Breaking down the Phoenix Suns Summer League roster


The Phoenix Suns Summer League team will undoubtedly be a learning period for Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall, the squad’s two pieces that will take what they learn in Vegas to the NBA season.

But who are the other guys? While there are a couple of players from nontraditional basketball schools on the team, the Suns have a bevy of experienced collegiate players from NCAA teams known as winners.

Here’s a quick glance at the entire roster with as much as this writer can tell you about each player.

P.J. Tucker

Texas

6-foot-6, 224 pounds

The 35th overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in 2006, Tucker spent only one season in the NBA before heading overseas. He’s a bulldog of a wing who Summer League head coach Dan Majerle said stood out on Thursday during the team’s practice. Tucker’s aggressiveness makes him a deadly scorer who can finish in the paint. But he also has an outside stroke; he shot 47.5 percent from three-point range in 44 German League games last season while averaging 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

 

Marcus Landry

Wisconsin

6-foot-7, 225 pounds

One of the last players cut from the Suns roster before this past season, Landry is a beefy small forward known for his hustle. But the younger brother of Carl Landry has a perimeter game, too. He played this past season for the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks and averaged 20.6 points while shooting 41 percent from long range.

 

Jacob Pullen

Kansas State

6-foot, 187 pounds

Known as an ultra-competitor, Pullen went undrafted after four years with the Wildcats. He’s more of a scorer than a pure point guard and averaged 16 points and 3.2 assists a game last year in the Italian League for Angelico Biella.

Pullen was absent at the end of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices when the media was allowed into the practice court, but the Suns said he’s still on the roster.

 

Matt Howard

Butler

6-foot-8, 220 pounds

Two times did Howard make the NCAA Tournament’s final game with the Bulldogs, but his accomplishments in college were perhaps overlooked by NBA teammates Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack. The big man is perhaps a bit undersized at the NBA level, but he averaged 12.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 13 German League games last season after going undrafted.

 

David Lighty

Ohio State

6-foot-6, 216 pounds

A player who could be compared to the Suns’ own Jared Dudley, Lighty was projected as a second-round draft pick a year ago but fell out of the draft altogether. He’s a do-it-all type who played in Italy-Serie A last season. He’s the Buckeyes’ all-time wins leader after playing four seasons at OSU and was an All-Big Ten Defensive Team selection.

Erving Walker

Florida

5-foot-8, 176 pounds

Like Pullen, Walker has a competitive fire that’s boom or bust at the point guard slot considering his shot selection. He left Billy Donovan’s team after four years as the Gators’ all-time assist leader — he averaged 3.8 assists a game this past year. A Brooklyn-born player, Walker’s size hurts him as a scorer, and he only shot 39.2 percent from the field as a senior.

 

Patrick O’Bryant

Bradley

7-foot, 248 pounds

You were probably wondering where this guy has been. After being selected ninth overall by Golden State in 2006, O’Bryant played for the Warriors, Raptors and Celtics for a career average of 5.8 minutes per game before falling out of the NBA. Last season, he played in Puerto Rico and averaged 11.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

 

Matt Gatens

Iowa

6-foot-5, 213 pounds

The Iowa born and bred guard went relatively unnoticed in four years at Iowa, but he came on strong his senior year and got a little notoriety as the Hawkeyes upset a number of solid Big Ten squads this past season. If anything, Gatens is a scorer who can stretch the floor with a pure jump shot — he averaged 15.2 points per game in the 2011-12 season but a couple of times went for 30-plus.

 

Charles Garcia

Seattle

6-foot-9, 229 pounds

Garcia played two years of junior college ball before having one successful season at Seattle. Majerle said Garcia was one of the more impressive players in camp on Thursday. He’s played everywhere from Turkey, to Mexico to four D-League teams — he was a D-League All-Star in 2012 — along with the Knicks’ Summer League team. Garcia was also signed to the Atlanta Hawks roster before getting waived in the 2011 season.

