Just a few days before the start of free agency, the Suns are poised to be aggressive in their pursuit of star forwards Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.
However, the Suns have not netted an All-Star free agent since 2004, when they signed Steve Nash. Though they have the cap space to allow for a major signing this summer, the odds are not in their favor. Furthermore, even if they do manage to land a top talent, extra depth at power forward and center is never a bad idea.
With that in mind, Patric Young and Josh Harrellson have been invited to the team's summer league squad, according to Paul Coro.
Who is Patric Young? Young is a 6'10", 23-year-old center out of the University of Florida. He spent four seasons at Florida and declared for the 2014 NBA draft, but was passed on by all 30 teams. He then spent one year in Europe, averaging 8.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in 24 minutes per game for Galatasaray of the Turkish League. Though the Turkish team struggled, going just 6-18 on the season against Euroleague competition, Young quickly earned the starting center spot and became a staple of the team's defense.
Young brings strength and physicality that the Suns have not seen out of a big man in years. He sets strong screens, battles for rebounds and relentlessly defends his position in the post. He also has a reputation for playing great team defense, as he has both the athleticism and the footwork to contain pick-and-rolls, switching on to the ball handler and then quickly shifting back to contain the big man rolling to the basket.
But what could potentially stop Young from finding an NBA home is his offense. At this point he would be perhaps the rawest offensive player in the league, without any semblance of a jump shot or post-up game. He does have the athleticism to catch lobs, but that's really about it.
If you can cope with getting virtually no offensive production out of Young while he's on the floor, you can expect to see much better defense and rebounding than other third-string big men such as Barron and Randolph ever gave the team.
The other player that the Suns signed is already an NBA veteran. Josh Harrellson, dubbed "Jorts" by Knicks fans a few years ago, is a 6'10" PF/C with a similar skill set to recent Suns acquisition Jon Leuer. Harrellson is a floor spacer, having shot 33-95 from deep in his three NBA seasons (34.7%). But he is also a capable rebounder, with a career average of 9.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Defensively, Harrellson is nothing special. Additionally, because he is similar to Leuer he may have a tougher time making the team. Though it's important to note that he also went to the University of Kentucky, where he was a teammate with Eric Bledsoe in 2010 and Brandon Knight in 2011.
The chances of both players making the cut are very slim, but they will be interesting to watch in summer league. In a best case scenario, you've found a floor spacing big man to slot at backup PF next to a physical, defensive-minded center. Being a GM is not only about convincing top free agents to sign with a team, or about making good choices on draft night. It is also about finding diamonds in the rough, and attracting young men otherwise overlooked that could potentially become impact players. Just look at what Phoenix found in P.J. Tucker a few years ago.