Ranking the Utah Jazz bench among next season’s best

Utah Jazz (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Dario Saric (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

2. Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns, on paper, don’t have the multitude of offensive weapons on their second unit that some of the teams listed may. Nonetheless, this team’s second unit ranked first in the NBA last season in box plus/minus at 1.9. A great deal of this success rests on the shoulders of the man they call Super Dario.

Lineups with Dario Saric in place of Deandre Ayton torched opponents to the tune of 119.0 points per 100 possessions, which landed them in the 89th percentile across the NBA according to CleaningtheGlass. They also shot an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 57.4%, good for the 91st percentile.

In other, more succinct words: the Phoenix Suns were very good with Dario Saric playing the 5.

Arguably, we’re cheating by crediting the Suns’ entire second unit for the success of Saric + starters lineups, only the Suns boast several quality players in the ranks of their bench. They’ll be heavily invested in the development of soon-to-be third year forward Cameron Johnson. If he can replicate the 44.6% accuracy from three-point range he provided the Suns in 2020-21 across an entire season, he’ll have an opportunity to make a major impact.

Another key acquisition for the Suns this offseason also points in the direction of a potential logjam. Landry Shamet is a sharpshooting third year guard whose career 39.7% three-point accuracy on 5.3 attempts per game bodes well for the Suns. On the other hand, this squad also rosters veteran off-guards E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway and scoring point guard Cameron Payne. Furthermore, they lost 3-and-D wing Torrey Craig this offseason.

At face value, Shamet-for-Craig is a roughly lateral move, but with a surplus of guards and a dearth of wings on this second unit, the Phoenix Suns may need to make some additional moves to claim a bench as thorough and talented as that of the Utah Jazz.