The Phoenix Suns are one of 22 teams sending their young guys to Las Vegas for a week to build some chemistry and shake off some off-season rust against like competition.
Even though most of the Suns players aren’t old enough to legally drink alcohol, they are at least old enough walk the casinos in their off time. And something tells me not to worry about the other part either.
They likely won’t spend much time on the strip, though, since the main focus of the week is learning about this game of basketball.
Tonight, the Summer Suns face off on ESPN2 against the Sacramento Kings kiddie core at 7:30 PM at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Several of the Suns rotation players from last year will participate tonight, including Marquese Chriss (second-team All-NBA rookie), Dragan Bender (#4 pick last year) and Derrick Jones Jr. (runner-up at the All-Star Dunk Contest).
*out for Summer are Tyler Ulis (ankle) and Alec Peters (foot)
We are supposedly going to see Dragan Bender handle the ball a lot more on offense, while also defending the rim more on defense. I’m really curious how this will work out as the Suns continue to try to find Bender’s NBA niche.
Joining the Suns this summer are #4 overall pick Josh Jackson and #32 overall pick Davon Reed, both of whom signed guaranteed contracts this week.
PG Mike James returns (played with the Suns in 2015), this time armed with a new “two way” contract where he makes NBA money when he’s on the Suns versus G-League money when with the NAZ Suns. This new contract is more lucrative than a straight G-League contract by a wide margin.
David Stockton, son of HoF John Stockton, returns to the Summer Suns too. Stockton had played several years ago for the Summer Suns, when they were coached by Jeff Hornacek.
Christian Wood, a 6’11” forward out of UNLV itself, is playing for the Suns this summer too. Wood once was considered a promising NBA prospect but has not stuck with any team yet. Maybe this is the year.
Here is the whole roster:
Despite the signing of a whole bunch of old guys to take the kids’ minutes next year (Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and George Hill), the Kings have a lot to be thankful for on the kiddie core front. The question remains which one(s) will be impact NBA players.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, late of Suns’ fan fame, is finally going to play in the NBA but is NOT listed on the Kings Summer League roster. Color me sad. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Bogdan for a long time, so I am bummed.
But the Kings roster is stacked anyway: #5 overall pick De’Aaron Fox (who wouldn’t work out with the Suns), second-year guard Buddy Hield (first-team NBA All-Rookie), second-year guard Malachi Richardson, rookie first round picks Justin Jackson and Harry Giles and second-year first rounders Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissierre (traded to Kings for Chriss).
Can’t wait to see them all play.
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 next 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!