The Phoenix Suns announced their official summer league roster on Wednesday.
Like last year, it is filled with an experienced and older group of names. The youngest guy on this list has four years of professional basketball under his belt. Also, there isn’t a single player from the 2022 NBA Draft. The Suns didn’t have any picks and decided that players not drafted from this class didn’t deserve a look.
Ish Wainright is the only player from last season’s active roster and he is not under contract currently. I do hope he is back, though.
Both two-way deals are available so these players do have a solid chance of at least a training camp invite. So, good luck to them.
Steve Scalzi will be head coach for the Summer Suns. He joined Monty William’s staff last season after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder where he worked in player development, analytics and scouting.
Here is the roster.
Would you like to know a little about each one? Sure, you do. I’ll help you.
Ish Wainright (6-5 235, 27 years old)
You know “Strong Man”. Let’s talk about what he’s done since the season ended.
He played the first two games of the first round of the 2023 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers repping Uganda. He averaged 19.5 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists per game in that pair of matches.
I’m excited to watch him get some good run to make the team not hesitate to sign him for this coming season.
Brancou Badio - Senegal (6-3 187, 23 years old)
“Papi” played a total of 28 games for the Fraport Skyliners of the German BBL and BAXI Manresa of the Spanish ACB in 2021-22
2021-22 Stats: 37/31/83.9 shooting splits for 9.8 points, 2.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 2.9 turnovers in 24.5 minutes per game.
If he can improve his shooting and reduce his turnovers, he could be a decent guard.
Vrenz Bleijenbergh - Belgium (6-10 209, 21 years old)
Vrenz only played a total of 13 minutes over the span of 3 games with the Windy City Bulls in the G-League. The majority of his play in 2021-22 was for Coosur Real Betis of the Spanish ACB where he played 14 games.
2021-22 Stats: 32.8/20.6/100 shooting splits for 3.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.6 turnovers in 14.7 minutes.
That line is... uh... not pretty to say the least but he is a talented point forward that can do a little bit of everything. If he can get the game to slow down a little for him then he can be a bit of a... unicorn, if you will. Look past the numbers and watch him.
Tyson Carter - Mississippi State (6-4 175, 24 years old)
He played for Mississippi State from 2016 to 2020 and since then has played international basketball. In 2021-22 he played a total of 33 games for Zenit Saint Petersburg of VTB United League/Euroleague and GS Lavrio in Greek League.
2021-22 Stats: 49.6/39.6/77.6 shooting splits for 1.3 treys, 10.9 points, 2.3 assists, 1.8 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.5 turnovers in 21.2 minutes.
Sure, it’s at a lower volume but those are solid shooting numbers and he doesn’t cough up the ball a lot either. Those are both recipes for success. He was named SEC Sixth Man of the Year in 2020, Greek League Best Five in 2021 and VTB United League champion in 2022.
Ahmad Caver - Old Dominion (6-2 174, 25 years old)
Caver played for Old Dominion from 2015 to 2019 and since then has played in the G-League for the Memphis Hustle. He did play a single minute in the NBA last season with the Indiana Pacers where he made his first field goal on his only shot.
2021-22 Stats: 40.9/28.4/72 shooting splits for 16.7 points, 7.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 turnovers in 36.7 minutes in 29 starts for the Hustle.
He’s smart and skilled, plays good defense and has shown he can run a team. However, he really needs to work on that shooting if he wants to make it to the league, even though he has shown the ability to do everything else.
Jehyve Floyd - Holy Cross (6-8 240, 25 years old)
This guy played for Holy Cross from 2015 to 2019. Since then, he has played international basketball including a total of 42 games for Fenerbahce Ulker and Panithinaikos in the Euroleague this past year.
2021-22 Stats: 63.9/52.7 shooting splits for 4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.6 blocks in 13.5 minutes per game.
His numbers in limited minutes don’t do him justice. Named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year twice, Greek League blocks leader and Super Cup winner in 2020, Israeli League blocks leader in 2021 and Turkish League champion in 2022, he throws his body around on defense and that may be a calling card up to the NBA.
Karim Jallow - Germany (6-6 198, 25 years old)
Experience is his middle name at this point. Despite being 25, he’s played international ball since 2013, including 49 games for Ratiopharm Ulm of the German BBL in 2021-22.
2021-22 Stats: 48.8/25.8/68.8 shooting splits for 0.5 treys, 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.6 turnovers in 20.6 minutes per game.
Karim is a tough and gritty wing that needs to improve his jumpshot (guess many do, right?) but has a solid motor and is fearless in attempting to get buckets for his team.
Louis King - Oregon (6-7 205, 23 years old)
In a total of 20 games with the Westchester Knicks and Stockton Kings of the G-League this past season, he had 45.1/37.3/78.9 shooting splits for 2.2 treys, 16.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 3 turnovers in 32 minutes per game.
MVP of 2021’s Summer League. Can he do it again? If you’re betting on which of these players gets at least a training camp invite, he may hold the best odds. He’s an athletic finisher with a 7-0 wingspan.
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr - Baylor (7-0 225, 28 years old)
The South Sudanese/Australian big man was a junior at Baylor for the 2016-17 season when Ish Wainright was a senior. He also played there for the 2017-18 season after coming over from Neosho County Community College and then redshirting. Jo has played internationally since 2018-19 and most recently played a total of 30 games for Melbourne of the Australian NBL last season.
