Phoenix Suns’ Torrey Craig fires up NBA playoff chase

Phoenix Suns, Torrey Craig (Photo by Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Torrey Craig (Photo by Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns sent a small bag of cash to Milwaukee for Torrey Craig prior to the trade deadline and received a major boost to their rotation in return.

The 6-7 forward has provided energy, terrific defense and some outside shooting touch in his valuable minutes off the bench.

The Pacific Division-leading Suns are led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker, whose fame spilled over to Cosmopolitan magazine recently, and enter Friday night’s home game against Oklahoma City at 33-14. They are four games clear of the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers in the loss column.

The Phoenix Suns’ Torrey Craig has quickly become a key part of the rotation, and a few of his more prominent attributes deserve a closer look.

So many reasons the acquisition has fans excited.

Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig: Dealin’

While Craig isn’t best known for his passing, he is becoming a respected and much-appreciated teammate for many reasons.

And Craig has a great boss in Monty Williams — the award-winning Suns leader.

Williams talked about evidence he’s seen of Craig beginning to feel at home.

“I think his personality, just jumping right into the fold, mixing in with card games with the big-money guys in the front of the plane,” Williams said.

One big-money guy, Devin Booker, is all good with Craig.

“Before Torrey got here, we were playing our card game on the plane with just three of us: me, Chris (Paul) and Jae (Crowder) and Torrey came in and ‘this is a better game with four people’ so we were excited to have him.”

Booker didn’t reveal much more than a smirk, but maybe he also appreciates Craig’s monetary contributions.

The card-game example has spilled over to pregame introductions, with Craig doing some mock card-dealing to teammates.

Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig: Doin’ work

The contributions from Craig are being noticed. Suns fans see it in every one of Craig’s 18.6 minutes per game since he arrived.

Let’s expand a few numbers to a Per 36 Minutes platform.

Points per 36 minutes: 14.8.

Steals per 36 minutes: 1.3.

Rebounds per 36 minutes: 9.2.

And he mixes with the community, too.

It’s easy to see why Craig is expected to continue playing a primary role for the very-likely-playoff-bound Suns.

Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig: Talkin’ this walk

The Suns pursued Craig during the offseason, and there was mutual interest, according to Craig.

“I actually wanted to come here,” Craig said Tuesday. “But some things happened, pretty crazy and pretty wild and unpredictable. Some things kind of fell through and I ended up going to Milwaukee.”

He felt he could prosper in Phoenix and, with Milwaukee proving an ill fit, Craig was eager to join the Suns when told about the trade.

“Once I found out it was Phoenix, I was like, ‘Ah, that’s perfect. That’s one of the places I wanted to go anyway.’ Phoenix is a fit for me, the way I play, what I bring.”

Although Craig calls the duties in Phoenix “different,” we’ll call them “way, way better” for him.

“It’s definitely been a different role with this team,” Craig said. “You get more opportunities, especially when it comes to getting shots and shooting the ball because. the guys play so free.”

Unfortunately, a sore left knee has Craig listed as questionable for Friday’s game. Suns fans hope to see him as soon as possible.

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