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Evaluating Josh Okogie’s Role as the Suns Fifth Starter

Josh Okogie guarding opponents during a basketball game
Josh Okogie’s defensive skills contribute to the Suns’ success

In the ever-evolving world of NBA lineups, the question of whether Josh Okogie should retain his position as the Phoenix Suns’ fifth starter has become a topic of intrigue. As the Suns gear up for another competitive season, the discussion around Okogie’s role gains momentum. This article delves into three pivotal reasons why Okogie’s inclusion in the starting lineup might be a game-changer.

1. Defensive Brilliance

The appointment of esteemed head coach Frank Vogel has instilled a fresh defensive strategy within the Suns. Known for his prowess in defensive tactics, Vogel’s emphasis on spacing and dynamic switching is expected to rejuvenate the Suns’ defensive dynamics.

Although the Suns displayed respectable defensive aptitude last season, there was room for enhancement, especially in the realm of defensive switches. A shimmering beacon amidst this landscape was none other than Josh Okogie. With remarkable athleticism and swiftness, Okogie exhibited a knack for blocking shots and intercepting passes.

Moreover, Okogie’s mastery in guarding on-ball opponents, navigating through screens, and defending off-ball actions is reflected in the statistics. Impressively, according to BBall Index, Okogie ranked in the 99th percentile against on-ball defenders, 98th percentile in screen navigation, 97th percentile in off-ball defense, and 91st percentile in shot-blocking and screen-setting situations.

Evidently, under Vogel’s tutelage and the collective synergy of a championship-contending team, Okogie’s defensive prowess is poised to garner recognition, possibly leading him to secure a spot on the prestigious All-NBA defensive team.

2. Spacing and Shooting Progress

The success of the Suns’ fifth starter heavily hinges on the synergy created by teammates Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. The intricate spacing they craft for each other on the court offers ample opportunities for quality open shots.

While Josh Okogie isn’t celebrated as an elite three-point shooter, his upward trajectory is undeniable. He wrapped up the previous season with a career-high 34% three-point shooting rate. Notably, his proficiency soared during a stretch in January and February, where he impressively shot 42%.

Acknowledging room for improvement, Okogie’s commitment to honing his three-point prowess shines through. Reflecting on his progress, Okogie shared, “I want to keep getting better… I think that I’m gonna be good.” If Okogie unlocks this dimension of his game, the Suns’ offensive potency is bound to elevate, painting a promising picture for the team’s future.

3. Impactful Second-Chance Plays

Okogie’s value extends beyond his defensive and shooting attributes. A standout facet of his gameplay lies in his ability to secure second-chance points through offensive rebounds. With an offensive rebounding percentage at the 82nd percentile in the NBA, Okogie’s prowess in this domain is exceptional.

This skill seamlessly aligns with the Suns’ strategy, granting them an upper hand in securing additional scoring opportunities. These second-chance points, coupled with fast break scenarios, present a formidable challenge for opponents attempting to contain the Suns’ multifaceted offensive prowess.

While Okogie’s repertoire continues to impress, there remains an avenue for growth in terms of finishing around the rim. His 52% success rate on plays around the rim presents an area for refinement. Nevertheless, with the opportunity to fine-tune his offensive game, Okogie’s potential to become a pivotal x-factor for the Suns, particularly during high-stakes playoff scenarios, is undeniable.

In a league where lineups serve as the backbone of success, the inclusion of Josh Okogie as the fifth starter for the Phoenix Suns is a proposition worthy of exploration. With his defensive brilliance, expanding three-point arsenal, and knack for securing second-chance points, Okogie’s impact could propel the Suns to new heights of success. As the team’s synergy and individual talents converge, the Suns’ starting unit has the potential to establish dominance on both offensive and defensive fronts.


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