Well, that’s an interesting twist of fate, isn’t it? Saben Lee was brought back to the Phoenix Suns today after being released yesterday after two 10-day contracts with the team. You ever feel like you just heartfully said, “good bye”, only to have that person surprisingly return the next day?
The Phoenix Suns are signing guard Saben Lee to a two-way NBA deal and waiving Duane Washington Jr., sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Lee earns deal with Suns after strong stint on 10-days. Washington has scoring ability, averaging 8 points in 13 minutes per game this season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 1, 2023
The debate I mentioned at the end of my “farewell piece” to Saben Lee, pondering whether he or DWJ was a more valuable asset to the team, was apparently something on general manager James Jones’ mind. Champ opted to release Washington from his two-way contract, and fill that roster spot with the aforementioned Lee.
You might not think this was possible, considering the CBA. All two-way contracts must be filled by January 15. But there has been a caveat this season.
Something that probably only interests me…— SoSaysJ (@SoSaysJ) February 1, 2023
Under the CBA, this would not normally be allowed because the deadline to sign a two-way player is 1/15.
But with COVID, the NBA modified the two-way rules for 2021-22 and continued that modification - for the most part - this season. https://t.co/NBtbW6a2sM
Duane Washington, Jr. has been a solid contributor for the Phoenix Suns this season. The second-year guard from Ohio State University has provided an offensive spark during moments in which the team was desperate for scoring. While he’s built like a point guard – he stands 6’3” tall – he possesses the mentality of a shooting guard.
How can you forget his 26-point performance on December 27 against the Memphis Grizzlies?
DWJ first displayed his scoring prowess in the preseason when he scored 31 points against the Sacramento Kings. He continued to be a solid contributor to the team, especially considering how many injuries they’ve had to navigate through the first 52 games of the season.
He played in a total of 31 games – starting 3 – and averaged 7.9 points in 12.7 minutes played. He did so shooting 36.7% from the field and 36% from three-point range. He has struggled of late, however, averaging 5.8 points on 26.5/31.6/60 splits in his last 6 games, which included 2 starts.
Alas, Jones had to make a decision as to what is more valuable to the team. A small shooting guard archetype or a player who is a distributor.
When the roster is right and everybody’s healthy, Saben Lee is a back up to the back of point guard. He is in every sense of the word just that, a point guard. Again, he possesses a greater affinity to be a distributor of the ball rather than a shoot first option.
So we welcome #38 back to the team, and say, “thank you” to Duane Washington, Jr. Thank you for providing some stability to a team that was in desperate need of it this season. DWJ will surely land on his feet; he put together four 20+ point performances in his time in Phoenix. The league loves a scorer, and Washington surely possesses that ability.