Damion Lee returns after feeling love from Suns fans
Aug 2, 2023, 3:15 PM
Damion Lee #10 of the Phoenix Suns during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Footprint Center on January 21, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns beat the Pacers 112-107. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
BY KELLAN OLSON
Damion Lee has the unique distinction of being just one of six players from the Phoenix Suns’ standard 15-man roster last year that will be returning next season.
Lee signed a two-year deal with the Suns on the veteran’s minimum, one a few signings given the flexibility of a second-year player option.
The 30-year-old has had better seasons statistically but his one year in Phoenix was undoubtedly the top one for his career. In a sporadic yet consistent role that saw him finish sixth minutes played last season, Lee’s breakthrough as one of the NBA’s best shooters was a huge difference-maker, having his 44.5% mark from 3-point range finish third leaguewide.
Lee’s high motor and smarts all across the floor made him an impact player when he was in there, certifying himself as someone who belonged. He spoke candidly about how much that specific bit meant to him after leaving the Golden State Warriors following a four-year stint there.
Lee told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that coming back to the Suns was in his interests.
“I for sure wanted to be back,” Lee said. “Especially talking to Book, the love here felt in the Valley, there’s no other love like it. Even when you go to the stores, the fans feel like they’re on the team. And it’s just that hunger of wanting to not only play for yourself but play for the city. But for me, it was if the opportunity presented itself, wanting to come back. And it did, and coming back on a multi-year deal was something I was looking forward to.”
After the Suns reloaded their depth, Lee will be competing with a handful of names for playing time. Eric Gordon, Jordan Goodwin and Josh Okogie will be in the way when it comes to responsibilities on the perimeter, and forward Yuta Watanabe is a fellow sharpshooter that can space the floor. Regardless, Lee proved last year he always stays ready and can be effective no matter how long he’s been off the floor, a big reason why he’s back.