The Phoenix Suns have called up rookies Jalen Lecque, who has their 15th roster spot this season, and forward Tariq Owens and point guard Jared Harper from the NAZ Suns to join them on their road trip this week.
All of Harper, Owens and Lecque were in Milwaukee this weekend to prep for Suns vs. Bucks today at noon. The three players have spent almost the entire season with the NAZ Suns, a G-League team in Prescott Valley.
But why call ALL of them up? The Suns can only activate 13 players at a time and they already have 14 other players on the roster.
Maybe they just want their youngest players to experience one of the coldest places in America to remind them how good they have it in Arizona?
Maybe they just want to throw a killer Super Bowl party this evening after the matinee game?
Maybe the Suns need the bodies because are about to announce a three-player trade on a day that’s already dominated by an important regular season game and the NFL’s Super Bowl?
Or maybe it’s because they have six players on the injury report right now, and at least four of them have already been rules out of Sunday’s game.
Frank Kaminsky is still out indefinitely with a fracture in his kneecap. Aron Baynes (hip soreness), Cameron Johnson (quad soreness) and Dario Saric (ankle soreness) are day-to-day and already ruled OUT for the game today.
Saric rolled his ankle four minutes into Friday’s game and did not return. He was limping noticeably as he left the locker room after the game.
Ricky Rubio (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE. Rubio’s ankle has been bothering him a few games now, so maybe the Suns have decided he’s going to sit out at least half of this back-to-back.
Tyler Johnson (knee soreness) is PROBABLE. The Suns could really use Johnson, who finally made a few shots this past week and suddenly looks like a playable rotation player again. He has scored 18 points over the last two games on 6-11 shooting, including 4-8 on threes.
If all those guys miss the game, the Suns won’t have a single player over the age of 24 to throw at the Bucks this afternoon.
Without Saric, the Suns have only two big men taller than 6’7” in Deandre Ayton and Cheick Diallo. Spindly Tariq Owens now joins them the fray. Owens is long and active, but he has even less of an offensive game than Diallo. Still, a body is a body.
The 6’9” Owens, who is already 24 years old despite being a rookie thanks to some injury issues in college, has averaged 9.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game for the NAZ.
The adding of Harper and Lecque at the same time indicates that maybe the Suns will be without Rubio and/or Tyler Johnson.
If Rubio is out, that leaves 48 minutes of point guard duties to Elie Okobo, Ty Jerome, Jevon Carter and now maybe Jared Harper. Okobo has recently lost his rotation spot to Jerome and Carter, who have both suddenly looked good. But Williams has learned the hard way his backup point guards are wholly inconsistent.
Jared Harper has been the 8-23 NAZ Suns best player this season with 20.8 points and 5.4 assists per game and 40/35/83 shooting splits. If Harper wasn’t smaller than Tyler Ulis, I’d be more excited about his NBA future. But hey, maybe he’s the exception to the rule.
Minutes could also go to rookie scoring guard Jalen Lecque, who wowed the G-League crowd and social media with this dunk.
Suns rookie Jalen Lecque doing his best impersonation of rookie Vince Carter reverse dunking against the Pacers. pic.twitter.com/XIlBQ8ERUW— David Astramskas (@redapples) February 1, 2020
Before you begin to believe the new world is upon us with the exciting Lecque, please remember he is barely 19 years old, has 42/24/57 shooting splits, and comes off the bench for a NAZ team that’s just 8-23 on the season (though he’s third on the team in minutes played).
Here’s another fun Lecque dunk. First, the still shots to show you how far he jumped.
Still can't believe the dunk that Jalen Lecque made earlier today in a Northern Arizona/Agua Caliente game. pic.twitter.com/wX29bynEfz— Dakota Schmidt (@Dakota_Schmidt) January 26, 2020
And now the dunk itself.
Ultimately, we might just see these young guys at the end of a 40-point blowout loss to the 41-7 Bucks today while former Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe watches from the victor’s bench.
But hey, it’s fun to watch the kids play!
The Suns (20-28) play the Milwaukee Bucks (41-7) today at NOON, so you can get your Suns fix way before the Super Bowl starts.