Defense was the obvious focus again for the Summer Suns, spearheaded by the newly crowned Tyler "the defiler" Ulis, and a band of switching limbs that made life hard for Boston to get anything going towards the rim.
Ulis desires to pick up opposing ball-handlers full court, and you can see that it annoys the hell out of them. It's almost as though his size is an asset rather than a detriment; he can leverage his small frame into the teeth of the offensive player's jersey and suck away any inch of airspace in a pinch. When someone attempts to body him in the post, Ulis will swipe at the ball like lightning and deter any progress that had been made. The six steals that he racked up tonight was no fluke.
Outside of Ulis, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Alan Williams pogo-sticked their way to thwarting away ambitious drives from Celtics players, and the defensive communication was furious once again. Devin Booker even held his own fighting through screens and closing out hard when he had the chance.
Chriss was absolutely mesmerizing with his athleticism, blossoming from the floor for putback dunks, shot contests at the rim, and soaring rebounds. Pessimists will focus on his slow shot release and general confusion within every other situation that doesn't involve vaulting into the air. But that is expected, the dude just turned 19 years old, and he still has only scratched the surface on what he knows about the game.
Bender had an awkward showing tonight, never asserting his will like he did against the Trail Blazers. There was no emphasis on getting him the ball through predetermined actions, and he didn't look for his own shot with the same aggression -- he seemed to be going through the motions at times. But again, inconsistency is to be expected when dealing with young players. Though the stat line wouldn't show it, Bender did still effect the game by merely being active. Length is a valuable thing.
Other players that stood out:
- Alan Williams continues to impress by utilizing his girth to control the paint and gobble up the rebounds that get manage to sneak by Chriss. We knew about his rebounding prowess, but the introduction of a soft touch and timely 3-point shot will assist in his development.
- Troy Williams is an athletic dynamo that can mirror a player along the perimeter, cut to the rim and, more importantly, finish when he gets there. It is hard to see why he went undrafted, but he definitely looks like he belongs.
- The Suns by far have the best bench mob in Summer League. They are the only team that has a pulse.
Ulis and Booker Bromance Update
Devin Booker drives and kicks for a Tyler Ulis 3. One Blazer told Ulis yesterday that their chemistry isn't fair.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 11, 2016
Be sure to come hang with us on Tuesday when the Suns take on the Heat at 3:30 p.m.