The Las Vegas Summer League Phoenix Suns won a resounding victory over the Summer League Dallas Mavericks. Here is five things to take away from the game.
The Phoenix Suns were up by as many as 23 in the fourth quarter. Here are five takeaways from a resounding 92-85 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Summer League.
1. Deandre Ayton looked… Okay…
When Deandre Ayton said that he wanted to create a Shaq/Kobe 2.0 by paring himself with Devin Booker, the vast majority of Phoenix Suns fans were extremely excited about the thought.
Tonight didn’t look like that was a thing.
Granted, Ayton was playing in the first post-college game of his career, and Devin Booker wasn’t playing (or even in – as far as we know) Las Vegas, but still: after several other top picks having fantastic first games, Ayton’s only 10 points on only 6 FG attempts and 8 rebounds are a little unnerving.
Truthfully, the game matters, not. And he might have a great game the next time out putting literally every fear to rest. But with several other players selected near the top having really good first impressions, a 20 and 10+ game would have been well received in the Valley of the Suns.
2. Dragan Bender looked less than Meh…
Dragan Bender looked…Well, “meh.” In 22 (of 40) minutes, Bender, a third-year pro heading into this season, looked better than Summer League past, but still uninspiring.
Granted in three seasons he already has three head coaches under his belt, and this was the first game of the 2018 Summer League, it is not unfair to believe that, he should look like a more experienced player.
Bender finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 turnovers in those 22 minutes, less than exciting.
3. Mikal Bridges looked good!
If someone had said before the game that Dragan Bender finished with 14 points on 4-5 shooting from 3, fans would have been pumped.
But saying that those numbers came from Mikal Bridges is really exciting.
The kid who was supposed to stay in Philadelphia looks like he wants to play in Phoenix, and watching his game unfold before our eyes – granted in the first Summer League game – should give you goose bumps.
While Josh Jackson shot 0-5 from beyond the arc, if Jackson needs more time to figure out how to shoot an outside shot, Bridges looks like he’ll be the perfect…bridge, along the way.
4. Elie Okobo didn’t start.
Expected-to-soon-to-be-waived Davon Reed started at point guard against the Sacramento Kings, a position that many thought would belong to Elie Okobo.
Reed is not expected to be a part of the Phoenix Suns’ regular season roster in 2018-19, although Okobo is. If Okobo can win the position in Summer League – even if Reed is kept aboard – then he has a legit shot of holding down the backup point guard position come preseason and regular season time.
That said, Shaquille Harrison, who impressed Suns fans with his energy and defense in a sort stint last season, finished with 11 points and 9 assists. If Brandon Knight can do that every time out during the regular season, the Phoenix Suns will be in really good shape.
5. Booker hasn’t signed his extension yet, forget the Summer League
Granted, he was never going to participate in the Summer League, but the fact that Devon Booker hasn’t signed his contract extension yet – when so many other players have not only signed contracts but several (including Nikola Jokic) agreed to their max’s days ago – is nothing short of worrisome.
Granted, Booker’s extension might be agreed to and made publicized tomorrow, but for a 21-year-old, who hasn’t made an All-NBA team (aside from Rookie), nor has he won a single playoff team, one of the two sides, be it his or the Suns’, needs to relent on something and pay him what he has earned.
The fact that Booker’s extension hasn’t been announced is a little worrisome. To what level? After one day, I don’t’ know.
But I was expecting an announcement days ago, so at this point, I don’t know.