Jamion Christian is a former Division I head coach at Mount Saint Mary's, Siena and George Washington - who has joined Aaron Torres Media for the remainder of the season as a hoops analyst.
And while Jamion's focus is usually on college basketball, today we threw him an NBA curveball: As a former coach, how does he see Kevin Durant fitting in with his new team in the Phoenix Suns?
He weighs in.
At this stage of his career, Chris Paul is the best connector of talent in the NBA. Over the past few seasons, we have seen the Point God change and adjust to fit well with the talent assembled around him. Early in his career he led his teams in scoring and assists. In Monty Williams’ system, he scores less but continues to assist at a high rate. Further evidence of the impact of his versatility can be found in Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges: both were having career years scoring the basketball prior to being traded out of Phoenix as part of the deal to acquire Kevin Durant.
Beyond that, Devin Booker has consistently become more than just a scorer and has fully crossed over into play-making mode for the Phoenix Suns. In the past, he was forced to take really tough shots or pass when he was unable to get a shot off. But over the past two seasons, Devin Booker has developed into an (underrated) creator for others on his team. Watching CP and Booker in the back court together, I often wonder: is there a better passing backcourt in the NBA? Expect to see this in full force for the rest of the season.
Deandre Ayton has improved his one-on-one post scoring ability and has remained a tremendous lob threat despite how often he gets double-teamed. Well guess what? When you have Durant, CP, and Devin Booker on the floor, he won't be seeing any double teams for a long time. This move ensures that he will be able to use his best skills efficiently. Another little reminder: Ayton is already having the best scoring year of his career.
Now, finally to the new guy: Kevin Durant.
Durant is the best weapon in the basketball world. He is such a prolific scorer that people often forget he is a great rebounder, defender, and passer. I’ve always said that KD is the easiest competitor in the game to play alongside because he can do so many things to impact winning. He is the perfect player to join this group of talented Suns, bringing championship mentality (a Finals MVP) and the IQ of how to play big in the biggest moments.
In addition, the Suns now have:
Booker, Durant, Paul can rebound and push in transition.
Booker, Durant and Paul have averaged over 5 Assists per game over the past 5 seasons.
Booker and Durant have tremendous shot making ability.
To sum it up: Chris Paul plus a lob threat, plus two of the best spacers/scorers in the game - superstars who know they must make the most of this opportunity - it will work and it will be great for us to enjoy as fans.
Jamion Christian is a former Division I head coach who has joined Aaron Torres Media for the rest of the college basketball season. Follow him on Twitter @JamionChristian