Welcome to our Phoenix Suns Season in Review series where we do individual PLAYER REVIEWS of each man that contributed in the 2021-22 season. We go through the roster to analyze what went right/wrong for them, and what they can do to get better for next season.
Nearing the close of this series, we have…
Gabriel “Iffe” Lundberg
- Position: combo guard
- Vitals: 6-foot-4, 203 pounds, 6-foot-9 wingspan, 27 years old
- 1st NBA season, played 4 seasons in Europe
- Stats: 3.3 points (26/38/– shooting splits), 1.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists (0.8 turnovers), and 0.8 steals in 11.0 minutes per game (4 games played)
Lundberg grew up a staple in the streetball scene in Copenhagen, Denmark, leading his 3×3 team to a tournament championship.
At age 19, he signed with the Copenhagen Wolfpack, part of the highest-rated league in Denmark. He played the next year for Horsens IC in the same league before leveling up to the Liga ACB in Spain with Basquet Manresa and Lenovo Tenerife. Then came two more league transfers: Zielona Gora in the Polish league and CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague.
Then, in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Poland, Lundberg bought out his own contract with Moscow. Many teammates left as well.
Over 39 games playing for Moscow, Lundberg averaged 10.4 points (46/34/79 shooting splits), 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists (1.4 turnovers), and 1.1 steals in 21.9 minutes per game.
Regular season recap
On Mar. 12, the Suns picked up Lundberg for the rest of the 2021-22 season on a two-way contract, becoming the second player (Ish Wainright) on that contract this season for Phoenix.
Lundberg was on the roster for 15 total regular season games, appearing in four. In Phoenix’s last game of the season, he played a career-high 27 minutes, totaling 10 points (2-5 3P), 5 rebounds, 5 assists (0 turnovers), and 2 steals.
Unfortunately, given the nature of the two-way contract, Lundberg was rendered ineligible for the playoffs, though he likely couldn’t have saved the Suns from the doom coming in Dallas.
To be perfectly honest, Lundberg is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades as a combo guard. He plays solidly on and away from the ball, utilizes his length well defensively, and can shoot well from deep.
Fun aside about that three-point shot of his from Danish journalist Morten Stig Jansen, who came to the states to chronicle Lundberg’s NBA journey:
Lundberg’s wife, Camilla, was the one who convinced him to focus more on his three-point shot, if he were to have a shot at the NBA at some point. During the 2020 offseason, after coming off a year in which he hit just 27.4% from downtown, Lundberg began changing his shooting form. The following year he not only raised his efficiency to 37.1%, but also took over 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 who can run screen games are a favorite player archetype of mine, and he does it with one of my favorite traits: patience. Lundberg lets the defense dictate his decisions, and it’s a joy to watch.
It’s illustrated well from 0:06 to 3:17 in this video with film from his Zielona Gora time:
It’s hard to tell when you only get a total of 44 minutes over four games, with 27 of those coming in one game, which felt pretty meaningless and low-stakes.
I guess if one thing annoyed me, it’d be some passivity? Especially juxtaposing his Suns tape with his Europe tape, he didn’t attack very often as a Sun.
If he’s back in Phoenix next season — and the Summer League before that — I’d love to see him force the issue more.
What to work on
Just spend the offseason getting more comfortable with NBA life. I know it’s not home, but he should try and spend as much time at NBA facilities with NBA trainers as possible. I’d really love that to be here in Scottsdale at the Suns practice facility, but that future remains unclear.
As long as the Suns offer Lundberg a qualifying offer valued at one year/$1.6 million, he’ll enter restricted free agency, where the Suns have the right to match any contract he agrees to elsewhere. He’s also able to negotiate a more lucrative contract with Phoenix themselves.
Last off season, the Athletic’s John Hollinger listed Lundberg among his best top 25 shooting guard free agents, in the ‘less than midlevel, but more than minimum’ range, right between Garrett Temple and Garrison Matthews. Lundberg was the only non-US player on Hollinger’s list. No one picked up Lundberg before he signed with Moscow.
This year, Hollinger again lists Lundberg but has dropped him into the ‘minimum’ range between Austin Rivers and Avery Bradley.
It’s hard to have much of a strong feeling when you play so few minutes. I mostly liked what I saw, and it was fun, but it’s hard to be blown away by garbage time minutes.
B- from me, but wanting to see more in the future.