Summer Suns Get Out-Everythinged by Grizzlies

Repeat after me: It's only the Summer League; it's only the Summer League.  That's the only way this Suns loss is remotely palatable.  Aside from an increasingly and refreshingly aggressive Goran Dragic and a competent Zabian Dowdell, there is not much else good to report about this game.

The numbers seem like a good place to start: outscored by 37, outshot by 15% (a putrid 33% from the field, 0-14 on three-pointers), outrebounded by 21, out-assisted by 10.  And it wasn't even that close. 

The lone bright spots were the point guard play of Goran Dragic and Zabian Dowdell.  As in the game against the D-League Select, Dragic was aggressive early, going to the rim.  Even though he got off to a slow start in the first quarter, he kept attacking and finished the half with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting.  He was a little out of control in his attempts to push the ball up the court, but with only 1 turnover against 2 assists in just under 23 minutes of play, his command of the ball wasn't an issue.  Dowdell was similarly effective in his 23 minutes tallying 14 points on 7 of 15 shooting with no assists and a turnover.  While it's true Dowdell looks far more composed and collected than Goran, I think Dragic is the more physically gifted of the two, while perhaps Dowdell is shrewder (which may lead to the "better" comparison).

You may have notice that the point guards combined for 1  2 assists in 46 minutes of play.  Part of that had to do with both of them looking for their own shot, but mostly it's because the rest of the team combined for a paltry 10 field goals on a whopping 43 attempts.  Which I suppose brings us to the unbridled ugliness of the rest of the team.

Robin Lopez appears to have regressed with each successive game since his monstrous Summer League opener.  Hasheem Thabeet, who has yet to really impress anyone here in Las Vegas, outplayed RoLo badly.  While the numbers bear this out (10 pts., 7 reb. for Thabeet vs. 1pt., 4 reb. for Lopez), again it wasn't even that close.  Routinely Thabeet beat Lopez to his spot on the floor or boxed him out, pinned him under the rim and generally out-positioned him.  And it could have been much, much worse.  All of Thabeet's 4 misses were on wide open dunks.

Rounding out the Suns' "big three" here in Las Vegas, Earl Clark had a thoroughly mediocre performance.  Rather than using his athleticism to drive and create, Clark fell in love with mid- to long-range jumpers, making 4 and missing 8.  Fortunately, the rookie continues to attack the glass (5 boards) and notched 3 blocks to boot.

I'm beginning to see what the Suns see in 2nd round draft pick Taylor Griffin: Dan Majerle.  A little bigger and a little beefier, but his game is similar to Majerle's nonetheless.  Unfortunately, Griffin has yet to demonstrate the same quickness and range that made Majerle so reliable on defense and so dangerous on offense.  He followed Friday's 1-9 performance with a 3-7 effort from the field.  Aside from finishing a fastbreak with a pretty thunderous dunk, it was jumper-palooza for Griffin as well.  On defense he was abused by the faster and more athletic Grizzlies (prompting a fellow blogger to note that "Sam Young is eating his lunch."), but to be fair no one on the Suns' roster did much of anything to slow down the Memphis' offensive blitzkrieg.

With 5 players in double-figures and 48 points in the paint, Memphis appeared to be running a lay-up drill for large portions of the game.  The Suns had no answer for Sam Young who drove to the hoop with impunity.  Demarre Carroll also impressed with more hustle and energy than the entire Suns' roster seemed to be able to muster.

It's worth noting that Memphis' summer team fields 4 rotation players and they are undefeated in summer league play, including a 19-point thumping of the Thunder and an 18-point ripping of the Clippers.  The Grizzlies are the cream of the crop of this year's Summer League and clearly outclassed the younger, less experienced Summer Suns.

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