Not all 10-day contracts are created equal... is not a phrase you’re probably used to hearing. In the case of Saben Lee, who just finished his first 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns, it couldn’t ring more true.
With the added help of spending part of preseason with the Suns, Lee came in ready to play on such a short contract and really put his fingerprints on each minute he played. The other difference is that most often, 10-day players don’t get much on-court run, but Lee totaled 87 minutes over the four games he played in, including nearly 30 minutes in each of the final two.
Overall, the 10-day standout averaged 11.3 points (52/43/78 shooting splits), 2.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists (1.0 turnover) in 21.8 minutes per game. He logged an otherworldly .667 free throw rate at 7.4 FTA/36 possessions, the latter of which is the top mark on Phoenix, higher than Devin Booker’s 6.5 FTA/36.
Lee also finished his contract averaging 11.5 drives per game per NBA.com, which ranks second on the team behind Booker’s 12.9 drives. Lee also shot 75.0% on catch-and-shoot three-pointers (granted on just 1.0 attempt per game).
Saben Lee is putting in that work from down town. pic.twitter.com/mwpbQTpTg1— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) January 20, 2023
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Lee’s decisiveness from a depleted point guard rotation that even saw him (seemingly) pass up Duane Washington Jr. in the depth chart, though that move may have just been to evaluate Lee while he was in the building with such limited time.
During his fourth and final (for now?) game with Phoenix, a 5-point win over the Brooklyn Nets — his only win thus far — Lee posted Suns career-highs in points (15), assists (six), three-point makes (two), and minutes (29).
During the game, I even tried (and failed, if you hate typos) to make the point that James Jones shouldn’t let Lee leave the building without some sort of extension. Unfortunately for both me and Lee, he did go home without an extension (as far as we know) and doesn’t have one to start Jan. 20, the final day of his 10-day contract.
Even accounting for Jae Crowder sitting on the couch, the Suns have an open roster spot. They could also freely swap out one of their two-way slots — Ish Wainright or the aforementioned Washington Jr., who seemed to fall behind Lee in the rotation — to make room for Lee to stick around.
Count me all the way in on Saben being in the Valley going forward.