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Best Individual Performances for 2021-22 Suns: Remember when these guys were good?

Which game stood out for each player?

Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

I’m not going to talk about the rough exit our Phoenix Suns had, ending a very promising season and shattering title hopes.

That’s been talked on more than enough. I’m sick of it. So, I’m going to do something a bit different.

With all the negativity everywhere, I choose to shine some light in the darkness and focus on some good from this team and its roster.

This is a happy place, at least for the duration of this piece.

Believe it or not, it isn’t doomsday and there is a lot to be happy about and a lot to still look forward to.

I looked through the 2021-22 season and playoffs for each player and picked out what I felt was their best game.


The “I Almost Forgot They Were Here” Group

Emanuel Terry
Jan 2 @ CHA
5 rebounds in 6 minutes

MJ Walker
Jan 2 @ CHA
2 steals in 8 minutes

Chandler Hutchison
Oct 23 @ POR
1-1 FG, 2 points and 2 rebounds in 6 minutes

Justin Jackson
Jan 6 vs LAC
3-4 FG, 2 treys, 8 points and 2 rebounds in 6 minutes, +18

Paris Bass
Jan 2 @ CHA
2-4 FG for 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 5 minutes

Remember the COVID crazy times of ‘hardship signings’ that hit the Suns before Christmas? Yeah, I’d almost forgotten too.

None of these guys really got a crack at decent minutes since they couldn’t crack the rotation so these choices were fairly easy. I simply went with the best game each player had.

Terry being able to grab 30 rebounds per 36 minutes and Walker swiping 10 steals per 40 minutes are pretty incredible feats if you look at it that way.


The Missed

Abdel Nader
Nov 12 @ MEM
4-5 FG with 2 treys for 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block in 18 minutes

Frank Kaminsky
Nov 10 vs POR
12-18 FG with 2 treys for 31 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block in 32 minutes and a +16 in a 10-point win

Jalen Smith
Jan 2 @ CHA
8-15 FG for 19 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in only 24 minutes and a +19

We know Coach Monty enjoyed putting the handsome Nader on the court and he had his moments. However, like Frank the Tank, the injury bug bit hard. Both could have helped against the Mavs.

The “Drafting of Jalen” was like a horror movie to some fans and then many of those fans upset at the pick are the same ones that now miss him. Hey, it happens with young talent. I wasn’t ready to give up on him and I don’t feel the Suns should have been the team to give up a pick in that trade but what’s done is done. I understand the acquisition of Torrey Craig and was happy to get him back, even though it didn’t work out. Good luck, Jalen! Come back!


The “End of Bench” Guards

Gabriel Lundberg
Apr 10 vs SAC
2 treys, 10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 0 turnovers in 27 minutes

Elfrid Payton
Feb 12 vs ORL
2 treys, 10 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 1 steal with only 1 turnover in 22 minutes

Aaron Holiday
Apr 6 @ LAC
2 treys, 16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 1 steal with only 1 turnover in 18 minutes, +30

The Suns signed the first Dane in the NBA during the season but Lundberg didn’t really play. He did well the one time he got decent minutes, showing a bit of an all-around game.

Elf had a good game here and there, showing the ability to pad the stat sheet but he wasn’t in the rotation when the games mattered.

The other Holiday brother played very well when he came onto the court and like many, I feel he should have had a lot more playing time than he did.


Forward Depth

Torrey Craig
Mar 16 @ HOU
8-8 FG with 3 treys for 21 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 34 minutes, +27

Ish Wainright
Apr 6 @ LAC
4 treys, 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 0 turnovers, +36

I really like Torrey. His energy, hustle, and ability to step up when needed. That was seen much more in his first stint with the team and not as much during this season. However, when the Suns played the Rockets that night he showed what he can do. That’s a line!

Ish is such a good dude and he’s a better player than he’s given credit for, not to mention the fact that he’s built like a tank. He had a career night against the Clippers.


Sham-Payne/Champagne

Landry Shamet
Nov 4 vs HOU
4 treys, 19 points and 4 assists in 19 minutes, +6

Cam Payne
Mar 15 @ NO
5-6 FG with 2 treys for 14 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 turnovers in 27 minutes, +18

While Shamet wasn’t what the team needed him to be this season, he can shoot and score. Consistency would be nice but a point per minute like he did against the Rockets would go a long way.

Payne had a down year compared to the season prior but he still had some solid showings. If he played more like he did in 2020-21 when the Suns went to the Finals, Chris Paul could have rested more and the ending to the season could have been a much happier one.


Size Matters

Bismack Biyombo
Jan 22 vs IND
9-12 FG for 21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in 30 minutes

JaVale McGee
Dec 10 vs BOS
9-16 FG with 1 trey for 21 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks in 26 minutes, +18

After the center position behind DA being a weakness in 2020-21, it was a definite strength in 2021-22. When their names were called, the big guys more than rose to the occasion.


It was hard to pick just one for some so don’t judge my picks too harshly. Also, please feel free to tell us your choices in the comments below.

Coming tomorrow, the starters...