Phoenix Suns lack of third scorer painfully evident early on

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Phoenix Suns lack of third scorer painfully evident early on

Granted, we’re two games into the Phoenix Suns 2022-23 season. But this was always going to be the issue — the Suns lack of scoring outside superstar Devin Booker and big man Deandre Ayton.

Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are averaging a combined 52.5 points through two games, making up for nearly half of all Phoenix Suns scoring.

The lack of a genuine third scorer can be mitigated by even production from players three through ten in the rotation, but that’s simply not the case when it comes to the Suns. Phoenix are 25th in bench scoring and 21st in bench plus-minus, numbers that while difficult to assess given the small sample size, aren’t overly surprising to those who’ve examined this team since free agency.

What wasn’t factored was a major decline in Chris Paul’s scoring, even if the final games of the playoffs were a telltale sign. A foreseeable expectation would have seen Paul averaging 13-14 points (still a career low), yet his output’s been halved to eight points over two games.

Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul battles Anfernee Simons. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Given the Suns bench issues, all five starters simply need to be in double figures as they were last season. Ideally, one of Bridges and/or Cameron Johnson elevate to 15-point per game scorers. The top contenders all have a mix of high level scorers and ancillary pieces who provide consistent production.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are each averaging over 25 points per game, while the Boston Celtics also have three others in double figures. The Milwaukee Bucks have scorers in double-digits, with their second-best scorer, Khris Middleton, sidelined by injury. The Golden State Warriors have three players averaging above 17 points per game, and the Los Angeles Clippers are showcasing their depth with seven players above ten points.

Phoenix have internal improvement from Paul, Bridges and Johnson, all of whom should increase their current scoring outputs. But this roster needs some creativity from somewhere else, fans waiting with bated breath for a trade to be forthcoming. For now, being ranked 25th in offensive rate certainly isn’t the recipe towards success.

Valley of the Suns

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