Summer league is fun. Vegas is fun. Summer league live in Vegas is a triple team of fun. I highly encourage your attendance if at any point in your basketball loving life you can make it here.
But assuming you have a job, family and otherwise what's known as a life you can share my four days of pure basketball/sin city joy on these digital pages...oh, and if you are really really needing more up-to-date hits of vicarious pleasure you can track the party on Twitter
Hit the jump for the Suns Spurs recap and other general thoughts and observations.
Let's start with the main event. A rematch of the past five years of humiliation against a Spurs summer team that featured their star young player....oh, right. They don't have one of those here.
So forget the game. That's not what really matters anyway. What matters is that after a very pleasant 5 hour drive from Phoenix in my trusty Prius (56mpg for the up-hill trip!) I got my first glimpse of rookie Lopez.
From three rows up from the court (and amidst the entire Lopez clan of brothers, babies, parents and in-laws) I am still not sure if I saw what I was hoping to see or if Robin really was the best player on the court for most of the game. It sure seemed that way to me.
He started the game with possession #1 throwing down a great spin move in the low post for two immediately followed by a block on the other end. Beyond the tips, put backs, blocks, a few impressive offensive moves (including a drop step cross the lane hook shoot) what really stood out up close was his demeanor. The guy plays with an intensity that is clearly a step above the rest of the players around him. He looks a tad bit angry and completely focused.
Of course that's just first impressions. I am looking forward to seeing him play a few more times.
The other big story line of the game was the Suns showcasing the talents of two potential third string point guards. After missing out on a few of the available veterans free agents one gets the impression that the real reason for playing DJ off the ball so much of this game was to get good long looks at Taquan Dean and Jared Jordan.
The point guard showcase became the focus on my game watching attention (when I wasn't observing the completely normal family dynamic of the Lopez clan complete w/ cute babies and a patient Brook signing autographs and posing for pictures).
The stat line on either guy doesn't blow you away and clearly against Summer League competition you would hope real talent (like Marcus Banks 42 pts last year) would stand out. What I can say is that while Coro called Jordan the guy that could give DJ a run for his money, in my eyes it was Dean that looked like the better player.
Jordan is listed at 6-2 but I can tell you that I am a solid 5-10 in flip flops and this kid is a stretch at 6-2. He has some speed and a better handle but I didn't see him do anything special distributing the ball and he didn't really get a chance to show off his range either.
Dean on the other hand is much bigger and longer and clearly the better defensive player. He showed something on a few occasions getting to the rim and I seem to recall a decent mid-range shot or two coming off screens.
So, keep your eye on the Dean / Jordan story line. It may be the only real item of interest beyond the Big 3.
Speaking of which, Tucker started the game slow but really picked it up out of the half and was aggressive getting to the rim. The kid can finish and draw contact. His long range shot didn't seem to be on though but he didn't get a lot of looks either.
DJ was solid on D with an impressive steal and break away dunk, but I am really starting to worry about his ability to score at this level. His jump shot is a work in progress and he seemed to have trouble finishing in traffic. He did show some nice slashing moves and was able to draw contact. And as mentioned, he spent very little time in this game running the point.
If you read this far congratulations. You are a Suns fan. I actually have plenty more to say about a few other Summer Suns and the general experience but the Hooter's wings are calling and my belly is rumbling.