Teams around the NBA have begun filling their two-way slots— mostly with Summer League standouts thus far.
The Phoenix Suns fall into a group of about a third of the Western Conference with two or more slots still open, and the impending G League affiliate will start to make those slots even more important.
I’ve already made the case for the two Summer Suns that I believe would deserve those spots, but the Suns would be smart to evaluate all options across Summer League. I’ve come up with a few names who impressed that would be good fits in Phoenix:
Xavier Moon: 19.6 points (57.7% on 5.2 3PA), 5.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists (2.2 turnovers), and 2.2 steals in 27.9 minutes with the Summer Clippers
Named to the All-Summer League Second Team, Moon starred in a very real way for the Clippers, leaving many in their corner to want him just on the regular roster, no two-ways about it.
The 6’2 28-year old impressed at Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference following a junior college stay. As a senior at Morehead, he averaged 16.0 points (41.0% on 5.8 3PA) with 4.6 assists (2.0 turnovers).
Following a journeyman career throughout European and North American pro leagues, Moon worked his way to a G League roster spot with the Agua Caliente Clippers in 2021-22. He’s impressed mightily in 50 career games over two seasons in the NBA’s minor league, averaging 20.6 points (40.6% on 4.6 3PA), 6.0 assists (2.4 turnovers), and 1.6 steals per game.
Moon has appeared in 14 NBA games over that stretch with the Clippers, averaging 4.6 points (35.3% on 1.2 3PA) and 2.1 assists (0.5 turnovers) in 11.2 minutes per game. This brings us to his excellent showing in Vegas this summer, showing that he’s a lockdown shooter and smart playmaker.
At 28, a Moon signing would be similar to Ish Wainright’s training camp deal which eventually became a two-way contract and then eventually a standard contract and multi-year stay all after Wainright was 27 years old when he made his debut for the Suns.
Moon also scored a game-high 23 points in his Drew League debut on Friday, where he said he’s still waiting to see what happens with the Clippers.
Jordan Ford: 16.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists (2.3 turnovers), and 1.0 steal in 30.5 minutes with the Summer Kings
At 6’1, Ford (like Moon) doesn’t really fit the trend of length that the Suns have been going after with most of their moves this summer, rather filling a more traditional point guard hole if they’re choosing to do so.
Ford piled on the scoring as a four-year man at Saint Mary’s, shooting 41.6% on over 500 career 3PA. Even as a primary scorer, he boasted a career 1.8:1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s spent the last three seasons in the G League:
- two with the LA Clippers’ affiliate
- most recently with the Sacramento Kings’ affiliate, where he averaged 14.7 points (40.1% on 4.9 3PA) with 4.6 assists (1.5 turnovers)
Eager to make his NBA debut, Ford wanted to make a statement in Vegas and did just that, leading the Kings in points and assists. Suns could use more table-setting on the roster, and Ford could provide just that while having a good shooting outlook as well.
With how productive he was, corners of the Kings community are calling for him to earn the third and final two-way spot in Sacramento. Those two slots are currently filled by wings in Keon Ellis and Jalen Slawson, so it would make sense for Sacramento to want a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option should De’Aaron Fox go down for several weeks or more.
If he manages to escape Sacramento unsigned, Suns should certainly take a look at Ford.
Mikael Jantunen: 9.7 points (57.1% on 2.3 3PA) and 2.7 rebounds in 18.4 minutes with the Summer Warriors:
More of a wild card, diamond-in-the-rough chance this would be taking, Jantunen is a 6’8 Finnish forward who played two years of college ball at Utah before returning to Europe where he averaged 8.9 points (38.0% on 1.7 3PA) and 4.9 rebounds in 23.6 minutes in the Italian league.
He reminds me a bit of Toumani Camara finding good offense out of dribble-handoffs, dives, and all kinds of paint actions. Also able to hit threes at a decent clip for his position, a gamble on the 23-year old would mean doubling down on surrounding the main core of the team with versatile forwards.
Appearing on the preliminary roster for Team Finland ahead of next month’s FIBA World Cup alongside Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, Jantunen recently exercised an exit clause in his Italian contract, leaving him totally available for NBA interest.
Expect the Suns to join the flurry of news soon as they look to fill out their two-way slots, which could coincide with the official announcement of the G League affiliate, expected soon.