FanPost

Phoenix Suns 2014 Vegas Summer League Preview: What do we want to see?

The Orlando Summer League has just kicked off, which can only mean one thing to Suns diehards on Bright Side - Vegas Summer League is nearly upon us! We know the roster, now what do we want to see from them? And will they make the roster? Let's take a look at the roster as it stands:

Player

Position

Height/Weight

Where was he last year?

Tyler Ennis

PG

6'2"; 182lbs

Syracuse

David Stockton

PG

5'11"; 165lbs

Gonzaga

Archie Goodwin

SG

6'5"; 198lbs

Phoenix Suns

Seth Curry

SG

6'3"; 185lbs

Santa Cruz Warriors (2013: Duke)

Dionte Christmas

SG

6'5"; 205lbs

Phoenix Suns

Taylor Braun

SF

6'7"; 202lbs

North Dakota State

T.J. Warren

SF

6'8"; 220lbs

North Carolina State

Elias Harris

SF/PF

6'7"; 220lbs

Brose (Germany)

Alec Brown

PF/C

7'1"; 235lbs

Wisconsin Green Bay

Alex Oriakhi

PF

6'9"; 255lbs

Sioux Sky Falls (D-League)

Miles Plumlee

C

6'11"; 255lbs

Phoenix Suns

Alex Len

C

7'1"; 225lbs

Phoenix Suns

Note: Italicised players are currently under contract or have rights held by Phoenix.

The Summer Suns:

Tyler Ennis:

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The 19 year old Orange guard will start for the Summer Suns, and I must admit I am warming to the task of Ennis being in Purple and Orange this season. Ennis has a solid all-around game, with great decision making, a good first step, hesitation dribble and an okay shooter either off the dribble or on a catch and shoot opportunity. In addition to this, his 6'5" wingspan allows him to defend bigger than his 6'2" frame. That, however, is where the defensive positives end (for now). Syracuse is notorious for its zone defense and in order to show starter potential he will need to show willingness to maintain defensive stance, move well laterally and generally not be lost on the defensive end. Of course, it can be difficult to learn a defensive scheme in such a short time so any effort from Ennis to adapt to NBA defense would go a long way towards easing any doubts on our 18th pick.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 99% - Toronto might move Heaven and Earth in a trade for him.

David Stockton:

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Given Jeff Hornacek's relationship with David's father John (who?), it comes as no surprise to see David given the opportunity to run the bench unit for the Summer Suns. I can't help but feel that this is cronyism, as David's college contributions as a Senior were unspectacular and he didn't particularly shoot (43%), defend (undersized) or run a team well (2.1 Assist to turnover ratio, compared to Ennis' 3.2). I hope he proves me wrong, but the numbers don't stack well in his favor.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: Sorry, but 0. Unless he miraculously turns into his father.

Archie Goodwin:

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Archie has spent a year with the Suns, and after last year's Summer League performance, coupled with his performances for Bakersfield and a 29 point outing against Sacramento, things look rosy for Archie's future. He already shows elite potential in defense and cutting/driving to the rim, and his unbridled ambition to be the best and work ethic hopefully means we see a leap in his 3 point shooting ability as well as his strength/finishing in contact. If he shows improvement in these avenues, it would alleviate any concerns with our backcourt depth if Gerald Green has to leave to make way for cap space for a certain all star...

[Post-Script]: It is worth noting that he is only one week older than Tyler Ennis, the Suns' youngest draftee from the 2014 NBA draft.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 100% - Please don't trade him!

Seth Curry:

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The product of Phoenix's obsession with lesser brothers Seth Curry is the undrafted brother of NBA star Stephen, and can similarly stroke it from deep at a good clip, averaging 38% on 7.2 3P attempts for Santa Cruz in the NBA Development League last year. He showed a well-rounded offensive game for Santa Cruz however the knock on Curry was his size as a 2 guard. He is undersized at a (generous) 6'3", and lacks length, size and lateral quickness at an NBA level, though willing in defense. Curry would have to show some improvement defensively and then Phoenix could be an interesting fit, with both Bledsoe and Dragic capable of defending the 2.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 20% - I can see this happening if he lights it up from deep - he could be a useful spacer at the 1, with bigger guards creating offense.

Dionte Christmas:

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Phoenix's resident towel waver impressed last season in Summer League to the point where he stuck to the 2013/14 roster, with good scoring and shooting ability coupled with the length to effectively defend the 2. However, at the NBA level he didn't get many minutes. Ideally, Christmas will gain muscle to avoid getting bullied by the bigger guards in the NBA. He is still an effective catch and shoot player to have around for garbage minutes.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 50% - He is still a great chemistry guy to have as the 12th man on the bench, but he may be squeezed out by incoming, higher upside talent.

