Suns’ Duane Washington Jr. explodes with 16 points in 1st half vs. Heat

Nov 14, 2022, 6:34 PM | Updated: 7:53 pm

Duane Washington Jr. #4 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sac...

Duane Washington Jr. #4 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Davion Mitchell #15 of the Sacramento Kings during the first half of the preseason NBA game at Footprint Center on October 12, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When you’re on the bottom third of the depth chart in the NBA, you are more than likely going to get an opportunity or two in the regular season. There are too many injuries that come along the way for the 14th, 15th or 16th guy to not be given a look.

But mostly it’s only a week, maybe less, so that individual has to step up in that short amount of time.

Phoenix Suns guard Duane Washington Jr., on a two-way contract this season, received his first crack at rotation minutes on Monday in Miami against the Heat in a 113-112 Suns loss. And to say he took advantage of that opportunity is quite the understatement.

Washington scored 16 points of his 21 points in eight minutes across his first shift that lasted 10. The second-year guard out of Ohio State was known for his shooting coming into the league and he can get white hot at any time.

The 22-year-old sporting a new haircut knocked down six of his first seven shot attempts in 7:51.

Phoenix is without Chris Paul (right heel soreness) and Landry Shamet (concussion protocol), leaving them with just starters Devin Booker and Cam Payne in terms of ball-handlers in the rotation. This was also the case in Friday’s loss to the Orlando Magic, and in that contest, head coach Monty Williams elected to just play Booker the entire first quarter and then Payne the whole following quarter. Washington got minutes in the second half once the game was getting away from the Suns and they needed to try to find answers elsewhere.

While Washington admitted this preseason the Suns are helping him learn a new position at point guard, the upside he presents as an offensive weapon as an old school microwave scorer off the bench is a dynamic no one else on the roster can offer.

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