Brooklyn Nets: 3 things to watch in lone trip to Phoenix

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(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
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3. Suns likely to be scouting

The point guard position hasn’t always been a problem for the Phoenix Suns. It just seems that way.

Under former general manager Ryan McDonough, the Suns at one point had an embarrassment of riches at the position. In 2014-15, the Suns added free agent Isaiah Thomas to the combination of point guard they already had in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.

The Hydra was a dismal failure. The Suns fell from 48 wins to 39 and by season’s end, Thomas was in Boston and Dragic had been dealt to Miami.

The Suns began last season with a couple of established vets at the position in Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. But Bledsoe was miserable in Phoenix and Knight was injured. Bledsoe was traded early in the season to the Milwaukee Bucks.

They brought in Elfrid Payton in a trade from the Orlando Magic, but let him walk in free agency. Tyler Ulis started 43 games, but was cut by the Suns at the start of the new league year in July.

By the time this season began, Phoenix was left with journeyman shoot-first, ask-questions-later point guard Isaiah Canaan and rookie second-round picks Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton, who was acquired in the trade that sent Knight to the Houston Rockets.

Canaan is the erstwhile starter, having gotten starts in all eight games he’s played and averaging 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 27.0 minutes per game.

Okobo had one start and is averaging 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game in the seven games he’s played. Melton has been on the Flagstaff shuffle to the G League and has played just two games and 22 minutes.

Shooting guard Devin Booker — as much by necessity as by design — has emerged as the Suns’ top playmaker at 6.7 assists per game. Forward Trevor Ariza (3.8) and center Deandre Ayton (3.4) are also averaging more assists per game than Canaan.

Not ideal.

The Nets, meanwhile, have two starting-caliber point guards in D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie and a legitimate third point guard in Shabazz Napier.

Dinwiddie had been on the Suns’ radar in September, but no deal was done and with McDonough now out and interim general manager James Jones handling things, the situation is fluid.

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But you can bet the Suns will be watching with interest — and envy — at the Nets’ riches at the position.