The good luck streak had to come to an end. Let’s be honest, getting the No. 1 pick, landing a second top 10 pick, getting a coach that was well respected league wide, signing Devin Booker to a five-year max extension with no player option, being favored to win Summer League and Deandre Ayton being a double-double machine while going 3-0 was more luck in six weeks than we’ve had in a decade in Phoenix. Anyone who has rooted for the purple and orange for any length of time knew the good time train was bound to roll into sad sack station and the usual reservation at the Heartbreak Hotel would be waiting.
The great news is, said disappointment didn’t come in the form of a soul crushing major injury to a member of the Suns core. It came by losing in dramatic fashion in a meaningless game to a team who had yet to win a game in Vegas. And, unlike the city’s slogan and more like that tattoo you don’t remember getting, the lessons learned by the Summer Suns won’t stay in Sin City. They’ll make their way back to Phoenix.
We learned Igor Kokoskov’s offense is predicated on having a primary ball handler who can pass — a novel idea — especially entry passes. That lesson could be a valuable one since the roster, outside of unknown commodity rookie, Ellie Okobo, seems devoid of that particular skill.
Our suspicions were confirmed that Deandre Ayton is good but, thanks to the fact that it was glorified practice, we’re still not sure just how good he can be.
Shaq Harrison showed us again that he can play defense and Davon Reed showed he could do that and connect from deep after an abysmal rookie campaign. Even that may not be enough to keep one or both on the roster when it comes time to guarantee their deals for the 2018-19 season.
Mikal Bridges confirmed that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the Internet. That “hitch” that everyone saw in his jumper and caused a Carlton Bank’s sized panic among Suns fans for a day? It was fake news but the young Villanova product’s long range accuracy was the real deal.
The aforementioned Okobo showed flashes of his potential. Enough so that Suns Twitter, who has been more hungry than Joey Chestnut on the 4th of July for a point guard, is seeing visions of him contributing major minutes this season. It’s probably as much a heat enduced desert mirage than the truth as he’s still raw and likely will take a year or two to develop.
We all started to abandon Bender Island after the first few games until we realized our Marquese Chriss shaped raft was taking on more water than expect, that or it was inexplicably in Seattle, I’m not sure which. We got back to shore in time to see flashes of what the Croatian big man could be in Games 3 and 4.
We were reminded that purple and orange on any uniform was hot combination and that even a summer league purple jersey could look better than 75% of the league’s regular uniforms.
What we really learned though was that July 12, 2018 was the day that Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Ellie Okobo officially became Suns. That’s because, without great disappointment, you can’t truly understand the Phoenix faithful. So welcome home boys, hopefully you’ll one day be part of the solution to the 50 year championship problem. We’re just glad you didn’t waste the luck in Vegas.