Apr 16, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee (22) drives in against Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson (34) during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Summer League: Suns outshoot Bucks late to win


LAS VEGAS — The Phoenix Suns used a barrage of three pointers late to come from behind and defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 93-82 on Sunday night in this second game of the Las Vegas Summer League. Trailing by eight after three, the Suns hit seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter and used a 15-0 run to put the game away for good late in the fourth.

They may not have needed a comeback if not for a couple of injuries that forced them to play shorthanded. Center Alex Len was held out with a broken pinky that he injured in Saturday’s game, and T.J. Warren received a cut to his eye that swelled to the point that he was limited to just five minutes.

Seth Curry led the Suns in scoring with 26 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter. Archie Goodwin led the starting unit with 17 of his own. Bucks second overall pick Jabari Parker struggled to find any rhythm and was held to 11 points on 4-15 shooting.

Who Impressed?

Miles Plumlee: The center had a huge bounce-back night after a poor showing in the Summer League opener on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. Plumlee had six points with 12 rebounds and three “loud” blocks that brought the gym to a frenzy. Plumlee’s two-handed block on Parker summed up Phoenix’s defense that help the forward to 11 points, a 4-for-15 shooting night and six turnovers. After not scoring a field goal on Saturday, Plumlee hit three, including two on jump shots. His 1-on-1 post moves were much stronger; on eight attempts he was 2-for-6 with two beautiful passes that led to free throws for his teammate. Overall, I saw the type of game that is to be expected in Summer League from the Suns starting center.

Seth Curry: Do not leave a Curry open. That should be common knowledge around the NBA by now. The “other” Curry put on a shooting clinic by going 5-for-7 from deep and 7-for-9 overall for 26 points. He scored nine points in the first quarter before sitting out the entire second quarter. He played sparingly in the third, but took the game over in the fourth. Anything that he threw in the air went in, including an and-1 three pointer that essentially sealed the win. Curry is earning himself a training camp invite somewhere this October if he continues to shoot the way that he is.

Archie Goodwin: This was another solid game from Goodwin, who posted 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting. He continued to be aggressive taking the ball to the basket and even showed a little bit of confidence in his outside shot by knocking down a three pointer. He continues to develop game by game and that is exactly what Suns fans should hope to see.

Who Needs Work?

Alec Brown: To be fair to Brown, we all knew coming in that he was raw and would be a project. The thing that sticks out to me is just how lost he seems on the floor. Going back to Saturday, Brown missed his first 11 field goals before knocking down a jump shot and a three pointer during the Suns’ 15-0 run. Maybe the strong finish can get him confidence to show us the shooting that the Suns thought warranted a late second round flyer on.

Final Thoughts

  1. It reality, it is a shame that Len’s Summer League is over after one game. He played fantastic on Saturday night with confidence and poise, something he didn’t have much of last year. A week of games would have helped his development greatly.
  2. To stay on topic, it was even more of a shame that Warren only got five minutes of playing time tonight because of a cut to his eye. He scored four points on two free throws and a long-range two-pointer. His injury shouldn’t keep him out for any other games and with a day off Monday, I would assume he is going to be fine for the rest of the week.
  3. The Suns ran most of the offense around Goodwin tonight, especially in the first half. There was a stretch in the second quarter where he was getting to the basket at will. It has impressed me with how much ease he gets to the basket, and when he gets fouled he is going to the free throw line and knocking down his shots.
  4. Tyler Ennis hasn’t done much to impress or depress in these two games. He has just been pretty blah. He is expected to play most of this season in the D-League, so the pressure is not on him to make the team out of camp. Even though he isn’t playing badly, the strong play of Curry isn’t making him standout. Suns fans can’t be quick to judge Ennis after this Summer League and have to remember that he is going to be a project coming out of the gates.
  5. Dionte Christmas has struggled mightily thus far. His outside shot has just not been there, and it is frustrating to watch, especially knowing how good of a shooter Christmas is. His time with the Suns could be running out regardless of his play this summer, but it will be important to show he can shoot the ball for other NBA teams.

