Phoenix Suns: Predicting player stats for 2022-23 – Cameron Payne

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

Across September, Valley of the Suns will deliver predicted stat lines for all 16 players currently contracted to the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.

After being a key piece to the Phoenix Suns rise to the NBA Finals in 2021, it’s fair to say that Cameron Payne’s year didn’t go entirely to plan last season. While he played greater minutes during the regular season, the offensive efficiency dwindled and by the end of the playoffs, the 28-year-old found himself benched and out of Monty Williams’ rotation.

Despite his poor finish, Payne remains the sole candidate for the Suns backup point-guard position. This, combined with Chris Paul’s advancing age, means the responsibility on him appears greater than ever.

Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne has some work in front of him to regain the faith of fans after a disappointing conclusion to his 2021-22 season.

The 6’1″ guard was a revelation in his first full season with the Suns. Payne’s blend of playmaking and slithery finishes delighted fans, while he found range in his three-point shooting. He shot 48.4% from the floor and 44% from three, numbers that proved well and truly unsustainable heading into last season.

He reverted to 40.9% from the field and 33.6% from deep, numbers that only worsened once the playoffs arrived. Most importantly though, Payne became much more turnover prone, his 1.8 per game easily a career-high.

With his defense average at best, Payne becomes a fairly futile player when the offense isn’t clicking efficiently. Shooting less than 30% from the field and 20% from three in the playoffs won’t adhere anyone to fans, especially when the team goes onto a shocking loss in game seven of the second-round.

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The franchise’s current faith in Payne is a little perplexing, particularly given his 2020-21 season appears more like a flash in the pan at this point. His numbers should remain fairly similar to last season, however I’d be shocked if the Suns don’t add to their guard rotation at some stage as the year progresses.

Predicted statistical averages – 19.9 minutes, 9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.2 blocks, 1.2 turnovers, 42.1% FG, 35.8% 3PT