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Saben Lee showed flashes in Suns debut

Just hours after signing with the Phoenix Suns, the 10-day contract signee played well in 15 minutes

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

It was a whirlwind of a day for Saben Lee, whose reported signing came just 11 hours before the Phoenix Suns tipped off against the Denver Nuggets on the road.

Oftentimes, players on 10-day contracts can take a while to settle in to their new (temporary) homes, but Lee was able to start ahead of the curve thanks to the time he spent in Phoenix during the preseason. That familiarity — and overall aggressive nature — empowered him to succeed just hours after returning to the fold.

In 15 minutes in his regular season debut for the Suns, Lee posted eight points (2-4 FG, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, and four assists (just one turnover). He also posted the second-best plus/minus among the bench players at -1, behind +2 from Ish Wainright.

Now. We should be sure to take everything I say here with a grain of salt for a couple different reasons. First, just about all of Lee’s time came with the game well out of hand so it was, as the kids say, “garbage time.” Secondly, it’s just a 10-day contract and that isn’t likely to change.

He just played well on a night where most Suns didn’t, and I’d rather spend my time on something positive when everything is so out-of-whack and maybe not worth evaluating too seriously.

If Lee did nothing else on Wednesday, he truly played hard. Each of his points — including those at the free throw line — came by way of attacking the defense and forcing them onto their heels. On a couple instances, that involved patient knifing between defenders, which greatly impressed me given his career background. Here are those drives:

Lee’s assists were leveraged off of that driving threat coming off of penetration while one even included a post entry pass, which many Suns have struggled with in Deandre Ayton’s time in Phoenix. Here are a few of the examples:

Bottom line is that Lee played a solid 15 minutes, and it was fun, and I wanted to shine a light on it. Life lesson for the day is remember to enjoy good things even when other things are not so good!

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