The final holes of the Phoenix Suns’ 2013 Summer League roster have been filled, and as expected, the majority of the team will be quite familiar. Archie Goodwin, the 29th pick in the 2013 draft, and 57th pick Alex Oriakhi will be joined by last year’s draft pick, Kendall Marshall, and 2011 picks Markieff and Marcus Morris. Second-year point guard Diante Garrett and last year’s surprise, P.J. Tucker, will also play for coach Jeff Hornacek.
Former Syracuse center Arinze Onuaku, former Iowa State guard Chris Babb, former Washington State forward Thomas Abercrombie, former Temple guard Dionte Christmas and former Davidson forward Jake Cohen have also accepted invitations.
Phoenix will go with two-a-day practice sessions in the next three days in preparation for an opening game against the Portland Trail Blazers this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MST.
The most interesting aspect of this roster comes in the prevalence of likely rotation players. All but injured fifth overall pick Alex Len will be there — he is still recovering from a stress fracture. And thus, the battle for regular-season minutes begins.
This is a clean slate for Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Marshall, Tucker and Garrett. The point guards, for all we know, could be at risk of losing battles to Goodwin. The twins risk losing battles to the always-hustling Tucker and the physical Oriakhi.
Or, the old will cement their places over the new, giving hope that Lance Blanks’ operation wasn’t a completely outlandish one when it came to scouting and development.
Either way, the Suns have more reason than ever to really treat the summer league squad as a key part of the future. No, this isn’t about Hornacek getting his feet wet in terms of coaching. That’s a fun point of interest as well; Hornacek’s entire new coaching staff will accompany him to Las Vegas. But it’s more likely his presence is simply needed to, firstly, set the tone for the future culture and, secondly, to give Hornacek hands-on experience coaching with what he’s got available.
Does a player mope when things aren’t going well? Do Hornacek’s instructions go in one ear and out the other? As broad as the phrase might be, who’s going to play “winning basketball?”
The rebuilding Suns get a chance to set things straight — and right — with whatever happens in the summer league. While we won’t take the minutes dolled out as an exact representation of how it’ll go come the regular season, there’s no doubt we can make some assumptions about the future when this is all said and done.