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  • DBreezy

    I was fine with what I saw from Ennis. The fears that he would be Kendall Marshall 2.0 are/were way overblown. Tyler is way more confident with his handle and what he’s doing, even if he makes mistakes and he’s night and day offensively from Kendall. He took 8 shots and had some nice floaters, mid range jumpers, and had a great drive finish. We didn’t even see Kendall try most of that stuff in his second SL, let alone his first. He did some subtle pg things like get the struggling Brown a couple of good rhythm looks, that announcer Derek Harper noticed. He got out of control a few times with his handle, but always recovered and often found a way to make an assist pass out of it. No turnovers living up to his billing, and he really seems under control emotionally in the thick of things. The latter trait is one of my favorite things about Goodwin as well, since you just don’t see young guys play that way out of the box often. Tyler has a way to go, but he seems like a quality prospect. If the expectations are for him to be a standout offensively by scoring, I think there will be disappointment, but if it’s to see him get comfortable running a team at this level while competing hard and learning from mistakes especially on D then I think he will please overall this summer.

    • coachj

      won’t he be playing in the DL most of this season?

      • DBreezy

        That’s what Coro said and the Thomas signing makes it a good possibility, but we’ll see. Plumlee talked about in one of these articles, but the kid doesn’t really embarrass himself. Seems like not a big deal to some, but poise is huge for young players especially a pg. Coaches notice those types of things and if Tyler plays that way in camp, perhaps he spends more time with the team than expected next season.

        Also I think playing time for a lot of players is going to be determined by how the season goes win/loss wise. Sarver was on the telecast of the 1st summer league game as he didn’t inflate expectations. He said that they tried for the big play with Lebron, but now that that failed they were going to be patient. He wouldn’t take the bait on them being a playoff team, and talked about how tough the West is. The team is obviously collecting assets with the expectation of future moves, so if they’re middling along record wise in Dec-Feb who knows who could get moved or be out of the rotation?

  • 4everis2long

    It was a fun game despite not getting a look at Len and TJ. I agree Plumlee, Goodwin and Curry all played well. Ennis is not a bad guard. I am just not certain he was worthy of the #18 pick but he is very young so time will tell. In the summer league there were point guards drafted after him (Napier and Clarkson) who I think have looked better.

    DBreezy while there may have been some concern Ennis could remind some fans of Kendall Marshall as a pass first point guard with composure, I do not think anyone reasonably thought he was as bad as Marshall. Marshall was terrible on defense and had defective form on his perimeter shot. Ennis IMO did not come with that baggage. I have always thought Marshall was one of the worst point guards I have ever seen drafted in the lottery. I cannot speak for anyone else but I would not label Ennis as another Marshall.

    I agree Kev, Curry to my surprise looked pretty decent running the point in the 1st half. I think he will have a good chance of sticking somewhere if he continues to show point guard skills in conjunction with his outside game. I do not know if anyone can respond to this but if the Suns were or are considering not keeping Bledsoe why wouldn’t they sign D. Collison who was cheaper and is a much better defender than Thomas. I really hope they keep Bled but if they don’t having I. Thomas in the backcourt with Dragic will hurt the Suns defensively in a big way.

    Whatever the Suns do they have to free up time for Goodwin to get quality minutes. He brings it on both ends and as DBreezy commented he easily finds his way to the basket.

    • DBreezy

      I would expect Napier and Clarkson to be better at this point as they have more experience. I don’t really have any heartburn with Tyler going 18. I’m more curious if time will tell whether they should have traded up in the 1st or bought another pick in the 2nd to pickup another inexpensive 4.

