Who Can the Suns Trust in a Reduced Rotation?


There’s no denying the Phoenix Suns have an elite starting five.

This includes Josh Okogie, who’s become a solid fifth starter.

That five can’t play 48 minutes every night, however, so the question becomes whether or not they can trust their bench in the postseason.

After almost a full season to evaluate the bench, there are at least four players the Suns can rely on in the postseason. Before jumping into it, Damion Lee and Landry Shamet barely missed the cut as honorable mentions.

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Payne Needs to Bring the Pain

Let’s start with the reserve who played a big part in the Suns’ NBA Finals in 2021— Cameron Payne. Before joining the Suns in the 2019-20 season, Payne was almost out of the NBA, but he’s found a home in Phoenix as Chris Paul‘s backup.

This season, the 28-year-old has averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 36.8 percent from the three-point line. He’s a solid secondary guard and an acceptable fill-in starter when called upon.

His playoff success, however, is a tail of two postseasons.

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If the Suns are going to rely on Payne, then he needs to play like he did when they made their Finals run. This all falls on how healthy he will be, which is questionable at the moment, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

Reliable Ross

It has felt like Terrence Ross has been stuck in basketball hell as a viable veteran player on the rebuilding Orlando Magic for the past several seasons.

At 6-foot-6, Ross has good size for a wing but was never the best defender. Due to that, he’s been used as a spark plug off the bench since his early seasons with the Toronto Raptors.

After finally getting bought out by the Magic in February, he was one of the bigger names on the buyout market joining Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Will Barton.

Yet he chose the Phoenix Suns.

Since arriving in the desert, he’s averaged 9.0 points per contest on 34.7 percent shooting from deep.

The ten-year veteran has been to the postseason five times, with the last two being a valuable part of a playoff rotation, averaging double-digit points. When called upon, Ross can provide a spark off the bench for the Suns.

Take a look for yourself.

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Small Stretch-Four Depth

Since acquiring Kevin Durant, the Suns’ depth chart at power forward has been less than stellar. The only players who can relieve Durant are Torrey Craig, T.J. Warren and Darius Bazley. Bazley is an unproven big man and Warren is injury prone to being unreliable altogether. He’s also more of a small forward, thus him being off this list as well.

That leaves Phoenix with Craig, who’s undersized at the position at 6-foot-7 and like Warren, is more of a SF than PF. That being written, he’s having a career year, averaging 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. The most impressive part of his game this year, however, is his career-high 39.5 percent shooting from deep.

Craig made his way in the NBA with his defensive skills and the Suns will be in need of lockdown defenders this postseason.


Last but not least is Bismack Biyombo, who’s been the primary backup for Deandre Ayton most of the season. Like with Craig, Biyombo’s value to the Phoenix Suns comes from his defense despite being an undersized center standing at 6-foot-8.

In just 14.3 minutes per contest, Biyombo is averaging 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. For backup centers, only Isaiah Jackson of the Indiana Pacers is averaging more swats per game than Biyombo. He’s a very good rim protector which is something the Suns can’t survive without.

Agree with this list? Comment below with your thoughts.

About Lucas Johnson

Regent University graduate with a B.A. in History. Girl Dad. Currently covering the Phoenix Suns for The Lead Sports Media. Currently Co-Host of the Sixer Sense Podcast and Washington Commanders contributor for NFL Spin Zone. Past writing experience includes The Sixer Sense, PopGates, and Rotoden, while also being a former Co-Site Expert for Valley of the Suns and Co-Site Expert for The Sixer Sense. Former host of the Dribble Chat Podcast and Minnesota Timberwolves contributor for The Lead Sports Media. Co-Site Expert for Valley of the Suns and Co-Site Expert for The Sixer Sense. Currently Co-Host of the Sixer Sense Podcast and Washington Commanders contributor for NFL Spin Zone. Former host of the Dribble Chat Podcast for The Lead Sports Media and Minnesota Timberwolves contributor. Currently covering the Phoenix Suns for The Lead Sports Media.

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