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

Phoenix Suns depth options: When Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder sit.

The players: Abdel Nader and Torrey Craig.

The Phoenix Suns have had good fortune born of good foresight when it comes to bench help.

An injury to Abdel Nader has caused the squeeze in his playing time and opened up some time for Jevon Carter as well as giving Monty Williams plenty of freedom to play Torrey Craig.

Nader, only a bit more than a throw-in from the Chris Paul trade, became a pleasant surprise during this season’s first few months but knee trouble has kept him sidelined since March 21.

Nader, who hit .320 and then .375 from 3-point range the past two seasons, boosted that number to .419 for the Suns. His intensity, athleticism and defensive commitment make him a valuable weapon — given full health — as the season winds down.

Craig is a multipurpose forward targeted by the Suns during the offseason and finally brought aboard for a bag of cash before the trade deadline.

Suns general manager James Jones knows a great deal about basketball, and the art of shooting is at the top of the list.

Craig, like Nader and others, has caught the good-shooting bug in Phoenix. He’s hitting better than 41 percent of his 3-point attempts and, combined with his eager rebounding and defensive mindset, provides valuable bench minutes that aren’t likely to subside with the return of Nader.

At this spot, Nader would seem more likely to be squeezed even when healthy.

In case of emergency: Losing either Mikal Bridges or Jae Crowder would hurt, especially when it comes to the grind-it-out nature of the postseason. Bridges is a willing warrior, but Crowder has vast experience and must be part of any successful Suns playoff picture.

If injuries happen, though, Craig and Nader would embrace the opportunity.

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