The 2013-14 season will mostly be a transition year for the Phoenix Suns, but there's undoubtedly some interesting talent in-house as management builds a contender. That starts with the team's point guards, Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Archie Goodwin, though 2013 lottery pick Alex Len will be worth watching as well.
Sorting out the minutes between Phoenix's dynamic guards will be the biggest challenge for first-time coach Jeff Hornacek, but it may not matter without production on the wings. As a new era behind GM Ryan McDonough unfolds, the most important aspect of next season may simply be angling for a high draft pick.
Goran Dragic -- Coming off a nice showing with Slovenia at EuroBasket 2013, Dragic should be the Suns' best player this season. A great ball-handler who can penetrate through defenses, find open shooters and finish at the basket, the 27-year-old would be that much more dangerous if he ever improved his perimeter shot. During his emergence over the past two seasons, he's shot roughly 33 percent from behind the arc, which is decent enough to keep defenses honest, but ultimately limits his upside.
Eric Bledsoe -- More of a combo guard than a more traditional point, Bledsoe should still get starter's minutes after being traded to Phoenix over the summer. Physically, the 6'1 guard provides everything you could want besides height, bringing speed, strength and creativity to the table. The great defense and solid offensive skills should make him a dangerous player for years to come, but it's also worth remembering he's never scored more than 8.5 points per game.
P.J. Tucker -- After making 45 starts for Phoenix last season, Tucker likely ends up the starting small forward again in 2013-14. A solid defender despite being just 6'5, the 28-year-old was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft by Toronto but spent five years overseas before signing with the Suns in 2012. In 79 games with the team, he averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists. After shooting just 31 percent from three last season, improving that aspect of his game could be the next step.
Markieff Morris -- Beyond Bledsoe, here's the biggest breakout candidate for Phoenix. With the trade of Scola freeing up major minutes for both Morris and his brother Marcus, the two should be a core part of the Suns' gameplan next season. Bringing solid size at 6'10, Morris could develop into a nice floor-spacing forward, but he needs to become more consistent and avoid falling in love with jumpers too much. Last season, he averaged fewer than three free throws per 36 minutes and shot just 41 percent from the field. Those numbers need to get better.
Marcin Gortat -- It's unclear what the team's long-term plan is for Gortat after drafting Len with the fifth-overall pick, but he's still in Phoenix and will be one of the team's key players. A good finisher in the post who rebounds well and set a career-high with 1.6 blocks per game in 2012-13, he'll likely be an attractive trade chip during the season should the Suns decide to entertain offers. Though he probably won't again match the double-double he averaged with Steve Nash around during the 2011-12 season, the 29-year-old is a quality piece.
Shannon Brown -- A starter for 41 games during his first two seasons in Phoenix, Brown should come off the bench exclusively in 2013-14 unless the Dragic-Bledsoe pairing struggles. A decent scorer, he averaged 10.5 points per game last season, but saw his three-point efficiency fall off from 36 percent to 28 percent.
Marcus Morris -- Acquired from the Rockets last season, Markieff's brother should see an expanded role this year. A 6'9 forward who can hit three-pointers, it will be interesting to see how he's used.
Alex Len -- He's still recovering from offseason surgery, but the No. 5 pick in the 2013 draft should see significant minutes this season. A Gortat trade would likely open the door to a starting gig fairly quickly.
Channing Frye -- Sidelined for the entire 2012-13 season by a heart problem, Frye's ready to return to his floor-spacing ways this season. From 2010-12, the 6'11 forward shot 40 percent from beyond the arc while taking nearly five per game.
Deep on the bench
Kendall Marshall -- In the Suns' last game of the 2012-13 season, Phoenix played Marshall for 41 minutes and he turned in a 14-assist, zero-turnover performance. However, he only scored two points and didn't draw a single foul. We'll see if the Bledsoe addition buries him on the depth chart.
Malcolm Lee -- Acquired from Minnesota after a couple years of bench-warming, Lee should probably fill a similar role with the Suns. He's a sub-40 percent shooter from the field with a 9.6 career PER.
Miles Plumlee -- After averaging 4.8 points per game during his four-year stay at Duke, Plumlee arrived in Indiana as a first-round pick and proceeded to play a total of 55 minutes over the 82-game season. Acquired along with Green, he shouldn't be expected to do much.
Dionte Christmas -- Signed by Phoenix a couple weeks ago, Christmas was a star at Temple in 2009, but went undrafted before spending time in Europe.
Viacheslav Kravtsov -- Acquired in the Caron Butler deal from Milwaukee, Kravtsov is a 7' center out of Ukraine. He played fine in garbage minutes with the Pistons last year, but probably won't play much once Len is healthy.
Archie Goodwin -- One of the most intriguing players on the roster, Goodwin likely won't play much as a rookie behind the cavalry of point guards assembled by the team, but he has the potential to be very, very good.
Ish Smith -- Acquired in the Butler deal, Smith has the same deal as Goodwin without the big potential.
Jeff Hornacek -- After three years as an assistant with the Utah Jazz, Hornacek landed the Suns' head coaching gig this summer. Despite the relative inexperience, he's considered an up-and-coming coach around the league and even interviewed for the Bulls' vacancy before the team hired Tom Thibodeau. We'll see if he can quickly improve an abysmal offense that finished 29th in offensive efficiency last season.