Summer League Day 1, "Sun Tzu" and more

It’s kind of hard to cover Vegas Summer League, when you’re stuck back in the Valley, but here are my impressions from a thorough analysis of the box score of the Suns’ 95-90 victory over Dallas.

Oh, and check out some video highlights, too, while you’re at it.

Obviously, Robin Lopez was the story of this game for the Suns, and that’s a very, very good thing. Yes, he’s going up against scrubs, but 24 and 16 is still 24 and 16. That includes five offensive boards, a pair of blocks, 7-for-10 shooting from the field and 10-for-12 at the line.

The rebounding is what impresses me more so than the scoring. The Suns have enough scoring on the floor that they just need @eegabeeva88 to be able to catch and finish on the offensive end.

But unlike last year when he really was one of the worst rebounding 7-footers in basketball, he needs to be a force in that aspect of the game next season. And why shouldn’t he be with that kind of size and athleticism?

Many people have questioned whether he wants to really be a monster down low. Hopefully Summer League can start to be a turning point for him going from a timid rookie to a nasty NBA center.

Paul Coro wrote about a recent scrimmage in which Lopez met Earl Clark at the summit when the rookie was trying to throw one down on him, and then proceeded to “stare him down like Pedro Martinez after a strikeout.” I’m not expecting the second coming of Dikembe Mutumbo, but that’s the kind of fire I hope we see out of Lopez next season.

As for the other regulars, Alando Tucker put up a non-descript 15 points and five boards and Goran Dragic scored just three points on 1-for-7 shooting in 17 minutes.

Phoenix Stan, who is lucky enough to be able to attend Summer League, wrote that Dragic just didn’t look right all game and even left the court about four minutes in before later injuring his groin. I still think these games are huge for his confidence and expect him to bounce back in a big way once he rights himself.

At least Dragic got in more run than Earl Clark, whose much-awaited Suns debut will have to wait a few days because he was scratched with tightness in his lower back.

My boss at real work, Arnie Kuenn from the Phoenix link building company Vertical Measures, was also lucky enough to be in Vegas speaking at a conference on Monday, and wouldn’t you know it he made time to fit in a little Summer League action.

Arnie tweeted that Tucker looked “pretty average” out there but that Taylor Griffin, Zabian Dowdell and Carlos Powell all impressed.

Dowdell went for 15 points, five assists and four boards, and Powell chipped in with 13.

Griffin scored just four points and grabbed a pair of boards, but you can already tell he’s a guy for whom stats don’t tell the whole story. Arnie tweeted that he made the play of the game by stealing it, taking it down the floor and then making a behind-the-back dish for a bucket.

Still, I like the idea from Bill SImmons’ mailbag to have Taylor undergo a face transplant along with his brother Blake to save little bro from the ineptitude of the Clippers. It’s the greatest sarcrifice a big brother could ever make.

Since the Suns won’t be doing anything else with the $18 million windfall from the Shaq deal now that they’ve officially completed Ben Wallace’s buyout, they might as well see if that kind of dough would do it for Donald Sterling. That would be better than Tyson Chandler anyway, right?

One final note, somebody who’s savvy with social media really needs to take over the Twitter account of “Sun Tzu,” and they better hurry.

Mike Lisboa from Bright Side explains why.

For those of you too lazy to click, this seriously appeared on @Amareisreal and on this twitpic: “Breaking News!!Stat is Dead,Reincarinated as Sun Tzu. Fans I love you all.I couldn’t do this with out you.God is my strength I can’t lose.”

Ummmmm, yeah.

At least we know “Sun Tzu” is optimistic about his return from major eye surgery …

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Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

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