 

Diante Garrett

Iowa State

6-foot-4, 190 pounds

Garrett played in France last season after going undrafted in 2011. He’s an oversized point guard who can score with a quick release on his jumper. He had a high assist output in college, averaging 6.1 dimes per game his senior year, and Garrett can rebound decently for a point guard.

 

DeShawn Sims

Michigan

6-foot-8, 224

In 2010-11, Sims was the D-League rookie of the year while with the Maine Red Claws. Since, he played in the Korean Basketball League and averaged 23.9 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. Sims has also appeared on Summer League squads for the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks.

 

Akos Keller

Albacomp (Hungary)

6-foot-9, 230 pounds

A member of the Hungarian national team and a Hungarian League All-Star the past two years, Keller is a true center who averaged 11 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting over 60 percent from the floor.

 

  • joey

    i think they should give marcus landry a shot. maybe as 12th or 13th man. i like his game and he plays hard every possession like j-dud.

  • Scott

    Might have mentioned that Pullen was busy playing in the Orlando summer league, on the Philadelphia team. He was a top scorer, averaging 13.7 ppg.

    In other news … Diaw just re-signed with the Spurs.

  • Scott

    Timberwolves just waived Martell Webster. Suns *could* grab him off waivers, possibly for cheap.

    Kevin McHale on the Dragic brothers: “You’ve got Goran and Zoran … and I’m not sure what the parents named the 3rd son.” ;)

  • Michael

    @scott

    3rd son- LORAN! haha. On a serious note… I don’t know if the rockets amnestied Scola yet… but if they do/did, I think the suns should try to pick him up. I bet it’s a long shot, but that dude is a pitbull.

  • Nathanael

    Oh yes we gotta sign Lighty.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Gatens, Sims, and Keller are who I’m most interested in, besides the #NextPointGod and Keeeeeeeeeef.

    The way the Suns roster is currently constructed along with the types of game those 3 guys have I can see potential bench mob spots for them depending on how the rest of the free agency period goes.

    Living down in Australia currently I’ve had a lot of chances to see Keller on TV. He’s a freaking beast and would look lovely with the bench mob.

    To try and paint a picture, he has a bit of Diaw (the small bit that remains in shape) to his game where he’s got that interior vision and makes great passes out of the post or as he’s diving on a PnR.

    He can finish with either hand. He has a bit of Lou Amundson in him because he will dive, fight, scratch for rebounds until either he or somebody else has possession of the ball.

    He, unlike RoLo after HALF A DECADE, knows how to turn and dive HARD off a pick and roll and he can finish at the rim.

    He also has range. 3 point range.

    Tried to find a decent youtube mixtape of him. This is the best one I found.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0cFpsdcb_k

    I think that if he has a great showing in Vegas especially, considering Frye’s injury status, he could find a spot on the roster. He seems to really understand where to be in regards to playing a PnR system with a point guard who is willing to get him the ball so I think he and Marshall would be very nice together.

    If Redd doesn’t return, and even if we get EG or Mayo, I can see a guy like Gatens taking Mike’s minutes from this past season. His shooting stroke is pure peacock feathers-soft and beautiful.

  • Scott

    If you have NBA TV you can see the Suns play at 1 PM Sunday.

  • A-ROCK

    Keller does look good, we need to replace the matrix’s position so I would definitely get him and put him at sf as a back up possible starter once we see what beasly gives at that position.

  • Scott

    @A-ROCK -

    Unless the Suns acquire someone else, I assume Beasley will start at PF for the first third-to-half of the season, due to Frye’s injury.

    At the moment, with no Mayo, I assume the starters would be: Dragic, Dudley, Childress, Beasley, Gortat.

  • A-ROCK

    @scott who put you in charge, I don’t want your assumptions just like I don’t care about fry. More than likely they should put beasly at sf and markief at pf, then everyone else knows there position. childress is not starting on this team or any team for that matter, that was a dumb assumption.