      • Eric

        We are going to need 3 point guards this year. Gordon, first team. IT 2nd team and Curry or Ennis are both better than ISH. Should let him walk. Ennis had impressed me for a kid that is only 19. Strong dribble and strong drive to the hoop and finishes w strength for just a kid. D league is fine for this year. But, I’d rather have Curry that Ish as the 3rd point guard and better shooter than Christmas. Bledsoe and Dragic 1st team guards, IT and Goodwin 2nd team and Curry as a shooter and emergency point guard for when we get an injury to Goran or Bledsoe.

        • DBreezy

          The roster is currently at 12 players with guaranteed deals. No matter what they decide with Brown for next season, I expect that they’ll add a longer, defensive/rebounding type 4 one way or another. It could be a guaranteed deal via free agency or trade, or it could be another partially guaranteed deal that allows them trade flexibility. That could affect what happens with a guy like Curry. I don’t think they’ll carry the full 15 spots unless at least one of those guys isn’t on a guaranteed contract. I suspect that they’ll want to keep at least one spot open to be able to take more players back in future deals than they give out or if they get a good deal as a team under the cap where they absorb a player. In either case, I think Ish and Christmas are likely gone.

          If Curry shows well, I expect that he’ll take a deal elsewhere where he can get some PT, which is just tough for the Suns. Look at some of these guys in summer league last year that got good opportunities for deep lottery squads in places like CLE or PHL.

          • Eric

            They will need to have some low salary guys on the team to off set the cap. Goran, Bledsoe, Plumdog, Toliver, Tucker to start. Green, IT, Len, Warren and Kief off the bench. And Marcus, Goodwin, Curry, Brown seems like the way to go. Thats would be 3 quality at every position but the 4 or 5 depending on where Brown plays. But, Brown and Ennis could go D league or Brown could go overseas for a few yrs too. I have reconsidered keeping Green now at least until the deadline cause he can shoot and Goodwin still has not learned how to sink the jumper.

          • DBreezy

            Looks like Shavlik is going to be one of the low salary guys according to Gambo. I doubt they keep Brown here if they do that. Tolliver fills Brown’s potential role and in theory at least Shavlik fills the defender/rebounder role(yeah I know). They could go to 15 spots with Curry, but my get says they stay at 14 unless they can get a guy like Curry on a really flexible deal or they find a bargain to hard to resist at the backend of free agency.

            My guess is that Kieff starts at least initially unless he has a lazy camp, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Tolliver gets in the starting lineup later on. That lineup with Kieff is going to have to score more than it did last season or there will be changes likely with either PJ or Kieff.

      • 4everis2long

        DB where was Vonleh selected, 11th? I am not sure but I thought when the Suns selected TJ they commented he was one of the top ten players in the draft. Maybe that is why they did not trade up. I do not know what they were thinking but personally if all we had to give up was #14 and 18 I would have moved up as you suggested. Especially if we were not going to make getting a power forward a priority in free agency.

        • DBreezy

          I also think they could have made a low cost trade with Houston for Capella as it was clear that Houston wanted to do a stash to save cash. They seem to have zero interest in him coming over this season. That would have been a smart move for the Suns as they would have had the option to stash him if they needed the cap space for Lebron or bring him over as an inexpensive young PF off the bench. Or simply purchase a 2nd rounder and bring someone in cheaply. Take your pick there, including your man Powell.

          • 4everis2long

            True DB but McD just did not want all of that young talent on the bench. On one hand the team seems as though the roster is structured to win now and stash players who conceivably will not help soon. Which I guess is consistent with trying to win 55 or 60 games. However it is not logical to win now if there if there is only one power forward on the roster. On the other hand if Sarver is now begging for patience than I agree why not have acquired Capella either at #18 or trading for him? Very little makes sense so far this summer on Planet Orange.

          • DBreezy

            They may not want too much young talent, but that’s the nature of the NBA these days. The cba rewards efficiently using players on rookie deals. As we talked about a lot during the lockout, the real targets of the owners weren’t the stars, but the mid-level type deals and it’s working by and large relative to the past.

