Bender contributed 17 points (6-10 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 2-3 FT), six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in Friday's 118-11 win over the Mavericks.
It seemed extremely unlikely that Bender would be no more than a minor role player when the Bucks acquired him, but right now, he looks nothing like the guy who toiled in Phoenix for three seasons. He had some flashes of good play when injuries began to decimate the Suns' roster, but overall the Croatian product has failed to impress. The new locale seems to be working wonders currently, so we shall see how he is implemented moving forward.
Bender registered 11 points (3-5 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 3-4 FT), three rebounds, two assists and three blocks across 15 minutes during the Bucks' 133-99 preseason win over the Jazz on Wednesday.
Through two preseason games, Bender has looked nothing like the perpetual underachiever he was in Phoenix over the first three seasons of his career. The 2016 fourth overall pick did have a handful of solid performances as the regular season would down last spring, and he's picked up where he left off with back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts in as many exhibitions. If Bender can keep up his current level of play, he could potentially carve out a serviceable amount of minutes in the frontcourt rotation, although capable veteran Ersan Ilyasova (rest) does slot in ahead of him on the power forward depth chart behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Bender, who was previously expected to sign in Russia, has changed course and will sign a two-year deal with the Bucks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
The former fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Bender has failed to live up to expectations placed on him by his draft position. While he's made some strides in rebounding and passing since his rookie season, Bender was projected to be a stretch big in the NBA, and he has posted just a 32.1 career three-point percentage. Still, Bender is 21 years old and has upside considering his 7-foot-1 frame and professional pedigree from overseas success. Ultimately, signing Bender represents a low-risk move for the Bucks, who have come to value floor-spacing bigs.
Bender is expected to sign with CSKA Moscow, Sportando reports.
The No. 4 overall pick in 2016, Bender quickly fell out of the league after three wildly disappointing seasons in Phoenix. In 2018-19, Bender averaged 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game, but he shot just 21.8 percent from three (22-101). While there's still a chance Bender could sign with another NBA team next season, there doesn't appear to be much of a market for the 21-year-old.
Bender contributed 12 points (4-9 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT), 11 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block in 36 minutes during Tuesday's 120-109 loss to the Mavericks.
Bender finished the season in style, hauling in a season high rebounding total while matching his season high in assists. He finishes the campaign with five double-doubles across 46 games, this compared to combining for four through his first two years (125 games) in the league.
Bender generated 19 points (7-17 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 4-8 FT), eight rebounds and one steal in 36 minutes Sunday in the Suns' 149-113 loss to the Rockets.
Though the Suns declined his fourth-year option earlier this season, Bender has still occupied a regular role in the rotation since the All-Star break with numerous frontcourt players sidelined by injury. After mostly tepid performances in March, Bender has ratcheted up his numbers through the Suns' first four games of the current month, averaging 12.3 points, 8.8 boards, 2.8 assists and 2.0 blocks in 31.0 minutes per contest. Teams won't overreact to a small sample of late-season performances, but Bender's late surge should at least be enough to earn him a guaranteed contract when he becomes a free agent in July.
Bender generated 12 points (6-11 FG, 0-4 3Pt), 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks across 27 minutes in the Suns' 122-113 win over the Cavaliers on Monday.
Bender stepped up his numbers for the third straight game, and his double-double was his first since Jan. 22. The 2016 fourth overall pick has mostly endured another disappointing season, but he's averaging 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals over his last three contests. If Deandre Ayton (ankle) misses another game Wednesday, Bender could potentially see another bump in usage in that contest.
Bender mustered eight points (2-5 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks across 30 minutes in the Suns' 120-115 loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday.
Bender was minimally involved on the offensive end, but both of the buckets he drained came from three-point range. Additionally, he was solid on the boards and checked off each box on the stat sheet as well, generating a strong follow-up to his 12-point, six-rebound, two-block effort against the Wizards on Wednesday. However, with Josh Jackson now back in action after a three-game absence, Bender's time with the starting five may not last much longer.
