Phoenix Suns: 3 Things to Watch for in Final Preseason Game vs Portland

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne.
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Preseason Finale: How will Jalen Smith and Cameron Payne Shoot the Triple?

Both Cameron Payne and Jalen Smith experienced different issues while shooting the triple across Phoenix’s first three preseason games, but they can cease any worries stemming from them with strong performances during this final bout.

As a willing 3-point shooter during college and the NBA Summer League, Smith’s ability to let it fly from deep makes him valuable as a floor spacing big, especially for the Suns with Ayton estranged to the long range shot.

But Smith struggled on this front during his first preseason game, going 1-6 from beyond the arc. He then attempted only one triple during each contest after that, possibly experiencing some self doubt after the shaky performance prior.

For the reasons already mentioned, Smith’s shooting abilities poise to take this offense to an entirely different level. If he wants to consistency play for this team unlike last year, then he needs to lock back in with them, and come through with a modest performance from outside that brings back his confidence.

Payne’s struggles from deep warrant a bit more concern. Last year, he lead Phoenix from outside, shooting 44.0 percent on 3-pointers. But during the preseason, his touch looks vacant so far, with him shooting just 2-14 from range.

With these games not counting, the idea that Phoenix’s most lethal 3-point shooter no longer knows how to shoot feels like a massive overreaction. But at the same time, you cannot completely ignore these haunting numbers.

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Regardless, if Payne knocks down a few triples against Portland, he puts it all to bed. Watch for him to do so, because if he struggles again, and then starts missing next week when the regular season begins, the Suns might actually have a real problem on their hands.