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Torrey Craig’s experience with Nuggets valuable ahead of Suns’ Game 1

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 02: Torrey Craig #12 of the Phoenix Suns looks to pass during the NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns Arena on April 02, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Thunder 140-103. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When forward Torrey Craig steps onto the court for the Phoenix Suns in Monday’s Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, he’ll be seeing some familiar faces.

Craig began his NBA career with the Nuggets and across three seasons averaged 5.3 points per game and 3.4 rebounds. And after two playoff runs with Denver, he’s looking forward to now playing opposite them.

“It’s exciting,” Craig said via Zoom on Sunday. “Playoffs, you want to compete and play against the best teams and they’re one of the best teams right now with probably MVP of the league [Nikola Jokic] on their team.”

While the Suns faced the Nuggets three times early in the regular season, they had not yet traded for Craig, who began the year with the Milwaukee Bucks. Now, tips are coming from Craig on what to expect from his former team.

“He’s very helpful. He’s giving us all the answers now to Denver,” Devin Booker said with a laugh Sunday. “No, I’m kidding.”

Through the Suns’ six playoff games, Craig has averaged 3.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 10.3 minutes per game while in various positions on the court for Phoenix.

“He’s versatile,” Booker added of what Craig brings to the Suns. “He can go out there, you can put him at any position. … Just a long, athletic wing that can do a little bit of everything and that’s on both ends of the floor.”

Craig said that while this Nuggets team isn’t the exact same as the one he played on from 2017-2020, he knows what drives them and wants to relay as much information as he can to give his team the best shot at winning the upcoming series.

“Just knowing their tendencies, things they do well, what gets them going,” the forward said. “Just trying to help the guys out as much as I can and give them as much information as I can.

“I played there for the last few years, went on a deep playoff run with them … so just trying to share my knowledge.”

Head coach Monty Williams noted that not only is Craig one of the more playoff-experienced players on the team, but his time spent playing for top teams in the Nuggets and Bucks is invaluable for Phoenix’s young squad.

“He’s spoken up in our meetings about certain things that we need to be aware of. We value what he brings to the table,” Williams said.

“We would be in a different place if we didn’t have Torrey Craig on our team. … It was the right spot for Torrey. We needed him and he needed us, so it’s been a good partnership from that perspective.”


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