The Phoenix Suns have been looking to get back on the right track. The hope is that one veteran returning to the lineup can be the spark that they need with the NBA playoffs looming.
With superstar Kevin Durant still out with an injury, Phoenix has struggled when it comes to filling the void. Replacing the production of a high-caliber player like Durant is challenging to say the least. But the Suns know that the time is now for veterans to rise to the occasion. One player who will be called upon to player a bigger role for Phoenix moving forward is veteran wing Landry Shamet.
Shamet returned to the court for the Suns after missing 25 games with a right foot injury. The versatile wing made his return on Sunday, March 19 against the Oklahoma City Thunder finishing with 10 points, including 3-of-4 from downtown. His return would be spoiled by the Thunder, who went on to defeat the Suns 124-120.
Speaking to AZCentral.com Duane Rankin after the game, Shamet spoke about how he felt to return to the court with his teammates.
“Felt good just to be back playing,” Shamet said. “It’s been a long two months just having to sit and watch. Felt good. Felt good to get back out there and I’m excited for what we have coming down the stretch.”
Suns Hope to Get Boost From Landry Shamet in Rotation
The Suns are looking for answers in their rotation moving forward. Despite the amount of star power on the roster, Phoenix has struggled to find a groove when it comes to the their depth as the regular season winds down.
One potential solution to that problem could be the return of Shamet to the court. Sunday marked the first game for Shamet since a road matchup on January 16 against the Memphis Grizzlies. But it’s simply going to take some time for Shamet to get back into game shape, especially coming off such an extended absence.
Head coach Monty Williams knows that Shamet can be just what the Suns need when it comes to a versatile wing on both sides of the ball. But Williams also knows that Shamet will have to get his conditioning back first.
“I thought he was good,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Unfortunate he’s on a minute restriction. Probably got him a little bit more than we planned on. We’ll see how he responds, but he spaced the floor well. Defensively, he’s a guy that we trust to play on the ball and get over screens. It was good to have him back in the lineup.”
Phoenix Suns Eyeing Challenging Upcoming Slate of Games
The end of the regular season can always present challenges for any team that is battling for positioning in the NBA playoffs. This 2022-23 Suns team is no different, as they eye one of their biggest stretches of the year.
Phoenix currently finds themselves in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 38-33. Normally, that would be a promising start considering the fact that only eleven games remain in the regular season. But the Suns also find themselves just two games up of the Golden State Warriors from falling to sixth place in the standings.
The first test for the Suns will be on Wednesday as they are heading to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The game won’t come easy, as the Lakers are desperately trying to claw their way up the standings to earn a spot in a potential play-in game. After their matchup against the Lakers, Phoenix will take on one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference Friday in the Sacramento Kings.