Phoenix Suns announce Summer League Roster: Goodwin, Oriakhi and five "vets"

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Phoenix Suns will participate in the annual Vegas Summer League by sending five roster players and two draftees to learn new coach Jeff Hornacek's schemes and plans to employ two playmakers in the same lineup.

The Phoenix Suns will bring five guys from last year's Suns roster to Las Vegas this weekend for Summer League play, along with two of their three draftees: PG/SG Archie Goodwin (29th overall) and PF Alex Oriakhi (57th overall).

C Alex Len (5th overall) will not participate while he recovers from a stress fracture in his ankle.

New Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek and his new coaching staff will get their first chance to work with the five least-tenured Phoenix Suns players: Markieff and Marcus Morris (23 years old, third SL), Kendall Marshall (21, second SL), Diante Garrett (24, second SL) and P.J. Tucker (27, third SL). Only PF Markieff Morris has been with the Suns more than 12 months.

NBA players can join the Summer League squad up to three times. As of last month, Tucker's expected SL contribution is simply to join the practice sessions and possibly play in 1 or 2 games. Tucker is allowed to play in Summer League because this is just his third NBA offseason (1 with Toronto when he was drafted, then last summer with the Suns squad).

The plan

The young(ish) Suns get their first taste of Jeff Hornacek's planned schemes for the coming year, giving them a chance to get a leg up on training camp and the 2013-14 season over the veterans. Hornacek has indicated a desire to play a fast-paced style, and the Suns set that tone with having one of the toughest tests (a 3-minute sprint) in pre-draft workouts around the league. The acquisitions of Goodwin (draft) and Eric Bledsoe (pending trade) further cement the Suns desire to move in a faster direction.

An interesting subplot is the usage of Kendall Marshall, Archie Goodwin and Diante Garrett. The Suns want to see all three at PG, but these 40-minute games won't allow for that luxury. This may give Suns fans a chance to see how (or if) Hornacek plans to use the Suns two best players and projected starters - PG Goran Dragic and PG Eric Bledsoe - in a two-point-guard lineup next season.

The schedule

  • two-a-day practices starting tomorrow through Thursday (July 9-11)
  • fly to Vegas on Friday (July 12)
  • play their first game on Saturday (July 13) against Minnesota
  • play two more games next week (July 15, 16)
  • participate in a tournament the following weekend (July 17-22), with seedings based on performance in games 1-3 (wins/losses by game, by quarter, etc.)

The roster

(No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA/Home Country Yrs Plyd)

  • 20 Thomas Abercrombie F 6-6 207 07/05/87 Washington State/New Zealand R
  • 2 Chris Babb G 6-5 225 02/14/90 Iowa State/USA R
  • 22 Dionte Christmas G 6-5 205 09/15/86 Temple/USA R
  • 25 Jake Cohen F 6-10 235 09/25/90 Davidson/USA R
  • 10 Diante Garrett G 6-4 175 11/03/88 Iowa State/USA 1
  • 29 Archie Goodwin G 6-5 198 08/17/94 Kentucky/USA R
  • 12 Kendall Marshall G 6-4 200 08/19/91 North Carolina/USA 1
  • 15 Marcus Morris F 6-9 235 09/02/89 Kansas/USA 2
  • 11 Markieff Morris C 6-10 245 09/02/89 Kansas/USA 2
  • 41 Arinze Onuaku C 6-9 276 07/13/87 Syracuse/USA R
  • 45 Alex Oriakhi F 6-9 255 06/21/90 Missouri/USA R
  • 17 PJ Tucker F 6-6 235 05/05/85 Texas/USA 1

Bright Side Coverage

BSotS' own Jim Coughenour will be in Vegas to watch games and interview players over the first weekend. He will watch the Suns opening game against Portland (with Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard) as well as a number of other games.

What to expect in SL

The most important thing to remember from Summer League is that happens in Summer League stays in Summer League. It's in Vegas after all. Marcus Banks scored 44 points once. Marco Belinelli was a star. And those are two of the "here's the next ______________!"

For the Suns a summer ago, the week gave us a lot of clues.

The bad

Rookie PG Kendall Marshall was a disappointment - only looking like an NBA player in one of three games. He led the SL in assists per game, but couldn't keep opposing players in front of him on defense and couldn't buy a shot.

Markieff Morris was regularly the best player on the floor for either team, but fouled a lot and had a low conversion percentage.

Both of those developments foretold what would happen over the next season. Marshall was still an enigma and Markieff still had trouble making shots.

The good

Both P.J. Tucker and Diante Garrett played themselves onto the Suns regular season roster based on their Summer League play, and Tucker ended up starting a lot of games. No SL = no Tucker.

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