Summer League is all about improving the young players on your roster, seeing how they play against similar competition. Management can also find that diamond in the rough from the camp invites that aren’t guaranteed a roster spot.
For the Suns that was only one of the objectives. The other one was to really push to win the whole thing. They threw in P.J. Tucker a starter from last season and a heavy dose of guaranteed players to ensure a decent showing in summer league. This would help give the fans hope, metaphorically wiping away the miserable 2012-13 season, instilling in the players a culture of winning. While they didn’t actually win the summer league trophy, a 6-1 record and becoming the runners-up in the inaugural Vegas Summer League Tournament is a good thing for the organization.
National media attention was on the Suns in a positive way for the first time in a while, and it felt good. Rave reviews discussed the steal that GM McDonough and his staff got in Archie Goodwin with the 29th pick in June. Also, the commentators were discussing the improvement of the Morrii and highlighting Kendall Marshall’s development.
From the games over the last week Suns management has probably identified who they should bring to camp. It probably will include Dionte Christmas, Chris Babb, Arinze Onuaku and Alex Oriakhi (whose stock has fallen, but since he was just drafted will probably be invited to camp anyway).
What did we learn from the 2013 Summer League?
- Suns head coach Hornacek is impossible to dislike, will be a good coach and instill a system that will be exciting now and produce results in a few years.
- Archie Goodwin is spectacular! He has everything, especially for someone so young, and is looking like the definitive steal of the 2013 NBA draft.
- It looks like a GREAT move to bring Marcus Morris over from Houston. It has made both him and Markieff, MUCH better.
- Kendall Marshall has improved various aspects of his game, but needs to keep it up. The next year of his life will be crucial for his development and longevity/trajectory of his career.
- P.J. Tucker is a MAN playing against boys in the summer league. Related: he could have played football very well.
Ultimately, this last week was a success, despite losing the finale. We learned a lot about the management’s fantastic talent evaluation, and haven’t even seen Alex Len yet. We get a glimpse of the type of coach Hornacek will be and the significant improvement of some key players.
That’s all you can really expect to glean from several days of basketball played in Vegas.