Phoenix Suns guard Damion Lee knows what it takes to win.
After all, Lee spent four seasons with the Golden State Warriors, an organization that has defined dominance for this generation. Lee's efforts contributed to getting a championship ring last summer.
Now, Lee is 20 games into his stint with the Suns, an organization that has seen recent success but left no fingerprints on the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Although he's averaging just 20 minutes per game, Lee has already carved a role as a clutch shooter down the stretch for Phoenix. Lee put the official dagger in the opener vs. Dallas and has provided plenty of other clutch moments for the Suns, which last required a series of three-point shots in the fourth quarter of their win over Sacramento on Monday.
“You make a decision and you hope it works out. That’s all it is. I’d love to tell you that I use the Pythagorean Theorem to come up with a decision, but it’s not that," Monty Williams said on inserting Lee and his usage.
"The coaches, in particular Kevin, we go back and forth about the matchups because it’s more than the position. They were running certain screening actions off the ball to get a switch and when we had a smaller guy, they were punishing us, so we needed a bigger guy down there. It could have been Landry [Shamet] or D. Lee. We put Cam Payne in some tough spots and that’s why I couldn’t play Wash [Duane Washington Jr.] as much as I wanted to.
"It was based on that and then it was based on putting a guy out there that can space the floor and knock down the shot.”
Knocking down shots is indeed what Lee has accomplished, as he's shooting a strong 48.8% from downtown. Monday tied a season high 15 points for Lee, as he's now shot 50% or better from the field in his last seven-of-nine games.
“He was just ready for that moment. You can tell by his demeanor when team’s double off of him and leaving him wide open in the corner or at the top. He takes that as disrespect as he should. He’s not scared to let it go. He lets it go and every time he shoots it, I think it’s going in," said Devin Booker following the game.
Lee himself says he simply leans on his confidence when shooting.
“It’s just confidence. Just trying to be consistent. I do that every time. I don’t look at the numbers I don’t look at whatever it is, I just go out there and play the game. The game always dictates what to do. Teammates find me and I’m just trying to find the right spots where I work on all those shots that I take in a game. So the confidence translates," he said.
Prior to the season, plenty was said about Phoenix's bench and the lack of depth. Yet even with starters such as Chris Paul and Cam Johnson missing, the Suns have seen Lee as one of many role players do their part in what is the West's best record at 14-6.
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