This season has been all about what the Phoenix Suns need around their young rising stars, specifically how to take advantage of Devin Booker's prime.
But maybe it is less a question of who is not currently on the roster and more how they are using the pieces present.
Going forward, Booker needs to the 1-2 combo guard that runs the entire offense. Maybe, just maybe, everything the Suns need for their game plan has been in Houston all along.
James Harden took over Houston in 2012, posting a usage rating of 28.5, which has since climbed every year since the 2013-2014, reaching 39.3 this season (a number that leads the league).
The isolation offense that has maximized the scoring ability of Harden, in turn, has highlighted the 3-and-D players surrounding him. The iso offense has served both Harden and the Rockets to maximum effect.
His deep shooting typically characterizes Harden's specific color of isolation offense, paired with a knack to get to the free throw line. Both his 3-point shooting attempts and efficiency numbers have climbed during his Texas tenure, along with the average number of free throws he takes per game.
The result, in the right culture, has been a dominant offensive combo guard, who controls the game for the success of himself and his team. Harden's production has yielded wins, not just numbers.
Such a route has been not only a road map for Booker but should be the Phoenix blueprint.
Each of the four years Booker has taken the NBA court, he has averaged more shots from the free throw line, while the past three years have seen his 3-point attempts and percentage grow. He has also found his spots on the floor, increasing his comfort level which has reflected in a career-best 51 percent efficient field goal percentage.
Booker is turning into a killer, but not just any basketball monster, he is following in the footsteps of Harden. It may not be the most popular style of basketball, it certainly is not the Golden State Warriors, nor is it conducive to bringing in the big name free agents.
However, the groundwork for the Suns' takeoff is in place. They already have the athletic center to run high pick and rolls, and the collection of wings (Josh Jackson, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges, T.J. Warren). Booker's explosion as not only a scorer but a playmaker also gives this plan legs. Booker is 13th amongst all guards with 6.7 dimes per game, a career high by a wide margin.
This is by far the most realistic route to success for the Suns, a team that has never been a major free agent contender, nor a team balanced enough to transform into a poor man's Warriors or Boston Celtics.
The Suns have the pieces, and complimentary wing help is a relatively cheap commodity a smaller market team can acquire.
If Phoenix wants results that show in the wins column, the Houston game plan is the instruction manual the Suns need to read going forward.