In case you didn’t think the Suns have enough third-string level point guards on the roster, you might be excited that they added another one yesterday.
21-year old Jared Harper, who led the Summer Suns in point guard minutes, has been signed to stay with the team — though mostly with the NAZ Suns in Prescott Valley — all next season.
Jared Harper has agreed to a two-way contract with the #Suns, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA. Harper, who helped lead Auburn to the Final Four, averaged 10.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per game over Phoenix’s four Summer League games.— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) July 17, 2019
A two-way contract allows a player to be on the NBA roster for up to 45 days during the season — not including travel days unless there’s a game on that day — while spending the rest of the season in the G-League. If Harper is deserving of more time in the NBA next season, the Suns have the right to convert his contract to a full standard NBA contract at any time as long as they have a roster spot available. At the moment, the Suns do not have any of those after signing Frank Kaminsky and Cheick Diallo to their 14th and 15th spots on Wednesday.
Harper had a very good career at Auburn, named to the second-team All-ACC for the second year in a row after posting averages of 15.3 points (37% on threes), 5.8 assists (2.5:1 assist to turnover ratio), 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 32.9 minutes per game as a junior this past season. His 231 assists led the ACC and were ninth in the country.
Here are some Harper highlights.
Harper’s smart play and slashing drives led the Auburn Tigers to the Final Four of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, ending in a heartbreaking one-point loss to new teammate Ty Jerome’s Virginia Cavaliers. Jerome led the Cavaliers in scoring (21 points), assists (6) and rebounds (9) in that game, though it was Kyle Guy who drew the questionable foul call in the final seconds and drained all three free throws to give Virginia the improbable win.
Now Harper and Jerome are teammates on the Phoenix Suns, and will be fighting for the few available point guard scraps behind Ricky Rubio and the Devin Booker and Tyler Johnson playmaking lineups.
Harper and Jerome join other end-of-bench point guard prospects Elie Okobo, Jevon Carter and Jalen Lecque — all 19-23 years old — to form a five-deep rookie/sophomore competition for roster spots next season. Harper is the only one of the five with a non-guaranteed contract.
At 5’11” and 175 lbs., he is small for the NBA but is sturdier than former point guard prospect Tyler Ulis and should be able to withstand the physical pressure of the NBA game.
Suns depth chart for point guard minutes (meaning: the playmaking-est guard in a five-man lineup):
- Ricky Rubio
- Devin Booker
- Tyler Johnson
- Ty Jerome (R)
- Elie Okobo
- Jevon Carter
- Jared Harper (R; two-way)
- Jalen Lecque (R)
What order would you put them in, Suns fans?