The Phoenix Suns top-10 draft picks from the last two years, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, as well as second-year forward Derrick Jones Jr. (Airplane Mode!) and this year’s top top draft picks, #4 overall pick Josh Jackson and second round pick Davon Reed will all play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts a week from Friday on July 7, 2017.
To run the point, the Suns have reportedly signed 6’1” Mike James, who played on the SL squad a couple years ago and has since been a star in Europe.
Source: Mike James, Euroleague's most electrifying combo guard, has committed to make NBA jump with the Phoenix Suns.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) June 28, 2017
The way this is reported, it looks like the Suns are giving an NBA contract to James. Here's our own deadpoolio’s story on it.
James will be a great point guard option for the Summer Suns at the very least, what with Tyler Ulis out (ankle).
The Suns also signed a 6’8” center too. This guy looks only like a summer league invite.
Source: Darion Atkins, center for Dan Shamir and Israel's No. 1 seed, agreed to play with Phoenix Suns at the NBA Summer League.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) June 25, 2017
It’s likely that Chriss, who started 75 games as a rookie and was just named to the All-Rookie second team, will be a game-to-game decision on how much he actually takes the court.
We can otherwise expect Dragan Bender, who missed half his rookie season with injury, and Airplane Mode, who only played from the All-Star Break on, will get reps in every game, as will rookies Jackson and Reed.
AZ Republic beat writer Doug Haller first shared on the news on twitter.
Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Derrick Jones, Jr, will play for Suns summer league, along with rookies Josh Jackson and Davon Reed.— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) June 27, 2017
I know fans think Chriss and Bender will dominate during SL, but remember that SL is a ragtag week full of guys who have rarely played together running little-practiced schemes. So don’t hold your breath for Chriss or Bender or Jackson to blow away the field.
However, this lineup with those special athletes looks kinda fun, doesn’t it?
- PG Mike James
- SG Davon Reed (32nd overall in 2017)
- SG/SF Josh Jackson (4th overall in 2017)
- SF Derrick Jones Jr.
- SF/PF/C Dragan Bender (4th overall in 2016)
- PF/C Marquese Chriss (8th overall in 2016)
Not participating this summer:
- 2017 second round draft pick PF Alec Peters (foot)
- Second year backup PG Tyler Ulis (ankle surgery)
- Third year guard Devin Booker (way too good for SL)
- Third-year center Alan Williams (not under contract as of July 1)
Both Ulis and Peters should be ready to play long before training camp, but they just aren't in position to play in July.
Suns PG Tyler Ulis (ankle surgery) is doing spot shooting, light running. Will not play summer league, but still expected to be good by camp— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) June 27, 2017
“Big Sauce” Alan Williams is set to enter restricted free agency on July 1, so there’s no way the Suns can commit to him on the Summer League roster at this point. I do expect he would fly to Vegas, though, if the Suns resolve his contract in time and stays with his hometown team.
In addition to those five roster guys, expect the Suns to sign a number of undrafted and young veteran players to fill out the rest of the roster - ESPECIALLY a point guard or two.
Our own Geoff Allen provided a bevy of potential names on Tuesday.
The schedule for games is as follows
- Friday, July 7, at 7:30 PM versus the Sacramento Kings (on ESPN2)
- Sunday, July 9, at 1:30 PM versus the Dallas Mavericks (on ESPN)
- Monday, July 10, at 3:30 PM versus the Houston Rockets (on NBATV)
Playoffs start on Wednesday, which each team guaranteed at least 2 playoff games. Seeding from the first three games will determine when the Suns play on Wednesday/Thursday, with a maximum of seven games if they make it all the way to the Final on Monday night.
Yours truly will be on hand on opening weekend for games 1 and 2, followed by Evan Sidery during the week for game 3 and the opening of the playoffs, and then (hopefully) Keith Scheessele will cover playoff games over the second weekend. We got you covered!