Phoenix Suns’ Josh Okogie Struggles to Find Offensive Rhythm
Defensive Ace Fails to Deliver on Offensive End
When Josh Okogie joined the Phoenix Suns last summer, the team had high hopes for the defensive-minded player. However, as the landscape of the franchise changed, Okogie’s offensive struggles became more apparent.
Okogie, who spent his first four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, was known for his defensive prowess but lacked offensive firepower. With an average of just 6.6 points per game and shooting percentages of 40% from the field and 29.1% from beyond the arc, Okogie’s offensive contributions were minimal.
In his first season with the Suns, Okogie struggled to find playing time, averaging only 6.2 minutes in the team’s first 21 games. While his defensive rating of 90.0 led the team, his offensive performance was abysmal, shooting just 29% from the field and a mere 7.1% from deep.
However, Okogie’s fortunes changed during a blowout win against the San Antonio Spurs. In 26 minutes of play, his hustle on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds, caught the attention of the coaching staff. This marked a turning point for Okogie, as his playing time increased to 19.1 minutes per game over the month of December.
As injuries plagued the Suns, Okogie started 25 of the team’s final 44 games, adding offense to his game. He averaged 9.7 points and improved his three-point shooting percentage to 36.7%. Okogie’s defensive acuity combined with his newfound offensive abilities made him a valuable asset for the Suns.
However, the postseason brought inconsistency for Okogie, both in terms of playing time and production. He struggled with his offensive confidence, shooting just 25% from beyond the arc in the series against the Los Angeles Clippers and failing to hit a three-pointer in five games against the Denver Nuggets.
Despite his postseason struggles, Okogie re-signed with the Suns as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The team underwent roster changes, acquiring more offensively superior players, and hired a coach who could maximize Okogie’s defensive skills.
However, Okogie’s offensive woes have resurfaced this season, causing concern for the Suns. He has made just 4 of his 23 three-point attempts, shooting a dismal 17.4% from deep. This lack of offensive ability has forced coach Frank Vogel to experiment with the starting lineup.
In the fourth quarter alone, Okogie is shooting a mere 16.7% this season, further highlighting his offensive struggles. NBA defenses have taken notice of his shooting woes, making him a non-factor on the offensive end.
Despite his poor shooting, Okogie still brings value to the team with his intangibles and history of slow starts. However, with the Suns’ increased depth this season, it remains uncertain whether Okogie will be given the same opportunities as last season.
While Keita Bates-Diop has proven to be a more consistent player on both ends of the floor, Okogie’s disruptive and winning plays make him an asset to the team. However, he must display his ability to overcome his offensive weaknesses and not be a liability for the Suns.
As the season progresses, the Suns hope that Okogie can find his offensive rhythm and contribute to the team’s success. Only time will tell if he can overcome his shooting struggles and become a reliable offensive threat for Phoenix.