To make this more fun and dramatic, let’s still assume that the Suns are able to land Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton to help accommodate Kawhi Leonard in Phoenix.
Kawhi was drafted in 2011, which, on a decent Suns team starring Steve Nash and Vince Carter, would make him a strong candidate as a starter given his high draft selection. We’ll go along as if Kawhi’s development would have been the same, year by year it was while he was on his rookie contract in San Antonio.
By year two, he would have been a solidified starter, most likely acting as a box office attraction to Phoenix fans at the most as they began their playoff drought, since 2010. Let’s fast forward. Isaiah Thomas joined the squad for the 2014 season and made an impact as a rising player on a thin Phoenix roster – which would have meant that Kawhi would have been one of the only players on the Suns at that point deserving of an NBA starting spot should he be on another team.
Later, Devin Booker is chosen as a lottery pick in 2015 – securing the starting combo guard position on the Lakers, effectively making the Suns a quite compelling rising squad. Featuring Isaiah Thomas at the one, D-Book at the 2, Kawhi at the 3, and Alex Len and Tyson Chandler handling the 4 and 5. Goran Dragic was a supreme talent to Thomas, so let’s disregard Thomas from now on since he would later be traded to Boston that year.
Kawhi, at this point, has established himself as the LeBron stopper, the quiet-minded, soft-spoken star who is capable of Jordan-esque style of play, given his two-way offensive/defensive production. Fast forward to 2018. The Suns were yet again awful and landed Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton with the 1st overall selection. Let’s assume that Kawhi has one more year with the team that drafted him – rather than be on the Raptors squad, relative to Kawhi’s career progression.
The trio would be scary to recognize. Featuring all-star and perennial talent Devin Booker, fantasy favorite Devin Booker and double-double machine DeAndre Ayton – chances are that Kawhi’s impact on the Suns would have been incredibly positive given the fact that he would receive dominant help to relieve pressure from the double teams mid-game.
Is the trio good enough to win the championship with an average squad below them? Probably not. Are they good enough to crack the playoffs? I think that’s for sure. Well, that was fun – again, one can only imagine how the fortunes of the Phoenix Suns and their fan base would be predetermined given their different selection in 2011.