In our first real Suns action since the season ended, the team didn’t disappoint.
One person who needed to have a good summer league started out with a great game. That person was Kendall Marshall. While the stats weren’t stuffed (and with Kendall they never are) we saw improvement in all areas and he exuded a confidence and decisiveness that just wasn’t there during his short stints during the season.
He started out on a good note by splashing his first three-pointer and played pretty turnover free, except for one really bad one. He was aggressive and occasionally took the ball to the rim, guarding the ball from the defender, and even getting and and-1. A hard part of the game for Marshall was that for most of the game he had to guard Blazer’s rookie C.J. McCollum. Related: McCollum is REALLY GOOD.
The Suns cruised to a 13-point victory on the backs of the Morris brothers, who both could have easily padded their stats if they had been needed to play more minutes. The commentators touched on the story that Markieff had asked the Suns to trade for Marcus from Houston, and their college coach at Kansas, Bill Self had said Phoenix would get more from Markieff if Marcus was right there in the desert with him. We didn’t really see that manifest following the Suns’ acquisition of Marcus up through season’s end, but now it’s plain for the eye to see.
Both of the brothers look slimmer, more agile and engaged on both ends of the court. They were landing blow after blow with outside shots and Markieff was active on the offensive boards with a vicious put-back dunk. He and Kendall also hooked up for a back-door alley-oop, which Marshall is SO good at.
P.J. Tucker was just a man playing against boys. He was able to bully his way into the paint for easy scores and rip the ball away from the young rookies. After C.J. McCollum got hot, Tucker was put on him and McCollum couldn’t score at nearly the same clip as before. P.J. forced C.J. into an over-and-back turnover and a shot-clock violation, which would not have happened if Marshall or someone else had been defending the former Leigh star.
Archie Goodwin is REALLY ATHLETIC. He had a chase-down block that unfortunately was also called a foul. For such a young age he is somewhat polished on offense and has anticipation on defense, although he has room for improvement in all areas as he turns only 19 in August.
Some of the other invites played decently, although they were sloppy at times. At one point, one of them was caught in the lane for a three-second defensive violation. In this game, Phoenix had size over the Blazers and it showed.
The next game is Monday at 3:30 Pacific time, so 4:30 Arizona time, where Phoenix will play Minnesota.