Phoenix Suns 99, New York Knicks 74 – Summer League success

The youth movement is officially on in Phoenix and it has tallied its first victory. The Suns’ Summer League squad trounced the New York Knicks 99-74 on the far-flung battlefield of Las Vegas’ Cox Pavillion. Markieff Morris led the way with 21 points, on 7-of-16 shooting, and nine rebounds.

The Suns as a team shot nearly 53 percent from the field and 10-of-21 from beyond the arc. They held the Knicks to under 40 percent shooting for the game.

Summer League basketball is never the prettiest thing to watch, but the Suns had several stretches of quality play in this one. Offensively they had their way with the Knicks, and defensively they put in a strong albeit erratic effort. Team defense is difficult to institute in the short amount of time summer squads have to practice, but the Suns got the job done with solid effort from all five spots. Phoenix forced New York to play isolation ball for most of the game. The Knicks recorded only nine assists in 40 minutes of play to go with 15 turnovers. The only standouts for New York were Chris Copeland, Mustapha Farrakhan, and Wes Witherspoon.

Copeland was far and away the best player on the floor for New York. He was strong offensively, scoring on penetration, post ups, and jumpers. Defensively, he was the only Knick with any intensity, recording two blocks and a steal. Knicks legend Walt Frazier, who was commentating the game for MSG, was singing Copeland’s praises throughout and fully expects him to get an invite to training camp.

Farrakhan asserted himself in the second half and impressed with his ability to get into the lane. He has great strength for his size, quickness, and a solid handle. He had 10 points and four boards in 16 minutes. Witherspoon was also great off penetration. He was only 2-of-6 from the field, but he earned six free throws in a game where the referees really swallowed their whistles.

The Knicks will be slightly disappointed in the performances of their NBA legacy players. Chris Smith, brother of Knicks’ SG J.R. Smith was 0-for-6 from the field in 27 minutes of action. Mychel Thompson, son of former NBA star Mychal Thompson and brother of Golden State’s Klay Thompson, was only 1-for-4 from the field in 17 minutes.

As for Phoenix, all five of the starters looked great offensively. Point guard Diante Garrett dished out 10 assists and only turned the ball over twice. Although I don’t think he has much of a left hand, Garrett is a good ball handler, and the team’s offensive efficiency can be attributed to his court vision and Markieff’s dominance.

DeShawn Sims also played very well, scoring 16 points and hitting both of his attempts from downtown. Sims and Garrett were both an astonishing +32 in this game. Marcus Landry, who nearly made the team last season, scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. It’s staggering how much he looks like his brother Carl Landry. The one difference is Marcus’ shooting touch from beyond the arc. He went 1-for-3 on the night, but I like his shot and believe he should continue to look for it.

Coming off the bench, I liked Patrick O’Bryant’s size and physicality. I also liked point guard Erving Walker. Walker is listed at 5-foot-8, but he’s nowhere near that tall. The not-so-big man didn’t let his size hinder him offensively. He didn’t miss a shot, going 5-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-2 from downtown. He did turn the ball over twice, but his quickness was often too much for the Knicks to handle. Draft pick Kendall Marshall was present but did not play because he and the team have yet to come to terms on a contract.

This was a solid start to the exhibition season for these young guys. Morris was incredibly assertive offensively, and to my eyes looked far more agile and quick than he did last season. This is good news for the franchise as they look to get more production out of the power forward spot in the upcoming year. Morris doesn’t seem reticent to take on the challenge of being the offensive focal point. That’s the best-case scenario for Phoenix this summer. If Morris can make a jump in his sophomore season, the Suns will be much better for it.

The squad still has four more games in Vegas over the next week. If they can play like this the rest of the way, a bunch of these guys are going to get an invite to training camp from Phoenix or one of the other 29 teams.

Tags: Markieff Morris New York Knicks Phoenix Suns Summer League

  • Scott

    Why wasn’t Kendall Marshall in the game? Is he injured?

  • jordan


    no he hadnt signed his contract but will be able to play tuesday

  • shazam

    wish this site could provide a writer who would address the biggest question on everyones mind…wasted my time reading this piece of crap looking for mention of marshall and then had to find out from another site how bad the knicks are playing…they lost by 50 in their opener…ryan I’m sure you’re good at something but blogging for the suns isn’t it

  • shazam

    is michael on vacation?…whos the editor around here?who is in charge of vetting ryan?who decided ryan is capable of blogging…whos in charge of this synagogue?

  • Ryan Weisert

    Your constructive is much appreciated. Marshall, and the reason why he didn’t play, were mentioned in the last line of the 6th paragraph. The Knicks lost by 16 in their opener, not 50.

  • Francesco

    Good Work Ryan Weisert!
    Greetings from Italy!

  • Manny

    Good write up, Ryan. Not sure how everyone missed what you clearly wrote.

  • shazam

    thanks for adding that sentence ryan about marshall..late is better than never…much better article now.. also just read your last article…cant find anything wrong with it..if i could find something wrong with it guess who would be the first to let you know

  • Scott

    To me this was a horribly boring game and an utter waste of time to watch. The only reason I tuned in was to see Marshall in action, and how he’d play with Morris.

    Other people apparently didn’t have the same interests or priorities, as Marshall wasn’t mentioned in the telecast till 2 min. before the end of the game (despite Marshall being a lottery pick and sitting courtside), and in the article above he wasn’t mentioned till the end of the 9th paragraph. I had to use my browser’s Find feature to locate his name.

    The information I considered most important was buried in the least visible part of the article; not in the intro, or close to the top, or at the conclusion, and no paragraph began with a mention of Marshall.

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  • Morgan

    Hey Scott and Shazam! How about both of you take your nit picking asses and start your own blog, because at least once a week I read a comment from both of you complaining about quality of this blog. Have you two read the other blogs from the true hoop network? They are mostly terrible. Have you read the posts from bleacher report? Most of them are ridiculous opinions from kids that still live In their dorms. This is a quality blog…..End rant!

  • Morgan

    Also Scott summer league games are generally boring. They are low scoring games with a bunch of guys who have never played together until a couple days before. What are you expecting? The fact the suns scored 99pts and over 50% is impressive. Plus if you watched the first half Morris was a beast. He scored from every where and I was extremely pleased to see that he has been working on his game.

  • shazam

    ryan is the only contributor i complain about morg..he just doesn’t get it a lot of the time..dont get me wrong he constructs sentences well he just doesn’t research much or understand what the fans want addressed..its like he got the assignment from some buddy buddy system and not on merit..hes the only one who spews vanilla on this site…just a bunch of pablum..if this was the bleacher report i would just roll my eyes but valley of the suns has a higher standard or used to before ryan started putting his 2 cents worth in…and i mean 2 cents as in 2 cents..not literally….if sticking up for moronic journalism gets you an extra kiss on your saturday walk then i understand

  • Morgan

    Shazam I agree he could have gone into more detail in certain areas. My only complaint is he could have gone into more detail on how Morris played being he is one of the few truly meaningful players that played. Its not a artictle. It’s just ok. Some of Zimmerman’s stuff is blah. I feel like he just repeats some things that Schwartz writes.

  • shazam

    morgan u and i are fine bro..ive just pointed out some ryan crap 2 times in my history track record is not to berate the writers…when i am compelled to berate anything i always err on the side of way too hard…for the most part i spend my time trying to get steve and tony to find common ground :)