Going into the offseason, Jermaine O'Neal and Wesley Johnson are going to be the team's two biggest free agents. And now that both players are in the starting lineup, they can use these 11 games to prove to Phoenix that they should be re-signed.
Jermaine O'Neal has missed several games this season, but overall he has been great. He's currently averaging 8.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 18.1 minutes per game. He is also shooting 51 percent from the field, which is his best in three years, and 84 percent from the free-throw line, a new career-high.
O'Neal is a former six-time All-Star, but he was content to come off the bench behind Marcin Gortat all season, and not once did he get frustrated with the team's poor play and request a trade or a buyout. Now he has a chance to start while Gortat is injured, and he can prove his value to the Suns before the regular season ends.
He has averaged 12.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks through his first four starts, and even that was in just 25 minutes per game. It's great to see him finally get a chance to play in a larger role, and hopefully he will be re-signed to be the team's backup center again.
Wesley Johnson has also flourished since Lindsey Hunter took over, and he has proven to carry a lot of value for the Suns.
Alvin Gentry never gave Johnson much playing time, but Hunter has fallen in love with the third-year prospect. For the month of March, Johnson is averaging 12.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game, all while shooting 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from downtown.
Johnson may not be a permanent starter for the Suns, but for now he is one of the best options on the roster. He knows how to play defense, he is making his threes and is a great all-around player. If not right now, Johnson does have the potential to be an everyday starter in the NBA eventually, and he should be re-signed if he can finish the season off on a good note.