NBA Rumors: Suns maintain trade interest in Pacers' T.J. McConnell
The Phoenix Suns have been interested in point guard depth all summer, even positioning themselves to pursue Kyle Lowry in a potential Damian Lillard trade before the Bucks emerged victorious in those sweepstakes. Now, a familiar name is being tied to Phoenix: Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, the Suns have "ongoing" interest in trading for the diminutive playmaker out of Arizona.
McConnell has carved out a career as one of the league's most reliable backup point guards despite myriad circumstances stacked against him. He's 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds soaking wet, he doesn't shoot a ton of 3s, and he doesn't have outlier athleticism. Still, McConnell gets by on guts and basketball I.Q., scrapping his way to stops on the defensive end and racking up assists on offense.
He's coming off an efficient and productive campaign for the Pacers, averaging 8.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on .543/.441/.853 splits in 20.3 minutes. On a per-minute basis, very few point guards match McConnell's assist volume. He excels at poking around the teeth of the defense with shifty handles before locating the open teammate. He's pass-first, but he provides just enough juice as a mid-range shooter and driver to keep the defense honest.
The Suns traded Cam Payne earlier in the summer and are currently short on legitimate point guard depth behind Bradley Beal and Devin Booker. Staggering lineups should make that a minor problem — especially with Eric Gordon capable of eating a few ball-handling reps — but it could get dicey if the Suns run into injury problems.
McConnell isn't an NBA starter, but he's a very good backup and a strong culture piece. He's a dude you want in the locker room. Don't be surprised if the Suns give up real assets to get him.