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Everything you need to know about new Suns fan favorite Ish Wainwright

Gerald Bourguet Avatar
October 27, 2021

Last week, the Phoenix Suns added a new player to their roster: Ishmail Wainwright!

Recently of the Toronto Raptors, Ish Wainwright adds another practice body after the Suns waived Chasson Randle, who was on a training camp deal.

“Blessed to be a part of a championship team,” Wainwright said of joining the Suns. “A lot of vets I get to learn from, including the front office and then a great coach in Monty Williams. I’m just happy, blessed to be here and ready to learn, ready to play, ready to win and ready to help out any way possible.”

The question is, who is Wainwright, and what does he bring to the table for Phoenix? Here’s everything you need to know about the Suns’ new arrival.

What kind of contract is Ish Wainwright on?

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wainwright is joining the Suns on a two-way contract. That means he’s allowed to spend up to 50 games with Phoenix before needing to be bumped up to a regular contract.

The Suns no longer have their own G League affiliate to assign two-way players to, so this will be something to keep an eye on for as long as Wainwright and Chandler Hutchison remain on the roster.

How old is Ish Wainwright?

Wainwright just turned 27 years old in September.

How tall is Ish Wainwright?

Wainwright is listed as 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds.

How many Ishes have played for the Suns now?

Assuming he makes an appearance, two. As soon as he does, Ish Wainwright will join Ish Smith as fellow Ishes who have suited up for the Suns. Phoenix will then hold the league record for most Ishes to ever suit up for an NBA franchise.

Where is Ish Wainwright from?

Born in Kansas City, Wainwright went to high school in Raytown (Raytown South) and Rockville (Montrose Christian School) in Missouri.

Where did Ish Wainwright go to college?

Wainwright played for the Baylor Bears from 2013-17.

How did Ish Wainwright perform in college?

Wainwright wasn’t much of a standout on the stat sheet during his time in college. Over his four-year career at Baylor, he averaged 3.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 18.6 minutes per game on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor and 33.1 percent shooting from 3-point range.

He peaked statistically in his senior year, averaging 5.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 29.5 minutes per game. He only shot 40.7 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc but was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.

What’s a fun fact about Ish Wainwright?

Basketball wasn’t the only sport Wainwright played at Baylor! Here’s him scoring a touchdown against Kansas:

How much professional experience does Ish Wainwright have?

After going undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, Wainwright signed with the Nurnberg Falcons, a team in Germany’s professional second division, in September of 2018. He averaged 12.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game there before signing with another team in Germany’s pro second division, Rasta Vechta, in July of 2019.

Wainwright put up 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game there. In June 2020, he signed with SIG Strasbourg, a team in the French Pro A League. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game in 28.1 minutes per game over 36 appearances. He also shot 48.5 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range.

In August 2021, he joined the Toronto Raptors on a two-year, non-guaranteed deal before being waived in October. Five days later, the Suns scooped him up on a two-way contract.

What do Ish Wainwright’s career numbers look like?

Wainwright has never played in a regular-season NBA game, nor has he spent any time in the G League. In three preseason games for the Raptors, he averaged 4.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 11.7 minutes per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and making four of his eight 3-point attempts.

“Unfortunately I was waived from the Raptors,” Wainwright said. “It was a tough situation there, but all due respect to those guys in the front office there. They gave me an opportunity to be in the NBA. I feel like I’m an NBA player, was waived and got an offer for a two-way. I’m not gonna say no! So I’m here and not looking back.”

What does Ish Wainwright bring to the table?

Like Chandler Hutchison, Wainwright is much older than the typical two-way signing, which fits in with James Jones’ team-building strategy. Wainwright is mature, can play multiple positions and is built like an absolute tank.

That’s hardly an exaggeration. When asked about what’s stood out with Wainwright so far, Monty Williams didn’t hesitate.

“His shoulders,” Williams said before cracking a smile. “He’s just a man. You can tell he’s a guy that can absorb contact. I don’t know a ton about him, but he picks stuff up quickly. And he’s a worker, we’ve seen that already with him.”

He’s only 6-foot-6, but his strength may allow for him to log minutes as a small-ball 4, depending on the lineup. Wainwright’s 3-point numbers have never been impressive throughout his playing career, but his ability to handle the ball and facilitate is valuable for a burly player at his position.

“He looks like a potential guy that can fit into that 3-and-D role: be able to guard, and then if he can get a really good, consistent, standstill shot,” Williams said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 3, but that’s where the league is now. He has the the makeup for that position.”

For his part, Wainwright sees Phoenix as a natural playing fit.

“I do, I was foaming at the mouth the past couple games ’cause I’m like, ‘Man, these dudes pass the ball, they share the ball well, defensive-wise, they carry themselves as pros,'” he said. “So that’s how they carry themselves and it’s the best thing that you could possibly be a part of, you know?”

What does the future hold for Ish Wainwright?

For now, Wainwright said he is asking a lot of questions in every huddle to try and get Phoenix’s terminology down. It’s a steep learning curve in a short amount of time, especially coming from a completely different system in Toronto and missing all of Suns training camp.

But Wainwright said he’s viewed the way Phoenix plays as “perfect” from afar, and he’s keen to join a group of players that has such great trust from their head coach. Even on a two-way contract, he views the organization as “championship quality” and is approaching it with the mindset that this will be his permanent NBA home.

“I’m here as long as possible, that’s my goal to be here for the rest of my career,” he said. “That’s what I want to say, that’s how I go into things. I don’t look for the next year, I’m here this year, and next year follows through. Good things happen to good people, and I take it a day at a time. I’m happy to be here. You gon’ see a smile on my face every day.”

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