Phoenix Suns: 3 Position Battles to Watch in 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne.
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Battle for First Guard off the Bench: Cameron Payne vs Landry Shamet

Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet come together to form a very solid backcourt off the bench. Payne resembles a true point guard, while Shamet can operate from both spots, prompting the Suns to likely play him at the shooting guard to run beside Payne.

But despite their compatibility with each other, one player will likely serve as the team’s sole “sixth man” if Phoenix’s offensive tendencies from last year carry over into this coming one. More often than not during the 2020-21 season, the Suns subbed out Paul before Booker—allowing Payne to take the floor before any other backup guard.

However, this past season Booker showed off his much improved ability to run the offense, making a second unit which slides Booker up to point guard and Shamet in at shooting guard a serious possibly, especially if the Suns find themselves wanting to stretch the floor.

The Suns will likely start the season by just simply swapping Payne for Paul. Shamet is still a newcomer to this team, and quite frankly, Payne earned this position last year after playing superb during Paul’s COVID-19 related absence.

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But at some point down the line, watch out for a Booker and Shamet backcourt to formulate on the court. If it works well, then there will be no stopping it, allowing Shamet to become Phoenix’s new first guard to come off the bench, rather than Payne.