What we learned from the Summer Suns

The Summer Suns when 3-2 in the NBA Summer League Tournament in Las Vegas last week flashing some very impressive and promising performances as well as some that were disappointing. Miles Plumlee had his high’s and lows, Dionte Christmas showed experience, Alex Len was again hurt. That was a little of what transpired but below were three points which I found to be the biggest story lines.

 

T in T.J. stands for Terrific – By far and away, the best player for the Suns was their 14th overall pick in the 2014 draft, T.J. Warren. There are two ways you can look at this. One, if was the summer league and the competition isn’t the same as it will be once the season starts. So Warren’s incredible ability to score throughout his time in Vegas is great and all but I’ll take it with a grain of salt when in see it in season. I happen to look at this from point number two, which is I am buying the hype. Most of the players on Summer League rosters are playing for jobs. If anything, they are playing harder every single game than can be seen at times during the grind of the NBA season. It’s also one thing if he had one nice game, but he played  stellar in all but one game averaging 18 points per game and shooting over 50% from the field. In fact, he ranked first among summer league players in FG% among players that attempted at least 50 shots and fourth among players who shot at least 40. The lone game his numbers didn’t shine was game number two against the Bucks when he missed over half the game with a cut over his right eye which required four stitches. Warren has still a long way to go.

His success in Vegas doesn’t mean he has arrived and will be an instant star. But it has to get you excited about the first of the Suns’ three first round selections.  Warren of the was ultimately named to the Samsung All-NBA Summer League Second Team.

 

More from Archie – It has been a year that has required a lot of learning and growing for young Archie Goodwin. He was outstanding last summer in Vegas helping lead the 2013 Summer Suns to the Summer League Championship game. Goodwin didn’t get a lot of playing time last season, went to the D-League once and then shortly after the season, got in trouble with authorities in his home town. After all of that, he stayed in Phoenix, was at the Arena every day working out with the college players during pre-draft workouts and even ran up-backs during a workout. It really has seemed like he has grown up this summer. That still could very well be the case, but we did not see it much during the summer league games.

He was not very aggressive, his shot didn’t look good as he shot 36% from the field and around 12% from three in the five games. He averaged 12 points per game in 26 minutes played with just three rounds and less than one assist per game. Above all, he didn’t have the energy I was expecting to see out of him. I envisioned him taking over games much like the way Warren did but that didn’t come to fruition. I am not down on Goodwin now or think he is not going to pan out, but I definitely expected to see just a little more.

 

Non-roster standout – Of all the un-drafted, non-roster players on the roster, Seth Curry stood out to me the most. He averaged ten points, shot 43% from the floor and 40% from three. Last year we saw Dionte Christmas shoot the ball great from the field in the summer which ultimately paved the way for him to earn a spot with the Suns. I see a lot of similarities of what Christmas did last year with what Curry just did, despite the fact that they play different positions. Now you must be thinking now, how in the world could the Suns possible add ANOTHER point guard to the roster. You would be right, I am not sure I see it either unless Eric Bledsoe is not on the roster next season amongst this contract dispute.

But Curry showed to me that he should be on a NBA roster with his ability to shoot, score and even facilitate. He will not be an elite ball handler like his brother is but could be a very good back-up in this league and provide an excellent scoring option off the bench. The Suns needed someone like that last season which is why I liked the Isaiah Thomas signing so much. Will Curry be on the Suns next year? Most likely not, but of all the non-roster members of this team, he was the most impressive. Behind him was Tobias Harris, the former Gonzaga Bulldog. He too plays at a position (small forward/stretch four) which the Suns are definitely not short on depth.