When the Phoenix Suns introduced the update that points guard Chris Paul is missing six to eight weeks due to a fracture in his right thumb, the biggest question was Cam Payne’s backup status.
Payne has not played since January 20 due to a sprain of his right wrist. The team originally gave a two-week schedule to reevaluate the 27-year-old, and since that date was passed on February 7, there has been no further update from head coach Monty Williams or the Suns after the title-holding Payne. daily situation.
Join Payne Burns and Jumbo at Arizona Sports On Tuesday and more or less the same feelings.
“I’m starting to feel better,” he said. “It still kind of has some little complications with it, but now it’s just a daily issue.”
When asked if he could be back within the next week or so, Pine said, “I’m praying for that too.”
Payne said he received shots at the training facility on Tuesday, which appears to be a sign of progress.
Prior to the Suns’ win over the Orlando Magic on February 12, Payne was seen with some type of brace or soft cast on his right wrist and did not use his right hand with the ball because he kept his conditioning in order.
I first noticed this on Cam Payne’s twisted right wrist. It mostly works by doing things on the field with one hand. pic.twitter.com/savwhTzAoc
– Kelan Olson February 13, 2022
Without Paul, the Suns would really need Payne. Third point guard Elfrid Payton has been inconsistent during the season while acquisition deadline trade Aaron Holiday has proven to be more of a combo guard during his four-year NBA career rather than someone running the offense like Payne or Payton.
Then there’s combo guard Landry Shamet, who has been out since January 30 after injuring his right ankle. Schmitt said after the February 15 shootout that he expects to return sometime after the All-Star break. The good news there is that Schmidt has been so mobile and active in court work that the media has been able to see, so the feeling is that he could be back soon.
Payne had a poor start to the season before firing 44.6% from the field and 40% with a 3-point range in his last 13 games. That was an encouraging bump from his overall numbers of 40.4% and 33.6% respectively, deep drops after Payne was the top three back-up points in the NBA last year.
That gave the Suns great dynamism in this situation, with Paul’s driving rhythm and slowing cadence bolstered by Payne’s fast, offensive pace.
Statistically, this is the biggest change for a Phoenix when one of them is on Earth. Minutes with Paul with no Payne having a pace number of 100.19, which would still be the top 10 mark in the league. But when Payne plays without Paul, the output is an awful 103.91, which is the output that will take the top spot.
Payne talked about this split.
“Be more consistent, be more solid, and find a medium with the pace of the game I bring and what I bring to the table each night,” Payne said. “I like to play really fast, C has a different kind of speed too, and I have to be able to go between those two steps and make sure I get the ball in the hands of the right people over the course of the matches.”
In Payne’s view, there is a balance between these styles of play. The ratio of Phoenix’s assist to rotation in these Paul minutes minus Payne is 2.62 and vice versa drops to 1.42.
Payne, of course, has stepped in like this before. He was great in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals when Paul had COVID-19.
These efficient minutes mean a lot and provide Pine with confidence when he has to hurry up when he gets back.
“It would just be me,” he said of the way he’s trying to play without Paul. “I feel like I know how to balance that. Like I said earlier, I did really well when C was out during playoffs and I figured that out along the way. I just feel like I’m going to mix it up. I know Chris is going to be there, so he’s going to guide me through that as well as the coach.” Mont.
“I feel like I got the ability to slow it down but I also have the ability to be myself and play fast. But there are always points in the game where you have to slow it down and make sure we consistently get good shots.”
All stats via NBA.com/stats