Phoenix Suns: Ranking Each Player on Defense for the 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Players Ranked on Defense: Bottom Tier

#9 Cameron Payne

A guy who plays hard both with and without the ball, Cameron Payne embodies a serviceable defender, able to hold his own in spurts. However, he averaged the same amount of steals per game last year as Dario Saric and Deandre Ayton, which feels less than desired for a point guard.

Although he neglects to resemble a liability on defense, he does nothing all too special. But as someone who made large strides with his game from general standpoint last year, maybe he targets improved defense as his next mountain to climb this season.

#10 Jalen Smith

Jalen Smith barely played last year, so his defensive abilities remain relatively unknown. He does possess all the tools though to operate as another solid paint protecter. During the NBA’s Summer League, he led the entire tournament with 12.5 rebounds per game, which deserves some consideration.

#11 Landry Shamet

Like Booker, Shamet comes to this team as a one dimensional player. However, his quick hands warrant some defensive consideration, which led to an occasion steal or tipped pass each game for the Nets last year. Other than though, he lacks the right tools to work as an everyday defender, weighing just 190 pounds and without much on-ball discipline.

#12 Elfrid Payton

Elfird Payton returns to the Suns primarily to filly Jevon Carter’s role. He ran the point for arguably the game’s best defensive team last year. However, he surrendered the highest opponent field goal percentage on that team. A mixed bag nonetheless, hopefully Payton brings what he learned, rather than what he ended up doing on the court last year to Phoenix.