The Phoenix Suns will be young this season. Younger than they have been in a very long time. But historically young? No. Young compared to the youngest teams in the NBA? Not really.

After drafting Alex Len (20) and Archie Goodwin (19), acquiring Eric Bledsoe (23) and trading away veterans from last season's rotations ranging in age from Jared Dudley (27) to Luis Scola (32), while also letting 34-year old Jermaine O'Neal walk away, you'd think the Suns got a lot younger this season.

The numbers agree, but not as dramatically as you might think.


After Friday's 5-player trade, and not counting the injured Emeka Okafor, the Phoenix Suns return only four players from last season's rotation: P.J. Tucker (now 28), Goran Dragic (27), Markief Morris (24) and Marcus Morris (24).

Every other player on the current 14-man roster was acquired this summer by incumbent President of Basketball Ops Lon Babby and new GM Ryan McDonough. That's 10 new faces, start to finish. Some were only here in spirit: Caron Butler (32) and Malcolm Lee (23).

  • The average age of last March's playing rotation: 26.1
  • The average age of players traded/released by McDonough this summer: 27.7
  • The average age of players acquired by McDonough this summer: 24.7

Projecting November's rotation

Based on final preseason games, the following rotation will likely play out in November (barring any more trades). The rotation excludes Emeka Okafor (neck) and only goes 11 men deep, despite a 14-man roster. Coach Hornacek said it's ideal to play no more than nine men a night, but that this roster would have to go further because of where they are. I went 11.


*the formula is quite simple. You just multiply the player's age by the projected minutes, then divide the totals

November's playing rotation will likely be about 25 years old. It's possible that some minutes are off, in fact it's highly likely. But the players are right, and their age is their age. So, the final number for November won't be materially different. Alex Len and Archie Goodwin won't start the season on big minutes, while veterans like Frye and Tucker will take the load.

How does that compare to the rest of the league? That's what I'm here to tell you.

Rotation Age last March

In the spring, I did a whole analysis of the every team's true rotation age using March 2013 stats.


Just how young were the March 2013 Suns?

The 2013 Suns playing rotation was old by lottery standards

That analysis resulted in the following conclusion: even at 26.1 years old, the Suns playing rotation was second-oldest amongst lottery teams. Only Dallas was older. Even worse, three playoff teams were younger than the Suns, and that's not a good thing at all.

But look at the average age of last spring's lottery teams. The current Suns rotation of 25.2 years old, if applied to last year, would still only rank 10th youngest. Out of 14 lottery teams.

Now, of course, as lottery teams settle into the basement of the league, they start playing younger players. The Suns most likely will be playing Alex Len and Archie Goodwin much bigger minutes next March than they will this fall.

The current Suns rotation, if applied to last year, would still only rank 10th youngest in league

But even then, the Suns can't get much younger in a 10-man rotation. With only three players under 24 years old going into the season - Bledsoe, Goodwin and Len - the Suns would be hard-pressed to play the league's youngest rotation. In fact, it would be next to impossible, barring more than trades of veterans for youth.

Historically young

Still, this team is historically young by Suns standards. You'd have to go back 10 years, to the 2003-04 season to get a younger Suns rotation. Of players who logged more than 1,000 minutes that season, the oldest was Stephon Marbury (26) who was traded after only 34 games.

The March 2004 rotation - a team that finished 29-53 - included Shawn Marion (25), Joe Johnson (22), Amare Stoudemire (21) Leandro Barbosa (21), Casey Jacobsen (22) and Jake Voskuhl (26). Jahidi White (27) played spot minutes, and Antonio McDyess (29) played some at the end of the year while coming back from major knee issues.

That was a young group, to be sure. And as we all know, that group formed the core of the resurgent teams of the mid-2000s.

The age of the 2004-05 Western Conference Finalists skyrocketed with the inclusion of Steve Nash (30), Jim Jackson (34), along with Walter McCarty (30), Bo Outlaw (33) and Paul Shirley (27), while the young core got a year older.

Youth is relative

Yes, this is a young Suns team. But youth is relative. It's younger than any Suns team in 10 years.

But next year's team - buffeted by more draft picks - will be younger still. And hopefully, more successful.

More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

Join us at 6 p.m. MST as we chat about the Suns’ trade of Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards. And feel free to ask us any questions about the Suns.

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

In the last two days, the Phoenix Suns released James Nunnally and traded away Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Marcin Gortat.

At this point, the Suns apparently just want to take a breath and make some simple decisions. None of the Morrii or Plumlee will be cut loose after the season the way they were about to cut loose Kendall Marshall if he had not been included in the Gortat trade (instead, Washington did the cutting after absorbing his 2013-14 salary - win!).