Taylor Braun:

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Braun was a solid all-around player averaging 18 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his senior year for NDSU. This was aided by a good 3P% (41%), and a willingness to get to the line (5.7 free throws made on 7.3 attempts). Braun is a small school guy and Summit League player of the year so I can't discredit him just yet, although at 22 his upside may not be as high as some of the other players on this list.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 5% - with PJ Tucker, Marcus Morris, TJ Warren and Phoenix looking at SF free agents, it looks unlikely for Braun to stick it with Phoenix. If he can surprise with his defensive potential he could find a role on other teams.

T.J. Warren:

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I make no secret of being an admirer of T.J. Warren's game - he has shown to be adaptable to roles as required by his team, finishes at a good rate at the rim and has a variety of ways to get his shot off and remains efficient at 51% shooting, despite scoring nearly 25 points per game. His ability to work off ball will be a key to whether he can be a starter in the league or just a role player. Despite his unique offensive skill set, questions preside over whether he can stay in front of NBA SF's, though the Suns brass believe he can and they have more information to view than I can. Ideally, TJ Warren will look to show better catch-and-shoot footwork, as well as showcasing at least average defensive ability. More is given on TJ Warren here and here and here.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 100% - He will compete with Marcus Morris for minutes.

Elias Harris:

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Harris is an undersized power forward who most recently played in the German Bundesliga for Brose, where he scored 20.8 points on 49% shooting in the Eurocup. Harris is also extremely active under the boards, averaging close to 3 offensive rebounds per game throughout college and at a professional level. Scoring has never been an issue for Harris, primarily relying on his athleticism to score and further translates to offensive rebounding. Weight is an issue at the 4, which has decreased from 247 to 235 since 2012 - it should be moving in the opposite direction, and will be moved quite easily on the block. Hopefully we see some added size from Harris and perhaps a return of the 3 point stroke that has deserted him since 2012: Elias Harris' Career Statistics

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 10% - He may be insurance to losing Channing Frye in free agency and has more potential than Shavlik Randolph to make an impact in the NBA, based on his collegiate career at Gonzaga.

Alec Brown:

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Alec Brown is a freshman Center who shot a high clip from 3 at the Draft Combine as well as throughout the season, shooting 44.6% on 3.4 attempts for UW-Green Bay. Unfortunately, this is his only current elite skill - he has potential to be a Channing Frye type stretch PF/C although it will require refinement from other skills, such as development of a post-game, rebounding and his strength. Alec Brown will need to keep in the gym to find his way into an NBA rotation.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 0. - McDonough has already suggested he will spend the next year overseas.

Alex Oriakhi:

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Another undersized PF (6'9", though his impressive wingspan makes up for this to push towards a standing reach of 9', Alex Oriakhi was drafted by the Suns last year but spent his time between France and Sioux Sky Falls in the NBADL. He didn't exactly set the world on fire, peaking at 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. For those who watched the Summer Suns last season would note his tough rebounding and above the rim finishing, in which he was effective as an undersized center. Look for him to show he can step out to the free throw line on his jump shot. If he can do this, he may find himself the third option at the 4 on an NBA roster.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 1% - I have my doubts on him developing a jump shot, but if he can show this he has a chance at being a poor man's Kenneth Faried in the NBA.

Miles Plumlee:

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Plumlee is the only NBA starter on the Summer Suns roster, so look for Miles to show athletic ability beyond most other centers in the Vegas Summer League. He will showcase above the rim finishing and reasonable defensive ability. Looking forward, look for Plumlee to develop an offensive game beyond his god-awful hook shot and transition/pick and roll finishing, and in an ideal world, a semblance of a jump shot/FT shooting/boxing out.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 100% - He may not be a budding star as Woj suggested but he will definitely see another season at Phoenix, especially on his current contract. He should look like a man amongst boys after a full season as a starter.

Alex Len:

Alex-len-nba-orlando-magic-phoenix-suns_medium

The highest pick on this year's Summer Suns, Alex Len has demonstrated flashes of elite potential, with a combination of elite size, wingspan and lateral movement few players in the NBA possess. He also demonstrated a reasonable jump shot and great rebounding instincts/fundamentals in his limited time on the court for Phoenix. Look for Len to gain strength as he has shown on Instagram, on his already wide set shoulders and improve his feel for the game (which he clearly lacked last season) with minutes, as he shares time with Miles Plumlee.

Chance at being on Phoenix's 2014/15 roster: 99% - (I love Alex Len as a prospect, however there is a slight chance he gets shipped off in the event LeBron joins Phoenix and convinces a fellow named Carmelo).

Conclusion

In summary, I hope to see the same sort of excitement from this team as we did last year, and hopefully a few of these players show some skills they haven't shown previously. There will be surprise packages, and hopefully we see some in purple and orange!

Do you think I've overvalued or undervalued anyone? Let me know!

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