Forgotten two-way point guard getting some run with the Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are needing help from all areas to keep up with the Western Conference pace setters, and this forgotten two-way point guard is helping.
Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns
Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have been at their maddeningly inconsistent best since the return from the All-Star break, looking great on some nights and disappointing on others. A fantastic win against the Los Angeles Lakers being preceded with back-to-back losses to the Houston Rockets, as well as those pesky Dallas Mavericks.

Bradley Beal has been out since mid-Feburary - although by the time you read this the next update on him could be a lot more positive - and it has been up to the newly acquired Royce O'Neale and intriguing Bol Bol to pick up the slack. Both have performed admirably, but the Suns need help from all areas to be competitive outside of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

Which is where the rarely used or thought about point guard Saben Lee enters the picture, as the two-way player has gotten some run recently.

Before February, Lee had only appeared in 11 games all season. He did manage 11.8 minutes per game during a three game stretch in late December - but outside of that unexpected run as head coach Frank Vogel looked for a winning formula - Lee was used sparingly.

This made sense though, because the Suns this season have really committed to Booker as their leading point guard, whether Beal is healthy or not. Which he generally hasn't been - but with the emergence of Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic in their starting five - there was no space for another floor general.

It is why Jordan Goodwin was moved at the trade deadline, and why Lee barely saw any time on the court. Yet in February he played in five games, which doesn't sound like a lot but it has been a steady enough role in which he has managed 9.6 minutes per game and five points, which is the same scoring output as that cameo role in December.

But what changed to let the door open for Lee again? Four of the five games came after Beal went down with a hamstring injury, with the Suns seemingly only turning to Lee because Beal was out, Goodwin was gone and the front office also moved out other guys such as Keita Bates-Diop who could have played at the deadline.

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With Beal's return likely to come against the Houston Rockets, it will be interest to see how Lee is impacted by this. He's way behind O'Neale and Grayson Allen for backcourt minutes, although Eric Gordon has also missed some time recently, and so Lee may yet still profit.

Nevertheless, you need a deep squad to keep you afloat during the regular season, and to that end Lee has held up his side of the bargain. He spends time away from the team because his contract stipulates that he has to, and then when he is around he sometimes doesn't play. But he's stood up and played a minor role recently, and it has taken a small bit of pressure off Booker in the process.