Despite being unable to secure point guard Dennis Schroder among other free agent targets, the Phoenix Suns have plenty of supporting pieces off the bench that they can count on.
Suns guard Cameron Payne has been a pivotal piece for the team over the past three years. Payne has provided the Suns with crucial minutes off the bench which has allowed for 37-year-old point guard Chris Paul to be able to rest, limiting a chance of a major injury.
Last season, Payne averaged 10.8 points, 4.9 assists and 3 rebounds in 58 games played. With Payne being the primary point guard option off the bench once again leading into next season, he will serve an important role in anchoring the second unit.
After being traded to the Suns last offseason from the Brooklyn Nets, shooting guard Landry Shamet showed flashes of a great three point sniper but has not fully unlocked his true potential of what he can achieve in the Valley.
Shamet not only had his worst season points wise averaging 8.3, he also had a career worst defensive rating with 112.1.
Almost all championship caliber teams have a reliable three point shooter who can step up on the defensive side of the ball. Shamet has all the tools to take that role for the Suns but must become a more consistent shooter from behind the arc and step up defensively.
If Shamet is unable to step up, Damion Lee is more than capable of securing the backup shooting guard position. Lee signed a one-year $2.1 million contract with the Suns after spending his whole NBA career with the Golden State Warriors.
Lee is currently the only player on the Suns roster to have won an NBA championship most recently winning it all this past season. He can provide veteran leadership along with his championship pedigree. The 29-year-old averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists with the Warriors last season.
The Suns may have a lot of veteran players coming off their bench but don’t count out 21-year-old guard Duane Washington Jr. During his rookie campaign last season, Washington Jr. averaged 9.9 points, 1.8 assists and 1.9 rebounds.
Washington Jr. signed a two-way contract with the Suns after being waived by the Pacers on July 14. Despite having played only 48 NBA games, Washington Jr has the opportunity to learn from a Suns team that has plenty of playoff experience.
With some development to his game, he can be a big contributor in the future as his age matches the current trajectory of this young Suns roster.
If the Suns supporting cast stays healthy and are able reach their highest potential, they could be destined for greatness this upcoming season.
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