            In any case they aren’t structured to win 55-60 games, although I saw on Hoopshype that they did in fact go after Bosh which would have made that more than possible. I also was looking at undrafted Patric Young in summer league. That could have been a solid use of a purchased 2nd rounder. Maybe a camp invite or some sort of make-good deal for a guy like him if they don’t want to spend?

          • 4everis2long

            We do disagree DB.

          • DBreezy

            My guess is that the market for Bledsoe and Monroe is complicated. First by the Melo/Bosh/Lebron decisions and now by the scramble to lock up realistic targets. With the speed of things now, even the three days a team’s money is locked up waiting on an offer sheet decision could lead to them missing out on somebody they want. Even with the Thomas signing, I don’t think anyone around the league thinks the Bledsoe (or Monroe) signings will go any differently than what happened with Hayward. So it’s a matter of how long do we play this game to get a deal done? Eric Gordon is really the only big rfa to get his panties in a wad over this stuff around the league, so I doubt there the same sense of urgency in the front office that we fans feel.

    • DBreezy

      Btw, re our previous discussions looks like Dallas indeed continues a nice summer. They got two new starters, a solid cheap pickup in Jefferson, and look like they’re going to get Mo Williams to replace Carter’s sixth man scoring. Also Brian Shaw seemed pretty happy on one of the telecasts about the health of his team and how things are coming together roster wise.

      • 4everis2long

        Dallas IMO is having an excellent summer. They were intelligently aggressive in that they took a shot at Anthony but were not held hostage by his decision making process. Chandler, Parsons and Williams is a really nice net gain. I still cannot believe Houston could have kept Parsons this season for less than a million dollars before allowing him to become a restricted free agent. It would not surprise me if they took a shot at signing Bledsoe if they cannot get Love.

        • DBreezy

          The biggest thing that surprises me about this summer vs 2010 is that it seems like there was much less reliable behind the scenes communications between the players and teams. When Pat Riley cleared his whole roster, he knew what he was doing. Daryl Morey clearly didn’t know what he was going to get, but gambling that at least one star wouldn’t be able to resist playing with Howard and Harden. Who knows what’s happening with Monroe or Bledsoe? Things seem slow with both.

          • coachj

            Anytime you steal Chandler Parsons from your neighbor, you did well. Houston has had an equal summer to Dallas, except in the opposite direction. Only way they recover is if they offer Bledsoe. Let’s hope they do not!

          • DBreezy

            No doubt, I hope not. The other GM’s are taking this moment to pile on Morey in the media I see.

  • Eric

    This guy obviously was not watching Ennis closely he played great down the stretch ha d a couple nice drives and a and 1 that was very impressive. needs to work on his shot. Probably the mid range jumper cause he does not have 3 pt range. But, Curry was impressive I wonder if he can take the 3rd point guard role if Ennis goes to D league this year? Let Ish walk and go w Curry and bring Ennis a long slowly. Cause Ennis has great handles and is impressive on the fast brake and runs an offense well and can break down people off the dribble

  • 4everis2long

    Do the Suns pick up power forward Anthony Randolph who will likely soon be waived after being traded to the Magic?

    • coachj

      What about picking up Boozer when he is amnestied. I would do it on the cheap if possible…

      • DBreezy

        Certainly far more talented than Randolph and could come cheap because of amnesty, but a poor fit here imo. He open chaffed at his role in CHI on a clear cut playoff squad to the point that Tibs started him out of respect much like Gentry with Hedo. This isn’t a clear cut playoff squad and his likely role probably wouldn’t satisfy him either. He really hasn’t been effective in PnR basketball since his Utah days, even when Rose was playing. That wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Bulls if he was still efficient in the post but he’s not what he used to be-yet he still wants the rock all the time. Why introduce that to the starting or bench lineups of a young team? If they want that kind of vet, fellow Duke product Elton Brand would probably be a better team fit.