2021-22 Stats: 53.6/37.5/65.7 shooting splits for 0.6 treys, 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 25.7 minutes per game.
With his length and the ability to step back and hit an occasional three while being a solid shot blocker, I’m surprised he hasn’t got a look in the NBA yet. He’s also got a little bit of a resume being named Big 12 All-Defensive Team in 2017, Third-Team All-Big 12 in 2018, NBL Best Sixth Man and NBL Champion in 2021 and All-NBL First Team in 2022.
Leonardo Meindl - Brazil (6-7 220, 29 years old)
Leo started playing professional ball in 2011. He was undrafted in 2015, the same class as Devin Booker. That’s how long he’s been at work. He played 28 games for Urbas Fuenlabrada of the Spanish ACB this past season.
2021-22 Stats: 44.9/39/76.5 shooting splits for 1.5 treys, 13.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 2 turnovers in 26.3 minutes per game.
The Brazilian forward can play three positions, is a good shooter and a solid rebounder. Despite not having NBA experience, he’s been at work for a while. That could show next to and against a lot of players that don’t have that time under their belts like he does.
Duop Reath - LSU (6-11 245, 26 years old)
He played for LSU for two seasons from 2016 to 2018 before going to play international including 30 games for Illawarra of the Australian NBL last season.
2021-22 Stats: 49.1/43.8/79.7 shooting splits for 1.5 treys, 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 27.6 minutes per game.
Duop can run the floor very well, has a reported 7-3 wingspan, is a solid shot blocked and can really shoot the ball. That says NBA all over it. Can he show all that at this level, though?
Olivier Sarr - Kentucky (7-0 240, 23 years old)
This big man is from France and came to the USA when he was 15 years old. He played international ball in the 2015-16 season and then for Wake Forest from 2017 to 2020 and Kentucky in the 2020-21 season. Last season he played 22 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder and 9 games for the Oklahoma City Blue of their G-League.
2021-22 Stats: 57.4/44.8/82.8 shooting splits for 0.6 treys, 7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 19.1 minutes for the Thunder.
Does he have potential? Oui! (That means yes in French.) Has he put it together? No. He’s a more traditional big that likes to face up and has good footwork. Albeit on low volume, he can hit the long bomb and he’s an above average athlete with good timing on defense. For whatever reason it just hasn’t clicked for him yet. However, he played more than decent for OKC last season and has an opportunity to build on that now.
Kameron Taylor - Seton Hall (6-6 200, 27 years old)
Kam played four seasons at Seton Hall from 2012 to 2016 before playing internationally for the last six seasons. He played a grand total of 53 games for Strasbourg IG of French Jeep Elite/Basketball Champions League Europe and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv of Euroleague/Israeli BSL last season. Looking at the game totals for the other players on this summer roster, he was a very busy man.
2021-22 Stats: 44.9/26.4/69.6 shooting splits for 0.6 treys, 7.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 turnovers in 21.1 minutes per game.
He’s an all-around wing that just needs some consistency on his jumper. Yet, he can still score and defend which gets you places like being the leading scorer in German ProB in 2017-18 and the leader in steals in Hungarian NB I/A in 2018-19.
Dejan Vasiljevic - Miami
Vasiljevic played for Miami (FL) from 2016 to 2020 and the Sydney Kings for the last two seasons where he appeared in 31 games last season.
2021-22 Stats: 41.2/35.6/84.1 shooting splits for 2 treys, 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 turnovers in 25 minutes per game.
In 2020-21 he made 41.5 percent of his 5.6 treys per contest so while his numbers were a little down this past season he can shoot and he gets buckets. That helped him become an NBL Champion this year.
McKinley Wright IV - Colorado (5-11 192, 23 years old)
He played for Colorado from 2017 to 2021 and although he was undrafted he caught on with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season playing 5 games for them where he totaled 5 points and 3 assists in 19 minutes. On a two-way deal, he spent most of his time in the G-League with the Iowa Wolves.
2021-22 Stats: 44.6/34.3/80.4 shooting splits for 1.9 treys, 18.9 points, 7.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.8 turnovers in 36.9 minutes.
If he seems familiar, it could be because he played basketball in AZ from 7th to 11th grade. He’s done things on other levels being named Minnesota Mr. Basketball in 2017, Pac-12 All-Defensive Team in 2020 and First Team All-Pac-12 three times. He’s a solid guard and maybe if he wasn’t under six-foot he would already have a home.
Kevin Zhang - Tulane (6-10 220, 23 years old)
From 2018 to 2020 he played for Tulane. Since then he has played for Liaoning in Chinese CBA where he had one heck of a first season. He appeared in 42 games for them last season.
2021-22 Stats: 42.7/36.3/79.6 shooting splits for 1.6 treys, 14 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.7 turnovers in 33.1 minutes per game.
He may be one of the flashiest players if he gets to show it and summer league fans should like him. In 2021 he was Chinese CBA Rookie of the Year, All Star, All Star MVP and Slam Dunk Contest Champion.
Do you need to know the schedule too? I got you.
Note - Times are local in Phoenix.
Game 1 vs Lakers - 7/8 @ 7P on ESPN2
Game 2 vs Wizards - 7/10 @ 230P on NBA TV
Game 3 vs Mavericks - 7/12 @ 7P on ESPN2
Game 4 vs Kings - 7/15 @ 5P on NBA TV
G5 - TBD