Bender contributed 12 points (4-10 FG, 0-5 3Pt, 4-7 FT), 10 rebounds, two assists, and one block in 29 minutes during Sunday's 116-114 loss to the Timberwolves. Bender drew his first start of the season with Deandre Ayton (ankle) and Richaun Holmes (foot) sidelined and recorded season highs in scoring and rebounding. The 21-year-old big man has appeared in just 15 of 48 games here in 2018-19, but he made the most of his opportunity in this one. It's unclear whether Bender will remain a part of the rotation once Ayton and Holmes return to the lineup, but unless both are back immediately, Bender is likely in line to earn decent minutes again during Tuesday's rematch with the Timberwolves.
Bender is slated to start Sunday against Minnesota, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic reports. Bender will receive his first start of the season with Deandre Ayton (ankle) and Richaun Holmes (foot) both out due to injury. Bender has seen action in just two of his teams previous nine contests, and he's failed to score over that stretch.
Bender tallied eight points (3-7 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 1-1 FT) and three rebounds across 25 minutes Thursday in the Suns' 108-86 loss to the Trail Blazers. Bender has played in each of the Suns' last three games, all of which have been losses by at least 17 points. With that in mind, the elevated playing time Bender received should be taken with a grain of salt, as the Suns made it clear where the big man stands in their organization after declining his fourth-year team option earlier this season. Bound for free agency after the season, Bender probably won't get extended run in competitive games unless the Suns lose multiple rotation power forwards or centers to injury.
Bender had his fourth-year option declined by the Suns on Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The fourth overall pick in 2016, Bender is in his age 21 season and would have been owed $5.9 million next year. He was underwhelming last year in 25.2 minutes per game, averaging 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 36.6 percent from long range. Bender has appeared in just three games so far for Phoenix this season, totaling 11 minutes. It seems unlikely he'll see a significant uptick in workload for the remainder of the campaign. As a result of the team declining his option, Bender will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Bender mustered 10 points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 5-7 FT), five rebounds and one assist across 18 minutes during the Suns' 115-93 preseason loss to the Trail Blazers on Friday. One game after going scoreless over nine minutes versus New Zealand, Bender drained his first two buckets of preseason and remained aggressive, leading to plenty of visits to the charity stripe. The 2016 fourth overall pick has often underwhelmed by a significant margin over his first two seasons, and he hadn't exactly gotten his preseason off to a good start prior to Friday. However, he still projects as the top backup to new acquisition Ryan Anderson at the four, although offseason arrival Richaun Holmes could certainly press him for that spot if Bender fails to remain consistent.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||62||122||37.9||73||34.4||22||71.0||338||5.45||704|