Dragan Bender
Dragan Bender
21-Year-Old ForwardF
Phoenix Suns
2018 Fantasy Outlook
After playing in just 43 games as a rookie, Bender took the court for all 82 contests this past season, including picking up 37 starts. He nearly doubled his playing time, going from 13.3 minutes to 25.2, while posting career highs across the board. However, those averages were still just 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists, so despite the improvements, Bender wasn't a viable Fantasy option in the bulk of leagues. His upside as a floor-stretching big man still remains after hitting 1.4 three-pointers at a 36.6 percent clip, but if he doesn't take another step forward as an all-around player during the upcoming campaign, the Suns could look elsewhere to fill their power forward minutes. With the potential for the Suns to roll out some small ball lineups with guys like Trevor Ariza and T.J. Warren at the four, as well as less time being available at center following the addition of No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, Bender could have a tough time even matching his workload from last year. It'll be safe to avoid Bender in a plethora of different formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $8.74 million contract with the Suns in July of 2016. Suns exercised $4.66 million team option for 2018-19 in October of 2017. Suns declined $5.9 million team option for 2019-20 in October of 2018.
Double-double, six dimes in finale
FPhoenix Suns
April 9, 2019
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.
ANALYSIS
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.
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Average Fantasy Points
Average Fantasy Points are determined when Dragan Bender was active vs. non-active during the season. Click here to view average fantasy points for a different time period.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
Bender missed almost half of his rookie campaign last season due to a combination of DNP-CDs and an ankle injury, which required surgery. When he did step on the court, however, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds across 13.3 minutes per game while shooting 35.4 percent from the field and 28-of-101 from beyond the arc. While the lack of efficiency is certainly disappointing, it’s important to keep in mind that he wasn’t a staple within the Suns’ rotation and often played on a sore ankle. That said, he did occasionally flash potential when he was feeling good. During Dec. 26’s game against the Rockets, Bender recorded 11 points (5-11 FG, 1-4 3Pt), 13 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists across 27 minutes. He will have to compete for playing time during the upcoming season, however. The Suns drafted Josh Jackson with the fourth overall pick during the 2017 NBA Draft. With Jackson being primarily touted as a small forward, that may push the likes of T.J. Warren up to power forward – Bender’s position. Not to mention the presence of Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley. While coach Earl Watson will likely do what he can to get Bender significant run, it may come down to how Bender performs during training camp and what kind of improvements he can show throughout the season. As a result, Bender can probably be avoided in the vast majority of Fantasy formats, as it’s uncertain if he’ll even take the floor during every game he suits up for.
The consensus top foreign player in the 2016 NBA Draft, Bender went No. 4 overall to the Suns, who doubled down on the power forward position by using their second lottery pick on Washington freshman Marquese Chriss. The 7-foot-1 Bender epitomizes the stretch four most teams are looking for in the modern pace-and-space NBA, but the 18-year-old may face a longer development curve than most of his fellow first-rounders after doing little to distinguish himself in summer league play with the Suns. Over five games, Bender averaged 8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds across 32.0 minutes per contest while shooting an abysmal 27.5 percent from the field. The Suns won’t overreact too much to the small sample, as Bender exhibited much improvement from three-point range last season with Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv and was lauded during the pre-draft process for his willingness to move the ball, ability to make plays off the dribble and excellent mobility. While Bender’s lack of bulk makes him susceptible to getting outmuscled in the paint defensively, his long arms still allow him to make an impact as a shot blocker. Both Bender and Chriss are expected to see their minutes expand in the second half of their rookie seasons once they’ve gotten fully acclimated to an NBA training regimen, but in the meantime, veteran Jared Dudley is set to assume most of the court time at power forward in the early going. As such, Bender’s fantasy value figures to remain mostly limited as a rookie, but he makes for a worthy target in dynasty formats.
More Fantasy News
Continues late-season surge
FPhoenix Suns
April 8, 2019
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.
ANALYSIS
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Another bump in production
FPhoenix Suns
April 2, 2019
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.
ANALYSIS
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Fills out stat sheet in loss
FPhoenix Suns
March 31, 2019
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.
ANALYSIS
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Non-factor once again
FPhoenix Suns
March 14, 2019
Bender had three points, three rebounds, and one assist in 14 minutes during Wednesday's 114-97 loss to the Jazz.
ANALYSIS
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Still starting despite no production
FPhoenix Suns
March 10, 2019
Bender compiled just five points, three rebounds, and two assists in 16 minutes during Saturday's 127-120 loss to the Trail Blazers.
ANALYSIS
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