Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer admits need for a point guard: A look at 4 options

New Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer admitted that they need to add a point guard this summer.

Phoenxi Suns' Mike Budenholzer
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer held his introductory press conference with media in the desert on Friday.

Roughly a week after officially taking over for the fired Frank Vogel, questions were aplenty for the championship-winning head coach.

Kevin Durant was brought up. The rest of the big three in that of Devin Booker and Bradley Beal were, too.

But one interesting aspect of the Q&A session surrounded the point guard position. Phoenix went without a traditional point last season. It played a role in barely escaping the NBA Play-In Tournament before being swept out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Budenholzer simply said, “we probably need one” when asked by reporters about adding a point guard to the mix this summer.

Booker primarily handled point guard duties when he was on the court this past season. Durant played the role of point forward at times. But in today’s NBA, you need that traditional “quarterback” on offense.

At issue here for Phoenix is that it has very little to offer up in a trade for a point guard. That includes a mere two second-round picks over the next five NBA Drafts. It also can’t bring any free agent in that’s going to earn more than the veteran minimum. There is a lot of work for general manager James Jones and Co. to do on that end.

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Phoenix Suns point guard options during NBA offseason

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a premature playoff exit this past season, the Suns have to be seen as an attractive destination for veteran free agents. Any number of players at this position could help round out the roster.

This might afford the Suns an ability to get a starter on the cheap. Given that Budenholzer is widely respected around the league, and this is magnified further. Here’s a look at four options in free agency and the NBA trade market for Phoenix.

  • Tyus Jones: The 28-year-old Jones is as underrated as they come from the point guard position. He’s also what the Suns need from a ball distribution standpoint running things. The former first-round pick from Duke averaged a robust 7.3 assists per game while shooting a solid 41% from three-point range in Washington last season. The question here is whether the market will dictate a larger deal than what Phoenix can offer.
  • Monte Morris: This veteran has been a backup for pretty much his entire career. He also didn’t do much between the Pistons and Timberwolves in 2023-24 (5.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 41% shooting). With that said, the Suns are going to be in a difficult position adding a true starter to the mix. Back in 2022-23 with Washington, Morris did average 10.3 points and 5.3 assists on 48% shooting in a full-time starting role.

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  • Russell Westbrook: Russ and Kevin Durant teaming up again? It really could happen. At this point in his career, Westbrook needs to go ring chasing rather than accepting a larger deal from a non-contending team. Despite his overall downtick in play, Westbrook is still among the best passers in the game. He’s averaging 6.1 assists per game over the past two seasons.
  • T.J. McConnell: Perhaps the biggest trade chip Phoenix has right now is sharp-shooting guard Grayson Allen. It might be hard to move off someone who nailed a league-best 46% of his three-point attempts last season. But if you’re going to get value, you need to give some up. McConnell, 31, is averaging 5.1 assists per game throughout his career. He’s the definition of a floor general. In this scenario, the Phoenix Suns also pick up more depth in a trade with the Indiana Pacers to make the salaries work. That would include bringing in big man Isaiah Jackson.
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