The NBA playoffs are set to begin and as usual, Great Falls graduate Torrey Craig will be part of the proceedings.
Craig is currently a member of the Phoenix Suns and the team has earned the number four seed in the Western Conference, finishing the regular season with a record of 45-37. Craig was a consistent part of the team’s success this year. Appearing in 79 games (tops on the team), Craig averaged 24.7 minutes, 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists as a sometime starter and frequent top player off the bench.
Beyond the pure numbers, Craig is often looked at to provide a burst of energy and be a defensive stopper for the Suns. He has certainly showed off his grit this year, missing very little time after having a tooth knocked out in a collision with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Craig is in the second year of a two-year, $10 million contract that he actually signed before the start of last season with the Indiana Pacers. They traded him midway through last season to Phoenix. That marked the second time in his career that he was traded to the Suns. Craig started the 2020, 2021 season with the Milwaukee Bucks (having signed with them the previous offseason), but was traded to Phoenix. The Suns ended up advancing to the NBA Finals that where they met his old team, the Bucks. Phoenix lost the series 4-2, but since he had been on the Milwaukee roster for a portion of the season, he still received an NBA championship ring. That put him in a small group of players that have earned a ring despite being on a team that lost the NBA Finals. After a decorated career at Great Falls High School (that included multiple all-state honors and a Class A player of the year award), Craig went to USC-Upstate and ended up leading the Atlantic Sun Conference in scoring three times in his four years, made all-conference three times and was the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year on one occasion. He played his first three professional years abroad, playing in the NBL in Australia and New Zealand and with the Gold Coast Rollers of the Queensland Basketball League. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year and was picked as the team MVP for the Brisbane Bullets in 2017 and was a second-team All-NBL selection. As a member of the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand NBL he was a member of the league’s “All-Star Five” as the Saints won the league title. He won league MVP honors while playing for the Saints as well. The Denver Nuggets invited him to play on their summer league team in 2017 and he earned a spot with the team. He spent the next three years with the Nuggets. In his six professional seasons, his teams have appeared in the playoffs five times. Phoenix opens the postseason this Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.