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Suns move Marquese Chriss to first unit, start youngest lineup in team history

Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss (0) shoots over Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns started the youngest lineup in team history Tuesday in a 124-121 loss against the Trail Blazers.

Part of it is due to the absence of Tyson Chander, who was out due to personal reasons. Alex Len started in place of Chandler.

The other change is more permanent, it appears. Rookie 19-year-old forward Marquese Chriss has taken Jared Dudley’s spot in the starting lineup as head coach Earl Watson tinkers with a second unit that has struggled with its chemistry.

That means Chriss joined 23-year-old Len, 20-year-old Devin Booker, 23-year-old T.J. Warren and 26-year-old Eric Bledsoe in the starting lineup.

According to the Suns communications department, the average age comes in at 22 years and 210 days old.

That barely tops the now-second-youngest starting lineup in team history. In January of 2004 against the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix started Leandro Barbosa, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Donnell Harvey and Shawn Marion. They averaged an age of 22 years and 284 days old.

The starting lineup struggled Tuesday with Chriss owning a team-worst minus-23 plus-minus score and none of the first-teamers finishing better than minus-9.

The bench fared better than recent games. Dragan Bender scored 10 points with a team-best plus-19 plus-minus in 23 minutes. The second unit that included P.J. Tucker, Jared Dudley, Brandon Knight and Leandro Barbosa all closed with positive plus-minus scores with the new rotation.

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