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Player review 2022: Iffe Lundberg got his feet wet in the NBA

Welcome to our Phoenix Suns Season Review Series where we do individual PLAYER REVIEWS of every person who contributed to the 2021-2022 season. We’re reviewing the squad to analyze what they did/didn’t do well and what they can do to improve next season.

As we near the end of this series, we have…


Gabriel “Iffe” Lundberg

  • Position: comboguard
  • Key figures: 6’4″, 203 lbs, wingspan 6’9″, age 27.
  • 1st NBA season, played 4 seasons in Europe
  • Stats: 3.3 points (26/38/- split), 1.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists (0.8 assists) and 0.8 steals in 11.0 minutes per game (4 games)

Career

Lundberg grew up in the streetball scene in Copenhagen, Denmark, leading his 3v3 team to a championship tournament.

At the age of 19, he signed with Copenhagen Wolfpack, the highest ranked league in Denmark. The next year he played for Horsens IC in the same league and then moved up to the Liga ACB level in Spain with Basquet Manresa and Lenovo Tenerife. This was followed by two more transfers in the league: Zielona Góra in the Polish league and CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague.

Then, in response to the Russian invasion of Poland, Lundberg bought out his own contract with Moscow. Many teammates left as well.

In 39 games for Moscow, Lundberg averaged 10.4 points (46/34/79 shots), 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists (1.4 assists) and 1.1 steals in 21.9 minutes per game.


Regular season results

On March 12, the Suns signed Lundberg for the remainder of the 2021–2022 season on a two-way contract, becoming the second player (Ish Wainwright) to that contract this season with Phoenix.

Lundberg was on the lineup for a total of 15 regular season games, appearing in four. In the final game of the season, Phoenix played a career-high 27 minutes of 10 points (2-5 3P), 5 rebounds, 5 assists (0 assists) and 2 steals.

Unfortunately, given the nature of the two-way deal, Lundberg was ineligible for the playoffs, even though he probably couldn’t have saved the Suns from doom in Dallas.


Strengths

To be honest, Lundberg is a jack-of-all-trades as a combo guard. He plays reliably on and off the ball, uses his length well defensively and can shoot well from deep.

It’s funny that his three-point shot from Danish journalist Morten Stig Jansen, who traveled to the States to chronicle Lundberg’s NBA journey:

Lundberg’s wife, Camille, was the one who convinced him to focus more on three-point shots if he was going to break into the NBA at some point. In the 2020 off-season, after a year in which he only shot 27.4% from downtown, Lundberg began to change his shooting form. The following year, he not only raised his efficiency to 37.1%, but also took on three more attempts per game from outside the long line.

However, if there’s one aspect of Lundberg’s game that catches my eye the most, it’s his pick-and-roll game. Combo guards that can launch screen games are my favorite player archetype, and he does it with one of my favorite traits: patience. Lundberg is letting the defense dictate his decisions, and that’s a delight to watch.

This is well illustrated from 0:06 to 3:17 in this Zielona Gora movie video:

biggest weakness

It’s hard to tell when you’re only getting 44 minutes in four games, with 27 of those in one game, which seems pretty pointless and low.

I suppose if there was anything that annoyed me, it would be some kind of passivity? Especially by combining his Suns ribbon with the Europe ribbon, he didn’t attack very often as a Sun.

If he returns to Phoenix next season – and before that in the Summer League – I would like him to force the situation more.

What to work on

Just spend the offseason getting used to life in the NBA. I know it’s not at home, but he should try to spend as much time as possible at NBA facilities with NBA coaches. I would love to have it here in Scottsdale at the Suns training ground, but that future remains unclear.

Contract status

As long as the Suns offer Lundberg a one-year/$1.6 million qualifying offer, he will enter limited leeway where the Suns are free to match any contract he agrees to elsewhere. He can also make a better contract with Phoenix himself.

During the off-season, Athletic’s John Hollinger named Lundberg one of the top 25 shooting guard free agents in the “below average but above the low” range, right between Garrett Temple and Garrison Matthews. Lundberg was the only non-US player on Hollinger’s roster. Nobody took Lundberg before he signed with Moscow.

This year, Hollinger put Lundberg back on the list, but dropped him into the “minimum” range between Austin Rivers and Avery Bradley.


Overall rating

It’s hard to have a strong feeling when you play for so few minutes. I basically liked what I saw and it was fun, but it’s hard to get carried away with junk minutes of time.

B- from me, but would like to see more in the future.

Interview

How would you rate the year of Iffe Lundberg?

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