Summer Suns disappointing

Lopez dominated the first Summer League game, but he's been practically non-existent since then. (Arnie Kuenn/Vertical Measures)

Lopez dominated the first Summer League game, but he has been practically non-existent since then. (Arnie Kuenn/Vertical Measures)

We’ve heard all summer long about how great 2008 draft picks Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic have looked while working out at US Airways Center.

Thus far in Summer League we’ve gotten the same old Lopez and Dragic we’re so accustomed to seeing from players plagued by that brutal ‘I’ word: inconsistency.

You might have thought Fropez was becoming the second coming of Moses Malone after throwing up a 24-16 in the first Summer League game (OK, not really, but at least that was a step in the right direction), but since then the 7-footer has practically disappeared.

Take the last two games, Friday’s 95-89 win over the D-League Select team and Saturday’s embarrassing 97-60 thrashing at the hands of Memphis.

Against the D-League team, Lopez put up 10 points, six boards and four blocks, mediocre numbers by themselves when considering he’s going up against D-Leagues who couldn’t even get an invite to a NBA team’s Summer League squad.

Making matters worse is the fact that he also fouled out in 22 minutes of play, and here’s the worst part: it takes 10 personals to foul out of a D-League game. So Ro-Lo basically picked up a foul every other minute, which is pretty difficult to do in itself, so give him credit for that.

If he’s doing that against D-Leaguers, what’s going to happen when he’s battling the Dwights and the Shaqs of the world?

Lopez followed that up by scoring just a single point (0-for-4 field goals, 1-for-4 at the line) with a mere four rebounds in 23 minutes against the Grizz.

The good news? At least he didn’t foul out.

Still, you’d expect a little more going up against rookie Hasheem Thabeet and Hamed  Haddadi.

Dragic has been better of late after a porous start to Summer League, pouring in 17 points in the last two, including an eight-assist effort against the D-Leaguers.

However, he hasn’t quite commanded the offense the way the Suns had hoped he would after all the work he put in this summer.

Earl Clark has also been fairly mediocre as well, going for eight and seven against the D-Leaguers and eight and five against Memphis.

And yes, Paul Coro writes, the Suns are concerned about these underwhelming performances.

On one hand Summer League means nothing, but on another hand it is a nice gauge of how young guys are progressing.

Still, it’s good for these youngsters to just get some work in going up against someone other than their teammates, and that’s about the nicest thing you can say about the Suns the past few days, at least they got their work in.

Good-bye, C-Ro

So Summer League is about the Lopezs, Dragics and Clarks of the world, but when Phoenix announced its summer roster I was intrigued to see Chris Rodgers at the bottom of it.

Did Rodgers have any chance of sniffing a Suns roster spot? Of course not, but at one time “Chris Rodgers” was a name that inspired strong emotions from Wildcat fans everywhere.

He was a supremely talented player who just never got it at Arizona. He butted heads with Lute Olson and was famously kicked off the team for three weeks during his senior year.

Rodgers explained his side of the story in this e-mail, ending with the infamous line “the truth shall set you free” that my colleagues at the Daily Wildcat always used to joke around about.

It wasn’t uncommon to see a group of UA basketball players goofing around on the top court at the Rec Center or to see a guy like Salim Stoudamire working on his shooting alone, but Chris Rodgers was the one guy you could count on to consistently show up by himself and take on kids with an ounce of his talent.

It was a bizarre sight watching a high-level college player taunting kids with a tenth of his athleticism when he drained a stepback jumper in their face. (I never played against him, but a few of my good friends did.) Too bad he didn’t do that more against guys his own size.

You might think I hate Chris Rodgers from the aforementioned passage, but he was actually one of my favorite players on that 2005-06 team (which I did not cover). He had to have been one of the best on-ball defenders in the nation that year, and watching him get up in the shorts of a helpless guard to force a turnover was a thing of beauty.

Defensively, Chris Rodgers has always been an impact player, and that’s why I was interested to see what he could do with the Summer Suns.

As it turns out, he was let go by the team after one game and one DNP, his final contribution to the Suns being two boards, one assist and one foul in 3:32.

On paper, Rodgers is one of those undrafted guys who can make it. Although he’s only about 6-foot-4, his on-ball defense would make him a guy a team like the Suns should crave.

If only Rodgers had spent a little more time working on his maturity and jumper instead of feeding his ego at the Rec, he might be more than a Summer League afterthought right about now.

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