Phoenix Suns Player Grades Through First Quarter of 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

Grading Phoenix Suns Bench

As a whole, this unit looks fun and effective each night out, as they continue building reps together.

Cameron Johnson

After his first 10 games where he struggled quite noticeably, Cameron Johnson regained his touch from beyond the arc. He now finds himself averaging 11.6 points per game, with .47/.44/.71 shooting splits.

His ability to fill lanes and find the right shooting spots in transition makes him a fantastic asset. Johnson’s defense remains underrated as well, thanks to his sneaky lateral quickness. His growing connectivity with new addition Landry Shamet also allows the Suns to run with twin snipers whenever they please.

JaVale McGee

A walking revelation, JaVale McGee has been a godsend for the Suns. Very few bigs are more effective than him off the bench. He always knows his role, and plays it so well.

Per 36 minutes, he averages 23.3 points, 16.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks. He already looks like a well-paid off signing for James Jones this summer, certain to keep this team moving forward.

Cameron Payne

The synergy that Payne quickly established with McGee pumps life into Phoenix’s second unit. They developed a feel for one another especially during pick-and-roll sets, especially when Payne attacks and McGee lurks for an offensive rebound.

Payne does look a bit shaky as a scorer right now, which needs to change as he continues to ramp up. Shooting at 38.0 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from deep, hopefully he ascends back to the mean, and grows more impactful.

Landry Shamet

Despite some fans casting stones his way, the numbers illustrate Shamet as a positive addition for the Suns this year.

He owns the team’s second highest 3-point percentage, hitting at a 40.4 percent clip. His off-ball movement helps the team’s offense flow exponentially as well. It also looks like he contracted the “clutch bug” from Paul and Booker, recently including back-to-back games with impactful fourth quarter shots.

His field goal efficiency will rise in time, currently at 37.6 percent, as he keeps taking good shots both from range and at the rim.

Grade: B+