The Phoenix Suns announced their 2018 Summer League roster a couple of days ago, and while there was one disappointment – Devin Booker isn’t on the roster – there was one surprise as well, and one particular lineup that might even be seen in the regular season.
Is it just me, or do you wish that Josh Jackson really did decide to wear number 99?
The Phoenix Suns announced their 2018 Summer League roster a couple of days ago, and the first thing that everyone scanned for was to make sure that Deandre Ayton would be playing.
The answer is yes.
Beyond that, how good is this team going to be?
The Summer League Suns have not won a championship in recent history, although they have been close on a couple of occasions. And while a Summer League Championship means a whole lot of nothing in the grand scheme of the big club, grabbing a title like this, by a roster mostly comprised of young players who are projected to eventually become the core of the winning Phoenix Suns teams, does mean something.
So when the roster was released, sure many fans wanted to make sure that they will get an early look at Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Elie Okobo in action, but they also wondered, “is this team finally good enough to win the Las Vegas Summer League Championship?”
The short answer is, yes.
Phoenix has five returning members of the 2017-18 NBA roster, on the Summer League team, Jackson, Dragan Bender, Shaquille Harrison, Alec Peters, and Davon Reed. Bender and Jackson though started nearly as many games for Phoenix as they did coming off the bench, and thus will encompass the bulk of the most true veteran NBA experience.
That said, Harrison was a major contributor at point guard down the stretch for the Suns, and Reed and Peters played quality minutes in the waning games of the season as well.
What really makes this roster exciting though is that Jackson and Bender will have the opportunity to get some early run with their newest Suns teammates who will be the focal point of viewers, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, and first overall pick Deandre Ayton.
Marquese Chriss is disappointingly not on the Summer League Suns roster.
One lineup that a lot of fans would certainly like to see that might actually have a shot of being ran on the big club at some point in 2018-19 is as follows:
PG – Elie Okobo
SG – Mikal Bridges
SF – Josh Jackson
PF – Dragan Bender
C – Deandre Ayton
Not only are all five players all but guaranteed to be on the Suns’ roster this year, but it could prove to be one of the absolutely most potent offensive squads in the entire Summer League, and my vote for the starting lineup on Friday.
All five players are NBA-level shooters; all five do matchup into these proposed positions, there is really no finagling to try and make someone fit just for show; and with Bridges and Jackson in the same lineup, they can begin what will hopefully be many years of working together defending the opponent’s top-two players allowing the other less capable defensive players to try and lock down lesser talent.
Phoenix opens up against the Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks on Friday and then plays the following afternoon against Marvin Bagley and the Sacramento Kings. Both games which will be broadcast on ESPN television, as well as ESPN Radio 620am in Phoenix, and both will be live-tweeted (as well as every other Summer League Suns game) at @valleyofthesuns.
With the eight-man deep roster of NBA talent ready to roll, the Phoenix Suns should enter the Las Vegas Summer League as favorites to take home the crown as champions. If they pull it off, it might be a sign of more important titles to come.