James Jones: Suns working to find right rotations as playoffs near

Apr 6, 2023, 2:47 PM

General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...

General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 02, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After a healthy starting five of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul and Josh Okogie, the Suns are left with a bench unit looking to solidify itself before the playoffs begin.

“We have a team filled with good players and we have a lot to figure out from a rotation perspective but all of our guys are in the rotation,” Suns general manager James Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.

“We’ve seen instances where guys haven’t played and they come back and they play well and they’re in it. So for us right now it’s just finding rotations that work and trying to find rotations we think may work in the future since we have time.”

Here are who the Suns have been utilizing off the bench in the last 10 games.

Torrey Craig, Bismack Biyombo, Landry Shamet, Cam Payne, Terrence Ross, T.J. Warren, Ish Wainwright, Jock Landale, Damion Lee, Darius Bazley and Saben Lee.

There are many names in the hat to choose from and countless options to experiment with in the final three games of the regular season.

One of these rotation options involves finding a balance between Shamet and Payne.

Shamet returned from a right foot injury on March 19 and has averaged just under 17 minutes in seven games played, along with 5.3 points.

Payne has averaged 15.5 minutes with 6.5 points and 3.8 assists in the same stretch of games, but sat out against the Spurs on Tuesday and only played eight minutes against the Thunder on Sunday.

“(Shamet is) different. You know Cam Payne is the primary ballhandler. Landry is the secondary ballhandler. Landry is a little bit bigger. Defensively plays not at the point of the attack but weak side and second side whereas Cam is a point of attack primarily in situations with the point guards,” Jones said.

“Landry just gives us some versatility. Someone different, someone bigger. We have multiple guys that can play that big defender role too so I just think that this is one of those situations where you look and see what you have and you have time to experiment.”

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