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.
Bender recorded just two blocks in nine minutes during Wednesday's 91-86 preseason victory over the New Zealand Breakers.
Bender's downward spiral continued Wednesday as he was basically an afterthought in the Suns preseason victory. The coaching staff may have given up on Bender and there is a real possibility he falls out of the rotation altogether come the start of the regular season. He is not fantasy relevant in any format until further notice.
Bender finished with just five points and five rebounds in eight minutes during Friday's 90-55 summer league victory over the Spurs.
Bender saw limited playing time in a game that saw plenty of minutes for the bench guys. To say he has had an underwhelming summer league would be putting it nicely. He has shown very little for the coaching staff to get excited about and there is a very real chance he has fallen behind some of the younger guys and is a chance of falling out of the rotation altogether.
Bender tallied 11 points (4-10 FG, 3-6 3Pt), eight rebounds and one block in 27 minutes during Monday's 71-53 summer league victory over the Magic.
Bender rebounded from his zero-point outing on Saturday with an improved performance against the Magic. He was just two rebounds shy of a double-double but still failed to dominate in the way Suns coaching staff would have been hoping for. Coming into his third season, Bender is going to need to show something quickly or risk falling out of the rotation as Mikal Bridges looks to take advantage.
Bender managed 15 points (5-6 FG, 3-4 3Pt, 2-3 FT), 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks during Tuesday's 124-97 win at Dallas.
This was Bender's second straight double-double as he concluded the season in a strong way Tuesday. The Croatia native appeared in every game for the Suns this year and averaged 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists during his second NBA season with the Suns.
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