The Suns make it official today, signing Taylor "Big Brother" Griffin to the 13th roster spot on the team. And no, this still isn't making much sense to me unless a) the Suns aren't done dealing or b) they think that Griffin will be a good rookie running mate for Earl Clark and give him a peer role model for hard work and hustle. Or maybe by having another "lesser" brother, the Suns think that Taylor will deflect some attention on that front from Robin who is quite sensitive about the other brother issue.
I haven't heard or read anything yet about deal terms but my guess would be he's getting the minimum of about $457k with a team option for next season.
The issue with Taylor isn't so much about him. He seems to be a decent, hard working kid who plays with a lot of energy and determination but also seems to lack NBA level skill. He's going to have to make the transition from playing a more perimeter oriented small forward which I think will be difficult for him. He doesn't have good up's and solid to perhaps above average defense but the problem is his role on this Suns team. Griffin joins a long list of mid-sized (6'7" to 6'9") players all bunched up behind Amare and Hill including Dudley, Amundson and Clark. That's a lot of depth in one area when there's more pressing needs for another big to play with Lopez and Frye or even another point guard to provide insurance behind Dragic.
Since the Suns can only dress 12 guys for each game, Griffin might end up seeing a lot of time with the Suns D-league affiliate, the Iowa Energy which I am sure would make Coach Nick Nurse happy. That in fact could make a cost saving move since the cheapest possible way to fill the last mandatory slot is with a 1st year minimum player and there aren't too many other options out there for unsigned 1st year players.
More information from the official press release after the jump...
PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns today announced the signing of forward Taylor G
riffin, the club’s second-round selection (48th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft.
"Taylor is an excellent athlete, a hard worker and very much team-oriented," said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr. "He fits right in with the kind of people we want in our organization, and he has a chance to develop into a very good player."
The 6-7, 238-pound Griffin most recently appeared as a member of the Suns’ entry in the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 6.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in five games (all starts).
A four-year performer at the University of Oklahoma, Griffin enjoyed his best statistical season as a senior in 2008-09, averaging 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds while starting all 36 games. Known for his hustle, the 23-year-old led the team in steals during his senior campaign and ranked second in blocks.