8 (10th)

Defensive Rating: 113.7 (13th)

Net Rating: 3.1 (8th)

Pace: 99.00 (15th)

2024 NBA Draft Picks: 22

With the opportunity to have Kevin Durant and Devin Booker go through an entire preseason together and the offseason addition of Bradley Beal, many expected the Phoenix Suns to be a title contender in 2023-24. However, there were some significant questions to be answered, most notably the team's lack of a bonafide point guard after the departures of Chris Paul and Cameron Payne. Add in Beal's inability to remain healthy, and Phoenix's 2023-24 season was a disappointment that ended with a first-round sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Fantasy-wise, four Suns finished the regular season as top 75 players in 9-cat formats, but one (Beal) was limited to 53 games. Durant and Booker did, based on their respective Yahoo ADPs, what was expected, while Grayson Allen was a major surprise. Add in starting center Jusuf Nurkic, and five Suns were 10th-round players or better in 2023-24.

The starting lineup is locked in for the 2024-25 season as far as their contracts are concerned, but the bench is very much in flux. Four players have player options, including valuable reserves Eric Gordon and Drew Eubanks, while Royce O'Neale will be an unrestricted free agent. With the West projected to be even stronger next season, Phoenix's task of contending for a title under new head coach Mike Budenholzer will be more complex, and there isn't much financial room to improve the roster.

Fantasy Standout: Kevin Durant

With Durant being the lone Suns player to provide first-round per-game value in 8- and 9-cat formats, this was an easy choice. After injuries limited him to 47 games between the Nets and Suns in 2022-23, KD made 75 regular-season appearances for Phoenix in 2023-24. Earning second-team All-NBA honors, Durant averaged 27.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 2.2 3-pointers in 37.2 minutes per game, shooting 52.3% from the field and 85.6% from the foul line.

With Beal limited to three games, November was Durant's most productive month scoring-wise, as he averaged 32.7 points per game on 52.0% shooting. The 75 games are the most he's played in since 2018-19, his last with the Warriors. Durant ruptured his Achilles during the NBA Finals that season and played no more than 55 games in any of the following three seasons. While the 35-year-old future Hall of Fame forward (Durant turns 36 in late September) has more seasons behind him than ahead, it's clear that there's still excellent fantasy value to be had.

Fantasy Revelation: Grayson Allen

Off the radar in most fantasy leagues before the season began, it's fair to say that expectations were low for Allen. A double-digit scorer in the previous three seasons, the 2018 first-round pick was at his best in 2023-24. Starting 74 of the 75 games he appeared in, Allen averaged 13.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.7 3-pointers in 33.5 minutes, shooting 49.9% from the field and 87.8% from the foul line. Making a league-best 46.1% of his 3-point attempts, Allen was only a few free-throw percentage points away from becoming the tenth 50/40/90 player in NBA history.

Proving to be an essential starter next to elite scorers Booker, Beal, and Durant, Allen agreed to a five-year extension with the Suns on April 15. He finished this season ranked just inside the top 60 in 9-cat, per-game value and just outside the top 75 in 8-cat, according to Basketball Monster. Expecting him to duplicate that production in 2024-25 may be a bit much, especially if Phoenix adds a legitimate point guard to the roster. However, Allen is in a position where he needs to be selected in standard league drafts, which was not the case last fall.

Fantasy Disappointment: Bradley Beal

Beal's selection isn't about production but rather availability. While he did appear in 53 regular season games in his Suns debut, the three-time All-Star missed at least five straight games on four separate occasions in 2023-24. A top 75 player in 9-cat formats, Beal averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 1.9 3-pointers in 33.3 minutes per game, shooting 51.3% from the field and 81.3% from the foul line. Remove the 2.5 turnovers per game, and he was close to a top-50 player in 8-cat formats. If managers who had Beal rostered managed to survive his absences, he proved to be a solid option down the stretch.

