Phoenix Suns: Who is at risk of being squeezed out of the rotation?

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns depth options: When Chris Paul sits.

The players: Cameron Payne, Jevon Carter, E’Twaun Moore.

Payne is entrenched as Paul’s go-to backup. He’s proved that the Orlando bubble performance last season was no fluke. In addition to hitting 51.7 percent of his 3-point tries, he scored 10.9 points per game to complement 3.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds, averaging 22.9 minutes through those eight games.

This season, in only 17.2 minutes per game, Payne has boosted his assists to 3.7 per game while maintaining a 41 percent rate from long range. He’s solid and he’s learned how to increase his value on defense. So there’s no mystery at this point.

The rotation questions include the backup point position because Williams sometimes plays Jevon Carter and E’Twaun Moore at the two, in addition to some limited minutes at point guard.

Carter, after playing fewer than eight minutes per game in February and March, has been sharp — and rewarded in April, logging 16.2 minutes per game and keeping his 3-point-shooting better than 40 percent. He’s the hot hand and, clearly, Williams will reward those who prove they deserve the minutes.

Moore, an established veteran, provided key backup minutes earlier this season but is stuck behind Paul, Payne and Carter, with no real appeal to receive extended minutes at the two, either. At playoff time, though, his steady play and high basketball IQ could serve Phoenix well.

In case of emergency: An injury to Paul would seem to pretty much sink the season, but the way Payne helped lead the Orlando-bubble Suns, maybe not. Devin Booker would embrace the challenge, as always, and now he has playmaking lessons in his repertoire — thanks in part to Paul’s presence this season.