Good News: Phoenix Suns trade target helps team advance to in-season tournament final……

The Phoenix Suns did not participate in this season’s first NBA Final Four tournament in Las Vegas after being eliminated in controversial circumstances by the Los Angeles Lakers.

While the loss was tough to take, it was made worse by the fact that the Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinals and are now just one game away from winning the trophy. Not that this tournament was the goalOn the other side of the bracket, the Indiana Pacers provided the underdog story for Lakers and LeBron James stars all the way to the Finals. Tyrese Haliburton – a player the Suns could have signed – was incredible, and the Pacers beat the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks en route to a date with the Lakers.One player who played a small role in the team’s success during this stretch was point guard T.J. McConnell, someone the Suns have a long association with. In Las Vegas, McConnell came off the bench as the spark plug and provided nine points and four assists in eleven minutes of action against the Bucks. He was his team’s 10th man when coach Rick Carlisle expanded his rotation, but he didn’t disappoint in the limited series he received. In fact, his four assists were second only to Haliburton’s incredible 15, while his 11 points were the fifth best on the team, eclipsing all other players who started off the bench, including starter Bruce Brown, who finished with 10 points. This performance was the only positive thing about McConnell, a player who has obvious flaws but who also clearly enjoys trust from the Pacers coaching staff.Basically, he’s everything the Suns would like to have behind Devin Booker, especially since Booker has been in and out of the lineup all season due to multiple injuries. McConnell definitely shouldn’t start in Indiana and wouldn’t even play in The Valley, but he’s exactly the kind of player who can give you something in a big game. These tournament games the Pacers participated in were the highest stakes games they have played since current Suns coach Frank Vogel led the team. That speaks not only to the Pacers’ trajectory in the time since Vogel left, but also to the success the regular season tournament has had in creating drama and tension. So if the Pacers feel comfortable giving the ball to McConnell for periods of a game against a team at the Bucks’ level, it really shows that he has something to offer a true contender. Which the Pacers aren’t quite yet – although they will be if Haliburton continues this rise – but the Suns believe they are now. Last season they had Cameron Payne, now with the Bucks, running the show as a backup, and the results were what you’d expect. Payne did his best, but he’s not as annoying as McConnell on defense, nor is he the calm guy who’s used to finding the right players to make plays at the right time. In the quarterfinal victory over the Celtics, McConnell didn’t have quite the same impact with two points and three assists in nine minutes of play. But he still had a nine-man rotation in this occasion (playing the eighth most minutes) and had the third most assists among all members of his team in this appearance. However, there’s more to the 31-year-old than just numbers, and there’s a reason he’s been repeatedly linked to the Suns. He’s an affordable veteran who wouldn’t hurt the team in big games – provided he’s used the same way he is currently – and who could steer the ship while players as Booker and Bradley Beal were on the bench, or worse, injured. Unfortunately for the Suns, given the makeup of their roster and cap sheet at this point, it would likely mean moving Grayson Allen to get McConnell. That’s not a good idea considering how important Allen has been to the Suns so far this season. With these performances and the fact that he plays a role on a good Pacers team, it hasn’t hurt McConnell’s stock lately.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.