Over the weekend we've learned a bit more about who will be joining Earl Clark (and me) for a trip to Vegas were Mke Tyson's tiger isn't the only thing that can trip up a young player. There's also about 40 guys desperate to impress the coaches, scouts and GMs who are there from both the NBA teams as well as overseas clubs.
Basically, Summer League serves two purposes - for guys like Earl and top draft picks like John Wall and Wesley Johnson it's an opportunity to hone skills, work on some things and basically just get some solid run during the summer under their actual NBA coaching staff.
For the other 85% of the guys it is a giant sweaty man-meat market where these boys are hooping it up so they can perhaps get an invitation to a team's training camp or in many cases earn a contract to play in beautiful Barcelona or Gdansk.
Because these teams are thrown out there with maybe about three or five days of practice time, the team aspects of the beautiful game go out the window like an English squad who's captain slept with his teammate's woman. Vegas, appropriately, is about showcasing individual skill and talent and it does that really well.
For the Suns, we've confirmed the following fellas will be wearing the oh-so-fancy Suns practice jersey for those five games.
Earl Clark: This is Earl's chance to shine - just like last summer when it was important for Goran and Robin to come in and prove that they were ready to take their game to the next level in their sophomore season. Of course, both Robin and Goran were shaky at times in Vegas and showed both flashes of the breakout seasons to come and flashes of crap from the year past.
I would expect the same from Earl. I am sure he will do well at times but I doubt he's going to dominate four or five games and average 25 points. I just hope his mid-range jump shot looks better and if his court presence shows more confidence and maturity, that would be a big bonus.
Taylor Griffin: Taylor has a non-guaranteed contract for next season and with the Suns drafting Lawal and Collins he will be lucky to be back behind the Suns bench in his jeans and plaid shirts next season. Griffin is trying to convert to the small forward position at the NBA level but his lack of perimeter shooting, ball handling, and foot speed on the defensive end are his biggest obstacles. Reports that hair loss denial is holding him back can't be confirmed (or denied).
Gani Lawal: For Gani, this is his first chance to interact with the Suns coaching staff and their best opportunity to seem him up-close and get a real feel for how he can possibly help the team. They will be able to give him some things to focus on for the rest of the summer and build relationships with not only Dan Majerle but the training staff and strength coaches. There's a ton of little things that go into making a 46th pick into a possible roster contributor and they all start in Vegas.
For us, this is our first up-close look at Lawal and for that reason he's the most interesting part of Summer League from a Suns standpoint. We'll see him go against the likes of Jordan Hill and Patrick Patterson as well as Kurt Looby.
Scottie Reynolds: As you hard core types have already heard, Scottie is the first undrafted All-American since 1976. Scottie put up big numbers at Villanova but was generally considered to be too small to play his natural shoot guard position and not enough of a distributor and leader to run the point. We'll see how he looks compared to...
Zabian Dowdell: Zabian looked darn good for the Suns last season in Vegas and was considered by a couple of esteemed ESPN talent evaluators I spoke with (David Thorpe and Kevin Arnovitz) to have a much better shot at being an NBA point guard than Goran Dragic. Which just goes to show you....how bad Goran looked and how much of a turn around he had last year.
Zabian started last season in the D-league and then went to Spain where he played 21 games for Unicaja Malaga as the back-up point guard. I would expect Zabian to start at the point for the Suns this summer. He's a solid choice and a guy that is probably at least as good as some of the bench point guards in the league.
Matt Janning: Another undrafted rookie, Janning is a 6' 4" shooting guard out of North Eastern who worked out for the Suns a few weeks ago. I'm not expecting much.
Marcus Johnson: Marcus is a 6' 6" undrafted shooting guard out of USC who shoot under 30% from three as a Trojan. I'm not wetting my pants waiting to see him.
Dwayne Collins: Dwayne may or might not play this summer. He had his knee scoped on the 18th of June to repair a small meniscus tear. He thought he would be ready to play by mid-July which is too late. So right now, he's a probably-not in my mind.
No word yet on who will fill out the rest of the roster but unfortunately, Jiri Hubalek won't be making his third appearance with the Summer Suns.
For other team's Vegas and Orlando SL Rosters:
and the Suns Schedule:
Phoenix Suns 2010 Vegas Summer League Schedule - Bright Side Of The Sun
The Suns schedule is:
* Friday: 3 PM - Houston vs. Phoenix
* Saturday: 1 PM - Toronto vs. Phoenix
* Monday: 5:30 PM - Phoenix vs. NBA D-League
* Wednesday: 5:30 PM - Cleveland vs. Phoenix
* Thursday: 3 PM - Golden State vs. Phoenix