Bender had three points, three rebounds, and one assist in 14 minutes during Wednesday's 114-97 loss to the Jazz.
Bender played just 14 minutes in Wednesday's loss, continuing to run with the opening five despite basically no production. He has certainly not progressed as the Suns would have liked and can be left on all waiver wires.
Bender compiled just five points, three rebounds, and two assists in 16 minutes during Saturday's 127-120 loss to the Trail Blazers.
Bender remained in the starting lineup Saturday, but once again provided basically no production. Josh Jackson was moved to the bench to provide offense and Bender was the next man up. He is not good and at this stage, it would be surprising to see him in the rotation next season. He can be left alone in all formats.
Bender had just five points, three rebounds, and one steal in 17 minutes during Saturday's 118-109 victory over the Lakers.
Bender remained in the starting lineup Saturday but had just five points in 17 minutes. The move is a questionable one, however, the Suns have won both games in which he has started. No matter his role, Bender is not worth owning in basically any format.
Bender will start Friday's game against the Pelicans.
After sitting out Monday's tilt with Miami, Bender will return to the lineup and start in place of Josh Jackson. IN 26 appearances this year, the third-year forward's averaging 3.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 12.6 minutes.
Bender moved to the bench for Sunday's 117-104 loss to the Kings and finished with two points (1-3 FG, 0-2 3Pt), six rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes.
With the Suns welcoming Devin Booker (hamstring) back after a two-game absence, Bender was unsurprisingly the odd man out of the starting five. While he still held down a rotation gig as the backup power forward, Bender's playing time will likely dry up as soon as T.J. Warren (ankle) is ready to play again.
Bender totaled two points, six rebounds, and five assists in 18 minutes during Friday's 117-107 loss to Golden State.
Bender moved into the starting lineup Friday but was certainly far from productive. He can be left on the waivers in nearly every format.
Bender will draw another start Friday against Golden State.
Bender was held scoreless in his last start Wednesday against Utah, but he'll surprisingly get another shot Friday evening. He'll be in for a tough matchup against one of the better teams in the league.
Bender was held scoreless (0-1 FG) and grabbed five rebounds across 14 minutes while starting at power forward Wednesday in the Suns' 116-88 loss to the Jazz.
Bender moved up to the top unit while Devin Booker (hamstring) sat out but did little turning his time on the court. That's been a familiar refrain for Bender throughout his three-year career, and his fortunes are unlikely to change for the better even if he sticks in Phoenix through the trade deadline. Bound for free agency this summer after the Suns declined his 2019-20 option, Bender should be one of the first players dropped from the rotation once either Booker or the newly acquired Tyler Johnson is ready to play.
Bender will start Wednesday's game against the Jazz.
Despite playing sparingly this season, Bender has been promoted to the starting five ahead of Wednesday's game against the Jazz for matchup purposes. While it's unlikely he continues to run with the starters beyond Wednesday, Bender will have a chance to see extra minutes and could improve upon his season averages of 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game.
Bender did not see the court during Monday's 118-110 loss to the Rockets.
Bender was upgraded to available for Saturday's matchup with the Hawks after previously being listed as out with a sprained thumb. However, with Deandre Ayton back in the mix and Richaun Holmes receiving all the leftover minutes at center behind the rookie, Bender has apparently (and unsurprisingly) been squeezed out of the rotation, receiving a DNP-Coach's Decision in both of the last two bouts. He had a couple decent outings while Ayton and Holmes were banged up, but Bender can be avoided across all formats unless injuries strike again.
Bender (thumb) has been upgraded to available after being previously ruled out Saturday against the Hawks, Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com reports.
A sprained thumb ultimately won't keep Bender sidelined Saturday. However, with Deandre Ayton back in the lineup, it's unclear if Bender will see the floor.
Bender (thumb) is out Saturday against the Hawks, Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com reports.
A sprained right thumb will keep Bender out, though he was set to see a decline in minutes due to the return of Deandre Ayton (ankle). Bender's next chance to play arrives Monday against the Rockets.
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