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Phoenix Suns training camp: Casey Prather, Earl Barron accept invitations

Training camp in Arizona just got a bit more crowded.

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Christian Petersen

According to Paul Coro of the Arizona RepublicNBA veteran and former Sun Earl Barron and undrafted free agent Casey Prather have accepted invitations to join the Suns for training camp on unguaranteed contracts.

Fans may remember Barron from his stint with the Suns in 2010-11 where he played in 12 games - starting half of them - and averaged 3.0 points and 3.3 rebounds on 23.5 percent shooting. The 33-year-old center is listed at 7 feet and 245 pounds and has appeared in 124 career games.

Our very own Scott Howard spent valuable work time to chronicle the Barron Experience in the Valley. Take a walk down memory lane. For those that don't like clicking links, here's a snippet.

In fact, Earl has the lowest field goal percentage of any Phoenix Suns player in history that attempted more than 27 shots. I had to bold that. Think of some of the guys who've played for this team. I barely recall seeing an Earl Clark shot that wasn't a brick, yet in his 2 individual seasons he shot 14% and 15% better than Barron.

To find Barron some company I searched for any Suns players who joined him in what I'll call the special "Over 50 shots, under 30% shooting" club. It's like the 40/40 club, except crappy and probably without steroids. Even with that extended criteria, Barron has only 3 buddies in Suns franchise history:

  • Jumaine Jones (2006-07) - 14/51, 27.5%
  • Jeff Cook (1987-88) - 14/59, 23.7%
  • Joe Thomas (1970-71) - 23/86, 26.7%

Who the hell is Joe Thomas? Never mind that. Guess what all of those players have in common? If you guessed that their awful shooting seasons with Phoenix were their last in the NBA - you win 651 Scott Howard fun bucks. Bad news for our boy E-Barron.

For a more recent update on what Barron has been up to, check out Geoff Allen's latest "Where are the now?" story.

Prather is a 6-foot-5-inch, 200-pound swingman out of Florida who averaged 13.8 points on 60.3 percent shooting as a senior last year before going undrafted. He participated in Summer League with the Atlanta Hawks, but struggled, averaging 5.2 points on 40 percent shooting in 20 minutes per game.

Prather's game is similar to that of the Suns 2014 lottery pick T.J. Warren. He's not a shooter (32 total 3-point attempts in 127 career games at Florida) but he excels at cutting off the ball and slashing to the basket to finish around the rim. He's long and athletic (6-foot-9.25-inch wingspan and a 37.5-inch max vertical jump) and a hard worker who improved from being a bench player his first three years to becoming a star as a senior. Here's a very dunk-y highlight video showcasing his hops.

The Suns are currently at 13 guaranteed contracts without Eric Bledsoe, so there isn't a lot of room on this roster. The Suns have already met the minimum, and only have two spots open (again, without Bledsoe). The odds of either player making the team are low.

Barron is likely just a big body to bang with the other bigs in camp. The Suns aren't terribly deep in the frontcourt, but the team already held onto Shavlik Randolph to fill in as the fifth big.

Prather is a bit more interesting. The Suns don't have room for another wing with Gerald Green, Archie Goodwin, Marcus Morris and P.J. Tucker already fighting for limited minutes, but he's still fairly young at 24 and could be looked at as a developmental prospect. If Prather has a stronger showing in camp than he did this summer, the D-League is a possibility where the Suns would be able to keep an eye on him.

Training camp begins in Flagstaff on Saturday.

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