Miles Plumlee, making only just over a million this year and next, is projected to play big minutes this season while rookie Alex Len recovers from ankle surgeries. Already, Len is in question to start the season due to soreness in the left ankle (according to Paul Coro on twitter after morning practice). Len had not played any basketball for six months, but jumped right into regular minutes in preseason and stands as the team's leading preseason rebounder (since Gortat was traded). The Suns want to take it really slow on Len.

With Frye and Okafor (just over from Washington) unready to play big minutes, Plumlee and second-year player Viacheslav Kravtsov are the only completely healthy centers on the roster. Frye will play, but likely can't handle more than 20-25 minutes per game and will play some PF as well. Okafor has a herniated disc in his neck and is out indefinitely.

Plumlee has shown great energy this preseason and has been touted as the team's biggest surprise. We shall see if he can hold up to playing the league's best centers.

The Morrii

The Suns also decided that twins Markieff and Marcus Morris have played well enough in the NBA to earn just about $3 million next year after making just over $2 million this season. They have shown an ability to play in an NBA rotation, and were "ranked" in ESPN's #NBARank in the mid-200s, meaning they rank as 8th-9th men in any NBA rotation. This means the 24-year old Morrii can play, but also that they have trade value if necessary.

The Morrii worked hard this offseason to get into the best shape of their careers. Marcus played very well in summer league, while Markieff has played well in the preseason. Marcus has shown the best 3-point stroke, while Markieff is spending a good deal of time in the paint now to take advantage of his size and quickness.

Each Morris brother, taken one spot apart in the 2011 draft, will make about $2 million this season and $3 million next season.

Dionte Christmas

Exclusive Christmas Interview

Christmas has mad respect for McDonough

Dionte Christmas is a great kid who's been trying to make the league for years. He first came out of college as a shooter only, but has since really improved his game to the point that he can make an NBA roster. And thanks to the Suns, that dream has come true.


More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

A day after finishing their offseason trading spree for assets, the Phoenix Suns checked off another item on their offseason to-do list by picking up the 2014-15 team options on the rookie contracts...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

I'll tell you one thing. The NBA has no respect for deadlines or drafts as made apparent by the Phoenix Suns trading their entire roster yesterday and turning #SUNSRANK on its ears!

With the trades of Marcin Gortat, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown, and Malcolm Lee to the Washington Wizards this is a much different looking team than it was just 24 hours ago.

The initial rankings had five young roster hopefuls that had virtually no chance of making the roster, or at least three fifths of them, but now the roster stands at 14 and they can all call Phoenix home. The game is the game so naturally, the rankings move on.

Let's get to it.


25-21 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1


No. 20: Shannon Brown (20.0)

Profile: 6-4 210 lbs. Shooting Guard -- Eighth Year Michigan State

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 10.3 MPG 3.0 PPG 1.3 APG 1.3 RPG 37.5% FG 33.3% 3PT (2-6)

Interesting Fact: Appeared in Nelly's "Just a Dream" music video... At the 3:15 mark, Brown has a drive-by moment.

Profile: Many people want to #letShannonfly but I'm not one of them. I just don't like dribble tantrums, and Brown can't help himself. His dribbles always end up in a contested shot for himself instead of a pass to a teammate in scoring position after he draws the defense's attention. I like Shannon personally, and he definitely got screwed last season, but I just really wish he'd go somewhere else to play basketball. He can be a key reserve on a good team, but suffers from overexposure on a struggling team. If it's a question of Shannon Brown or Archie Goodwin, I'd say Goodwin every day of the week and twice on Sundays. - Dave King

Important Question: Can Shannon catch-and-shoot without dribble tantrums first?

(Editors Note: Brown was traded to the Washington Wizards and waived on 10/25)

No. 19: Gerald Green (19.0)

Profile: 6-8 210 lbs. Small Forward -- Seventh Year High School

Stats: (Pre-Season) in 12.4 MPG 2.8 PPG 2.5 APG 1.8 RPG (0 total steals) 27.8% FG 20.0% 3PT (1-5)

Interesting Fact: He will forever be know as the last ever first round pick that jumped from high school directly to the NBA...

