Triano: Suns expect Devin Booker to return from injury vs. Grizzlies

Dec 26, 2017, 9:53 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends duri...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LISTEN: Jay Triano, Suns Interim Head Coach

Barring a setback after his appearance in practice Sunday and Tuesday’s shootaround, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is expected to return from an adductor injury Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“He’s going to be a little bit rusty and I think fatigue might be an issue, so we may have to manage minutes, but for the most part, he looked real good,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf show.

Booker, who is averaging 24.3 points, 4.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game, missed the last nine games after injuring his groin late in a Dec. 5 game against the Toronto Raptors. Phoenix lost its first four games with the starting shooting guard sidelined but has gone 3-2 in the last five games.

While the Suns have missed Booker’s ability to salvage broken offensive possessions, the injury allowed Phoenix to add point guard Isaiah Canaan via an injury exception and develop chemistry with its second unit.

The Suns, who have started rookie Josh Jackson in Booker’s absence, have since released point guard Mike James to retain Canaan, who has played well with a bench unit also composed of Troy Daniels, Danuel House, Dragan Bender and Alex Len.

How Triano will shift Booker back in the starting lineup and Jackson to the bench — all while keeping the second unit’s chemistry — remains to be seen.

“I’m excited to get Devin back in the first unit. To add him to that, it’ll give us an opportunity to score and it’ll take a little bit of pressure off of T.J. Warren,” Triano said. “The second unit, I like the way they play. I think that there’s a connection between Danuel House and the way Isaiah’s playing and Troy Daniels, the way he’s playing. Dragan is a an easy guy to play with, and Alex Len has been having a solid year. I’m going to try to keep that second unit as much intact as I can.”


Rookie shooting guard Davon Reed is nearing a return after missing the Suns’ first 35 games of the year due to a meniscus injury.

Triano said Reed is one to two weeks away from joining the Suns but could debut as a professional in Prescott Valley for the Northern Arizona Suns sooner than that.

“I think there will be some grooming for him,” Triano said. “He still has to feel real comfortable on the floor with his injury.”

Reed, who was picked 32nd overall out of Miami, underwent surgery on August 24.


Triano on swingman Josh Jackson’s improvements as a rookie: “He’s had the opportunity to play against the best. It’s a growth thing for him. I’d like him to embrace that … if you’re playing alongside Devin Booker, you can help us by being real good defensively. I think he’s learning how to slow down a little bit. He’s attacking the basket at one speed and he’s become a little bit predictable. We’re working on his jump shot because we’re a team that’s going to want to shoot three-pointers — I think we’re seeing a progression there — but we’re also working on a change-of-pace a little bit to see if he can mix up and confuse defenders when he’s in attack mode.”

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Triano: Suns expect Devin Booker to return from injury vs. Grizzlies