After returning from injury on March 2, he did not miss another game, averaging 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.3 3-pointers in 34.2 minutes. And Beal was efficient during this 23-game run, shooting 53.8% from the field, 52.0% from three, and 88.9% from the foul line. At the same time, the Yahoo ADP (60.6) suffered due to his joining a lineup that already boasted two elite scorers. Beal's capable of offering top-50 value when healthy, if not better. The only disappointing aspect of his first year in Phoenix was the injuries, and he's only hit the 60-game mark once in the last five seasons.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads

Devin Booker:

After injuries limited him to 53 games in 2022-23, Booker's availability improved this season. Making 68 appearances, he averaged 27.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, a career-high 6.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.2 3-pointers in 36.0 minutes, shooting 49.2% from the field and 88.6% from the foul line. That production was good for top 20 per-game value in 8- and 9-cat formats, aligning with Booker's Yahoo ADP (15.9). According to Cleaning the Glass, Booker played 91% of his minutes at point guard. While his effective field goal percentage was higher when he played the point instead of shooting guard, Book's points per 100 possessions and turnover percentage numbers were noticeably better when he was at the two.

Booker's fantasy prospects for 2024-25 would be most impacted by how the Suns address roster deficiencies, specifically at point guard. If a proven option at the position is not added, and the Suns are limited in both draft assets and cap space, Booker's assist production could hold steady after a career year in that category. Fantasy managers should go into drafts expecting another top-20 season from the Suns guard.

Jusuf Nurkic:

The ability to acquire Nurkic was one reason Phoenix looked to get involved in the three-team trade with Milwaukee and Portland that Damian Lillard headlined. The 7-footer from Bosnia and Herzegovina is a better supplementary playmaker than Deandre Ayton, and Phoenix's lack of a proven point guard gave Nurk's value a slight boost. However, despite matching his career-high with an average of 4.0 assists per game, he finished the season ranked outside the top 100 in 9-cat formats.

The decreased scoring had a lot to do with that, as Nurkic's average of 10.9 points per game was his lowest since the 2016-17 season, which he split between Denver and Portland. Productive as a rebounder, passer, and defender, Nurkic provided top 100 per-game value in 8-cat formats. While he isn't a center who must be selected with a top-100 pick, Nurk should not be on boards long after that point in drafts. The issue is that playing in a lineup with three elite scorers lowers Nurkic's ceiling considerably, even with the rebounding and assist production being what it is.

Royce O'Neale:

O'Neale began this season with the Nets, who acquired him from the Jazz in June 2022. Along with David Roddy, he was traded to Phoenix in February as part of a three-team transaction between the Nets, Suns, and Grizzlies. Overall, O'Neale appeared in 79 games, averaging 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.0 3-pointers in 24.7 minutes, shooting 39.7% from the field and 68.6% from the foul line. Most valuable as a 3-and-D wing, O'Neale finished the season ranked outside the top 150 in 8- and 9-cat formats, but he was just outside the top 100 in totals. O'Neale has played at least 71 games in the last six seasons, so the availability will keep him on the radar in deeper leagues. However, his value for 2024-25 will be dictated by where he lands in free agency. O'Neale should not lack for suitors among teams with postseason ambitions.

Eric Gordon:

Gordon joined the Suns on a two-year deal last offseason, holding a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. While availability had been an issue for the veteran guard in seasons past, he did appear in 68 games for the Suns, starting 24. In 27.8 minutes per game, Gordon averaged 11.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.2 3-pointers, shooting 44.3% from the field and 79.7% from the foul line. He did not reach his Yahoo ADP (139.5) in 8- or 9-cat formats, failing to crack the top 150. Gordon is unlikely to be worth taking a late flier on in standard leagues, depending on what he decides with his player option. Still, he'll be worthy of consideration in deeper formats.

Drew Eubanks:

Eubanks was another veteran the Suns signed on a 1-plus-1 contract last offseason, stepping into the backup center role. Appearing in 75 games (six starts), the 6-foot-9 center averaged 5.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 15.6 minutes, shooting 60.1% from the field and 77.4% from the foul line. While it may have been assumed that Eubanks would offer reputable streaming value in his six starts, that was not the case, as he averaged 4.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks on those occasions. He'll be in a similar position next season if he picks up the player option, as starting center Jusuf Nurkic remains under contract. And a move elsewhere would only impact Eubanks' fantasy value if he were allowed to compete for a starting role.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Royce O'Neale, Bol Bol, Isaiah Thomas, Thaddeus Young, Udoka Azubuike

Restricted Free Agents: Saben Lee, Ishmail Wainright

Player Options: Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie, Damion Lee, Drew Eubanks