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Suns’ Slam Dunk Solution: The Game-Changing Trade They Must Make at the 2024 NBA Deadline

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Suns are interested in Miles Bridges, according to sources. He would fill the biggest need for Phoenix at the trade deadline.

The Phoenix Suns are sixth place in the West at the beginning of February, which will consist of the NBA All-Star break.

Phoenix, which is led by Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, is one of the best offensive teams. But the Suns need to shore up defensively to accomplish their championship goals.

ClutchPoints assesses the areas of need for Phoenix.

3-and-D

The Suns’ starting lineup has three guards: Booker; Beal; and Grayson Allen, who is first in the NBA in 3-point percentage (49.8).

The Suns’ starting five with those three, Durant and center Jusuf Nurkic are among the top offensive groups in the NBA. They rank in the 87th percentile of league lineups with at least 15 possessions played in points per 100 possessions (130.3) and in the 94th percentile in effective field-goal percentage.

Unfortunately, the group is undersized. The Suns’ defense has been an issue, particularly late in games. Phoenix is the worst fourth-quarter team by points-per-possession and even on the offensive end, where they are elite most of the games.

ClutchPoints reported the Suns’ interest in Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges and center Nick Richards.

Phoenix is also said to be interested in the Atlanta Hawks’ tradable contracts, as well as the Toronto Raptors.

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Center

Phoenix could also use a center behind Nurkic, who is leading the team in rebounds (10.3) and is among the league leaders in defensive rebound percentage.

Richards, who is averaging 9.6 points and 7.8 rebounds, could fit the bill.

The Hawks and Raptors each have bigs who could help the Suns. Atlanta center Clint Capela is averaging 11.5 points on 57.2 percent shooting — which is No. 12 in the NBA — and 10.5 rebounds.

Capela is viewed as a lob threat, which Nurkic cannot replicate. Phoenix may have to part with Nurkic in order to grab Capela or Raptors center Jakob Poeltl, who is seen as another fit if the Suns trade with the Raptors.

Health concerns

If one of Durant, Booker or Beal goes down, the Suns’ momentum they’ve had will be over.

Phoenix can also say the same about Nurkic since backups Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu and Udoka Azubuike, who is a two-way player, cannot replicate Nurkic’s rebounding or offensive facilitation.

The Suns have been one of the best teams of late. Phoenix is ranked No. 9 in NBA.com’s latest power rankings.

“It’s rather amazing how bad the Suns have been in the last 12 minutes of regulation,” the article says. “They’ve been outscored by 15.7 points per 100 possessions in the fourth period, which would be the worst fourth-quarter mark for any team in the 28 seasons for which we have play-by-play data.

“The fourth-quarter issues are on both ends of the floor, but a little more on offense, where their 103.4 points scored per 100 possessions ranks last in the fourth.”

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Phoenix is not expected to trade for a point guard, so it will have to rely on Booker, Beal and maybe even Durant to bring the ball up the floor.

Nurkic can also handle the ball.

The Suns’ fourth-quarter issues are mental, coach Frank Vogel said. Having a 3-and-D wing who can take pressure away from Booker, Beal and Durant to play heavy minutes would be a significant improvement for the team.

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