        I think Boozer would be a great fit in Memphis. His game fits their style and he wouldn’t have the same feelings about behind Z-Bo as he does being behind Taj Gibson (or Markieff Morris!). That would be huge for them, especially with Vince already on board to help their scoring. On 2nd thought, forget I said that….

        • coachj

          Boozer can hit a 15 footer. Brand cannot.

          I agree you don’t want to bring in an attitude problem. Only way you do it is if Boozer understands he is on the decline and is content being the cagey veteran who starts, but the minutes go to the young guys when it counts.

          Just a thought.

          I still think we should make a trade for Thaddeus Young… Philly seems ripe to move him and focus on Noel and Embiid.

          • DBreezy

            If Boozer didn’t understand that on a potential contender(pre-Rose injuries) with a cantankerous coach like Tibs, it makes you wonder if he’ll get it elsewhere. Perhaps the amnesty process and the fact that there was zero interest in him even as an expiring deal will change his tune. Brand doesn’t have range out to the 3pt line, but he can he hit a 15ft. In fact he improved greatly at that aspect of his game as he adjusted after that terrible achilles injury. Last season,Boozer had an eFG of .371 with 62% of his shots being jumpers. Brand had an eFG of .482 with 74% of his shots being jumpers. He actually had a higher eFG inside than Boozer to at .706 vs. .594 although it should be noted that Boozer shot 12% more of his shots inside than Brand. I think it should also be noted that Brand was already playing in a similar open style offensive system as the Suns that also had younger bigs ahead of him like Millsap and Horford (before his injury). He probably wouldn’t skip a beat here. Looking at some of the rumors out of Dallas about Marion, I wonder if he isn’t under consideration here as well.

          • coachj

            I have reconsidered. I do not want to bother with Boozer… Or Brand, or MARION for that matter. I realized that is taking a step backward. We don’t need to bring in an aging veteran. We have a couple of guys that have been in the trenches enough that are coming into their own and deserve a shot at being the locker room leader without some older dude flaunting his age and resume [that has long since disappeared] in his face…

            So, let’s let Dragic be the leader he can be, give him the team, and let’s focus on getting youngish guys coming into their prime.

          • DBreezy

            Locker room wise I wouldn’t mind Brand or Marion, they’ve never been problems anywhere they’ve gone. Both played on some bad teams after being on playoff squads and bounced back again. Boozer had problems in Utah before he went to the Bulls, so it’s not like what happened was a total surprise. For me as long as Brand or Marion are told their role before signing, it’s all about the price. I can take em or leave as I think Kieff is starting regardless.

    • coachj

      i am not a Randolph fan at all. He is a guy that refuses to do anything on the floor that his coaches want in favor of playing “his” game, which translates to pretty much nothing.

    • DBreezy

      He definitely fits the mold of the inexpensive 2nd/3rd chance project type guys the Celts took on and he is a stretch 4 by definition. I wouldn’t expect much from him, although I don’t expect much from whomever they pickup at this point. Channing shot 85% of shots as jumpers last season, Randolph took 70%. Both guys did so largely off assists at 81 and 85% of those attempts respectively. However, Channing had an eFG of .520 vs .370 for Randolph on jumpers.

      Looking at their overall eFG doesn’t make the situation improve for Randolph. He’s never played more than about 40 games a season outside of his rookie year, and most of it has not been due to injury. Even with having to sustain it for much longer minutes Frye has posted a 3 seasons with an eFG of .535 or better since joining the Suns and officially becoming a stretch 4. His worst season, 2011-2012, was at .490 which happens to be the best that Randolph has posted in his whole career. Not that the Suns would be expecting Randolph to be Frye offensively, just putting it into perspective. I expect that he would get outworked by Mook and TJ for backup 4 minutes as the season wore on and put to rest in the Warrick chamber.