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The curious case of Davon Reed

Since returning from a partially torn meniscus in January, the No. 32 overall pick has been continuously usurped under Jay Triano's rotation. Why?

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Before Davon Reed’s rookie season could even kick off, he like many other Suns were hit with the injury bug right before training camp began in Flagstaff. Not only did Brandon Knight tear his ACL in July, but Alan Williams also suffered a partially torn meniscus like Reed a month after in September.

It was unfortunate because outside of Josh Jackson, I came away most impressed with Reed compared to the likes of Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender up at Summer League in Las Vegas. Not only did Reed look every bit the part of an immediate contributor as a 3-and-D wing in the Suns’ rotation, but he was out there being the most vocal of anyone else.

For someone Phoenix targeted right at the beginning of the draft process, Reed’s leadership qualities alongside his already established two-way profile stood out in-person.

Reed went on to average 14 points and 4 rebounds for the Suns in July, but the knee injury was a major setback that caused an immediate shuffle in the guard rotation.

Remember, without Reed going under the knife, Phoenix would have never made the move for Troy Daniels. Alongside acquiring Daniels, the Suns also were gifted the second round pick that turned into Elfrid Payton later on in February.

Heading into his rookie season, Reed was expected to be Devin Booker’s backup in the second unit but that meniscus tear has thrown a wrench in those plans. Let's not forget about how big of a deal this might be for Reed, though, as far as his knee goes.

This is Reed’s second meniscus tear in the last three years. The same injury occurred to him heading into his sophomore campaign at Miami (FL), so it’s fair to ask whether his knees are already set up to be a long-term issue.

Reed was able to bounce back fine, but in the NBA it’s a whole different animal and since his return from injury he would likely admit that.

With the guard/wing rotation already featuring names like Booker, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, and Daniels, the Suns decided on letting Reed work back slowly from his surgery with NAZ in Prescott Valley.

One troubling thing with Reed right now (hopefully it isn’t once next fall rolls around from a front office lens) is his perimeter shot isn’t consistent at all since his knee operation.

Reed appeared in 12 games for the NAZ Suns averaging 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3 assists, and nearly 1 block + steal per game in 25.3 minutes. However, his shooting splits weren’t pretty sitting at 31.4/28.6/79.1.

It turns out, those shooting woes transferred over once he returned for good with the regular Suns. In 17 games, only 185 total minutes, Reed has put together a woeful split of 29.8/32.1/62.5 including 27.6% inside the arch.

Is that the reason why Reed has not seen any consistent time at all this season in his rotation? That’s where I keep coming back towards when looking for a reason why, but in a lost year like this one, this is one of the bigger gaffs by the coaching staff thus far unless Reed is actually not producing above undrafted products like Danuel House Jr. and Shaquille Harrison.

Also, Triano has reluctantly stuck with Daniels through thick and thin even though he’s only a one-way player. Far and away since 2018 began, Daniels is near the bottom in almost every team defensive metric. That can span across the entire season, too, because Daniels outside of shooting a lot of three-pointers as a floor spacer doesn’t contribute much on the floor.

If Triano would have started slowing Daniels’ minutes down like he did to other veterans such as Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler, Reed might have been given a fair crack to earn a spot in the rotation.

Outside of two appearances — ironically Reed performed well in those instances tallying 23 and 18 minutes respectively — he has not seen any playing time under Triano unless it’s a game where the result is already known in advance.

By the way, those two outings by Reed featured a 16-6-2-1 while going 4-4 on 3s against Charlotte and 5 steals versus Orlando.

With House firmly ahead of him in the rotation as undrafted product who was on the Wizards last season, what’s this mean for Reed moving forward? Does his knee flare up on occasion or is House actually outperforming Reed in every facet possible?

Those are questions that need to be tackled by the Suns’ front office very soon. Is Reed someone they could quickly replace in the upcoming draft and decline his team option while keeping someone else or is this just a rollercoaster beginning for the rookie? That now is something myself am very curious about heading into an eventful summer for Phoenix.

When asked about it by the media multiple times over the past 5-6 weeks about Reed’s lack of playing time, Triano cites a coaching decision and their overall depth at that position.

We don’t know all the answers about Reed’s situation, but this has been one to follow more closely since the All-Star break. And now with only four games left in the season, it looks like nothing is on the horizon as far as his inclusion goes.

On Sunday when the Suns clinched a franchise record for most consecutive losses with 15, 222/240 minutes were filled by players in their first or second seasons.

Where did those 18 minutes go? It went to Daniels while Reed received another DNP.

After selecting Reed over the likes of Jordan Bell, Semi Ojeleye, and Dillon Brooks, that pick will have to pan out for Phoenix. All of the sudden, Reed’s future isn’t exactly known at the moment but it should be an easy answer: Absolutely, he’s apart of the core moving forward.

Standing at 6’5” with a 7’ wingspan, Reed fits the billing of what Phoenix is looking for when constructing a modern-day roster with versatile, long wings who can switch all the over the place.

However, as Reed gets vaulted over by the likes of House and Harrison, the question might need to be asked about whether he will get a fair crack anytime soon. Not only that, but those knees of Reed will have to prove durable because having the same injury happen twice in three years signals some possible red flags when looking into the future.

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