First Amare leaves and now this 100-82 beating by the Rockets. Is this what we have to look forward to? OMG!!!!
Seriously, though, it was a pretty straight-on ass whooping thanks in large part to a Summer Suns roster that was over-matched by the raw talent of two Wildcats, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger, along with Pat Patterson from Kentucky and last year's 32nd pick, guard Jermaine Taylor. Taylor led all scorers with 25 points and showed off his strong frame and quickness by getting to the rim and finishing with contract. He overpowered Matt Janning and finished with a team-high 7 rebounds as well. Nice player.
It was interesting watching Gani Lawal match up with Hill and Patterson, and by interesting I mean unfortunate.
Lawal spent most of his time battling with Jordan Hill's hair and came out on the losing side as those dreads had their way. Hill was simply stronger and quicker on both ends of the floor and pushed Gani around the paint. Lawal did have a couple of nice aggressive moves late in the game, but by that point Hill was on cruise control. Hill finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
"I feel I did pretty good," Lawal said after the game in which he went 4-for-8 (14 points) and grabbed 5 rebounds. "It was the first game. Still have to work out some kinks. Just getting used to everything. I've got to work on my free throws and little things of the game, but I feel pretty good for my first time out."
The most impressive Summer Sun was clearly point guard Zabian Dowell. He's got a great presence on the floor and a smooth mid-range game and nice touch with his floater. Dowdell was in Phoenix last year working out before training camp when he went down with a strained groin. That kept him off the court until December when he played 10 games for Tulsa in the D-league before signing with a team in Spain.
If Zabian keeps playing like he did today, he has a good chance to find himself in Phoenix again this fall for camp. 16 points and 4 assists for him.
And then there was Earl...
Oh, Earl. You might think that his 4-for-14 performance was a result of the pressure he might be feeling coming into his second summer league with the expectation that he's going to contribute to the Suns this season.
"All I've got to do is play hard. Everybody knows my talent, knows I'm on the team. I'm just here trying to get better, but I've got nothing to prove," Clark said.
At least Earl understands what he's got to do better, "I think I did alright. I think I did some good things. I settled for a lot of jump shots today. I think I could have went to the basket more... tomorrow should be better."
Clark continues to struggle playing multiple positions. He says he still feels more comfortable playing the small forward, but is also playing a lot of power forward. He admits his post game is weak and defensively likes to match-up with small forwards. Learning plays for both positions is a goal of his here in Vegas, in addition to getting into basketball shape.
I would say that mental aspect of the game is still his biggest challenge. We'll see how he looks over the next few games, but so far, no bueno.
Taylor Griffin's biggest strength continues to be his effort. And strength. And hops. But as far as the ability to play the three at the NBA level... not so much. I will say he had a very impressive crossover move, so his handle might be better and he's let his hair grow out a bit which is having a kind of comb-over effect that's pretty decent.
Scottie Reynolds wasn't able to play due to an Achilles injury. It's uncertain whether he will play at all. Dwayne Collins continues to have the biggest hands I've ever seen, but he's not going to play here this week. He starts working out next week and hopes to come to Suns training camp ready to battle for a spot. It's a shame, it would have been fun to see Collins in this environment and certainly against bigger guys like Hill and Patterson who out-muscled Lawal.