What: Phoenix Suns vs. New York Knicks Summer League
When: 6:30 PM
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, UNLV, Las Vegas
While the NBA reels from two seismic events on the West Coast on Saturday night — a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that was felt at Summer League in Las Vegas as well as the Clippers’ acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — the Suns wistart competition on Sunday.
The Suns-Nuggets game originally scheduled for Friday night will simply be canceled. These are exhibition games, no big deal.
Yet as we’ve written here already, draft picks Cam Johnson and Ty Jerome won’t be taking the court for the Suns. That means we’ll get a larger dose of Elie Okobo and Jalen Lecque, two guards who admittedly should dominate the scrimmage structure of Summer League.
Summer League is built for guards, as the lack of structure benefits the guy with the ball in his hands who can create a shot for himself. The coaches will likely try to script a few plays in the half court, but Lecque and Okobo will probably have the green light to chuck shots as well.
We could see some fun transition plays from Lecque this week. His speed is one of his only known NBA skills, and he should be able to scoot past porous transition defenses.
Seriously, anything seems possible for this guy this week. Could he cause another earthquake when he dunks? Maybe! Don’t rule anything out. We literally know nothing about this dude other than that he spent five years at Brewster Academy and was the Suns’ top priority in the minutes immediately after the draft.
Lineups featuring Lecque, Okobo and Tariq Owens should be pretty fun. Let’s hope we see a lot of that, as those feel like the three guys on the Summer League roster most likely to actually be on the Suns’ roster in some capacity this year, as Owens is a solid option for a two-way contract.
We’ve also heard from John Gambadoro that this week’s game could be something of an audition for Okobo in front of the whole league’s eyes. Phoenix will try to trade Okobo before training camp to clear a guard off the roster and make room for Lecque, Jerome and Ricky Rubio.
That may mean the second-year Frenchman throws caution to the wind a bit, but that’s what this tournament is for. Enjoy the skilled youngster, it may be our last chance to see him in a Suns uniform.
The Summer Suns should be up for a good test against New York. The R.J. Barrett hype will put an electricity in the arena, while Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox are legit NBA athletes. Don’t be surprised, though, if Phoenix’s rookies put on a weird, wild show.