Analysis: Tasked with giving my thoughts on Gerald, my first thought was that I didn't have any.  Upon deeper reflection I decided that I hope Green is basically irrelevant, which is very probable, because if he plays a significant role that will mean he's producing and if he's producing he's helping the Suns win games... which is bad.  Green turns 28 halfway through the season and is a six year NBA veteran who also spent two years in Russia - every NBA player's dream destination.  He started more games in 2006-07 (26) then he did in his other five combined (24).  The two players he is most similar to through his career to date are Darvin Ham and Cliff Meely.  The best case scenario is that Green rattles a few rims with electrifying dunks in the brief intervals he isn't affixed to the bench. - Jim Coughenour

Important Question: Does Green become the new Shannon Brown? #letGreenFLY

No. 18: Miles Plumlee (16.0)

Profile: 6-11 255 lbs. Center -- Second Year Duke

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 18.6 MPG 6.4 PPG 4.6 RPG 1.14 BPG 51.4% FG

Interesting Fact: Do you think you have a family trade? Miles' father, mother, both brothers, grandfather, and two uncles played basketball at the college level, minimum.

Analysis: I ranked Plumlee lower than all of my esteemed colleagues. There is no doubting Plumlee's athleticism and motor; however, I have never been impressed with his basketball ability, even back in his college days at Duke. I was one of the many laughing at Indiana when they drafted him with their first round pick, and I was proven right at least in the first year as Plumlee coudn't even get on the floor for the Pacers. I see Plumlee as a fringe NBA player; a Lou Amundson type that can be effective at times but overall really doesn't have much of an effect on a team. He'll make the team and get some minutes, but I don't think he has a long-term future in the Valley of the Sun. - Jacob Padilla

Important Question: How long will this older brother last with the Suns?

No. 17: Kendall Marshall (15.0)

Profile: 6-4 195 lbs. Point Guard -- Second Year North Carolina

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 10.4 MPG 3.0 PPG 2.0 APG 46.2% FG 42.9% 3PT (3-7)

Interesting Fact: Kendall has already found another job! Don't believe me?

Analysis: So I get to cheat as I am writing this after the trade, but in these rankings I was higher on Marshall than the rest of the staff, but not by much. He has been the most talked about Sun since 2012, not always in a positive way, and is now free to find a situation that better suits his skill-set. If the Suns were to have kept Marshall he would be the third point guard at best, without him, the dynamic does not change. He was not going to move the needle regardless. Now the Suns are down to three Team Options for their rookie scale players. On the most recent podcast both Jim and I predicted Marshall would be on the outs this year, not get his option picked up, and have a new team before the trade deadline. All of which happened 24hrs after the podcast aired.

Important Question: Over/Under 0.5 total NBA minutes played for Marshall this year?

(Editors Note: Brown was traded to the Washington Wizards and waived on 10/25)

No. 16: Markieff Morris (14.0)

Profile: 6-10 245 lbs. Power Forward -- Third Year Kansas

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 20.7 MPG 8.9 PPG 5.1 RPG 49.1% FG 66.7% 3PT (2-3)

Interesting Fact: Markieff was born seven minutes before his twin brother and draft about that many minutes before his "little" brother. Big brother problems.

Analysis: I've been fairly critical of Kieff for the past few years...but it's mostly because of what I believe he could turn into if he just set his mind to it.   Keiff was drafted to be an enforcer of sorts, a hard-nosed defender as well as a rebounder and an inside scoring threat.  Kieff possesses all of the qualities to be just that, but somehow modeled himself more after Channing Frye.  But unlike Channing, Kieff doesn't possess the natural three-point shooting ability, which hampers his efficiency on the court.  At times we see flashes of what he can bring, like his 12 point, 10 rebound performance against the Nuggets in the final preseason game.  If he could find his true identity as a big man and play like that consistently, he could be a part of the future with this organization. - Sean Sullivan

Important Question: Can Markieff maintain the discipline and efficiency he showed in the pre-season from three-point range?

Come back tomorrow for 15-11 in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!


Write-In Ballot: Sports Media (Sean)

Profile: Arizona Sports 620, The Arizona Republic, and other outlets will try to keep the fan-base happy, engaged, and excited through 82 rough games.

Stats: Millions of words written to say the same thing, in a different way, but not really.

Interesting Fact: There has been more turnover on the Suns roster than in the Al McCoy Media Room. Phoenix, where loyalty gets you 20-25 wins!

Analysis: Guys like Paul Coro and our outstanding staff here at Bright Side of the Sun will continue to be an important part of the Suns this season as they cover the team and help spread the latest news about the inner workings of the organization, as well as analyze the various moves or changes that will inevitably take place along the way.  This coverage helps forge a connection between the team and the fans, by keeping the very people who support the team interested and invested in them.

Important Question: Two Parter: Does Coro get his suits at the same place as Jeff Hornacek? And, is that a good thing for Coro or an insult to Coach?

More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

Page 1074 of 2176


Web Links

Sponsored Ads