The three Phoenix Suns taking part in the 2013 EuroBasket event have all had their ups and downs. So far, Marcin Gortat has had the most downs, but he did go out fighting on Monday as Poland played Goran Dragic and Slovenia for nothing but pride.
Unfortunately, that has been one theme of Gortat’s career. He saved his best individual outing as Poland won its first game of five in the first round of Group C play. Gortat scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He went 8-for-13 from the field in a 71-61 win against the Slovenian squad that, with the second round already in its sights, played Dragic just 18 minutes and veteran Bostjan Nachbar only 19.
Through the five games, Gortat averaged 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Not all of the blame falls on him, of course. Poland’s perimeter attack continuously struggled to threaten defenses that sent quick double-teams Gortat’s way. He recorded four assists in each of the first two games, but it was a familiar sign to see his shot attempts rise only when he was making buckets.
Gortat especially was shut down against Spain, playing 17 minutes and going 1-for-5 from the floor as the Spaniards routed his team by 36 points.
Dragic lays low in final first-round bout
In the loss to Spain, which was Slovenia’s second of the first round, Goran Dragic scored nine points in limited minutes. Italy had already earned the high-point mark of the Group F — the next round combines Groups A and B in Group E and Groups C and D in Group F. Because of that, there was little reason for Slovenia to push its luck with its best players.
Dragic finished with averages of 13.8 points, 5.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Two of the five games saw the point guard struggling with shot selection — he went 6-for-19 in a loss to Croatia — but there’s no question Slovenia wouldn’t be in position to beat Spain if Dragic hadn’t propelled them with a huge fourth-quarter.
Slovenia and Dragic play in a very interesting Group F. Italy is the only undefeated team of the 12 remaining squads, and they open second-round play against Slovenia on Thursday.
Kravtsov can’t find consistent minutes
Ukraine might be a darkhorse to go far in the EuroBasket tournament and in Group E joins France as the only team with a 4-1 record. One reason for the success of Mike Fratello’s squad has been its big man depth and the perimeter play of American Pooh Jeter.
Where recently-acquired Suns center Slava Kravtsov fits into that is hard to say. He has received from 14 to 22 minutes as a backup big and finished first-round play by averaged 7.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and a surprising 2.0 blocks per game. He is playing behind former Arizona Wildcats center Kyryl Natyazhko.
Ukraine will open the second round against Latvia on Wednesday.
Suns reportedly have interest in Royal Ivey
HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy reports the Phoenix Suns have interest in NBA journeyman Royal Ivey and could work him out. Ivey, a combo guard out of Texas, has proven to be a capable floor general and fine defender off the bench, but he doesn’t project to be anything other than a third-string point guard. With that slot already deep, the move could be a tiny hint at more moves upcoming. At the least, he could still earn an invite to camp.