Suns’ McGee, Kaminsky made most of opportunity in Ayton’s absence

Nov 17, 2021, 5:45 PM
JaVale McGee #00 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at Footprint Center on November 02, 2021 i...
JaVale McGee #00 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at Footprint Center on November 02, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Pelicans 112-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns kept winning during the five-game stretch center Deandre Ayton missed with a knee contusion between Nov. 6-14.

They went 5-0 with three double-digit victories, partly due to the play of Ayton’s backups, JaVale McGee and Frank Kaminsky.

“Excited that those guys had a chance to prove why they’re great, quality NBA players,” Suns general manager James Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Wednesday.

“We weren’t surprised that those guys were effective. We get a chance to watch them every day at practice. They have the respect of their teammates because they’re pros.”

Jones said the duo contributed to winning basketball and instilled more confidence in Phoenix’s chemistry on the court.

McGee put up 10.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while Kaminsky scored 14.2 points with 6.0 boards during the five contests.

Kaminsky lit up the box score last Wednesday in a home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring a career-high 31 points.

Ayton returned the to Suns’ lineup Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and played nearly 33 minutes. He scored 22 points with 12 rebounds in another Phoenix win.

Kaminsky saw under four minutes of action and McGee just more than 11.

That does not necessarily mean the rotation will go back to its pre-Ayton injury state for the rest of the year.

“We’ll continue to find a rhythm for the rotation,” Jones said. “We still have to navigate a long season, and there will be plenty of opportunities for guys, not just in Frank’s position but guards and forwards, for those guys to step up and have big moments for us.”

Kaminsky will miss the Suns’ Wednesday night matchup against the Dallas Mavericks with knee soreness.

Phoenix and Dallas tip off at 8 p.m. in the Valley.

You can listen live at 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.


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