Spalding drew his first career start in Friday's 133-126 overtime win over the Pelicans and totaled 21 points (10-13 FG, 1-2 FT), 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks across 29 minutes.
With Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes both sitting due to ankle injuries, Spalding was the next man up and turned in an excellent all-around performance. The 22-year-old has seen minimal opportunity this season after being selected in the second round by the Mavericks last June. His minutes had mostly been in the single digits since joining the Suns in early March, but he could be in for extended opportunity over the final two games of the campaign.
Spalding will draw his first career start at center in Friday's game against the Pelicans.
With Deandre Ayton (ankle) and Richaun Holmes (ankle) sidelined the Suns are spread very thin in their frontcourt. As a result, Spalding looks to be in line for the heaviest workload of his young career. He has averaged just 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds across 7.9 minutes in nine games with the Suns.
Phoenix elected to retain the rookie forward/center after the 10-day contract he signed Feb. 21 lapsed. Spalding has yet to appear in a game for the Suns since joining the organization and may end up seeing most of his opportunities in the G League over the next month.
A second-round pick out of Louisville, Spalding agreed to a four-year contract with the Mavericks in July and played one minute in the team's season opener, but that marked his lone appearance for the club before he was waived in January. He's instead spent much of his first professional season in the G League, where he's averaged 15.9 points (on 51.4 percent shooting from the field), 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes over his 29 appearances. He's unlikely to be a major factor in the rotation for the duration of his stint in Phoenix.
Spalding was waived by the Mavericks on Thursday, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News reports.
Spalding was the roster casualty needed to create space for the influx of players coming over in the team's blockbuster trade with the Knicks on Thursday. The 21-year-old is averaging 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and a combined 4.0 blocks/steals per game in the G League and will look to latch on elsewhere as depth.
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