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Unexpected lineup change shakes up the Suns against 76ers

Oct 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson (00) drives on Phoenix Suns forward Keita Bates-Diop (21) in the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

In just his third career game with the Phoenix Suns, 27-year-old Keita Bates-Diop has been given the starting nod as they face the 76ers, with both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal sidelined due to injuries.

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Bates-Diop spent the past three seasons with the Spurs before signing a two-year deal with the Suns at the end of June.

Against his former team on Tuesday, Keita scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting and ended the night with a +7 while on the court.

What makes Bates-Diop’s start against the 76ers even more improbable is that he wasn’t part of the Suns’ rotations at the beginning of the season.

In fact, he did not see minutes until game 3, and it was because the Suns were blowing out the Jazz.

However, Bates-Diop showed plenty of promise towards the end of last season as he started to really take off for the Spurs.

In the final seven games of the season, he averaged an impressive 17 points and didn’t have a single game where he finished with single-digit points.

His journey from an overlooked player to a starting role with the Suns is one worth watching.

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