The Suns got their first Vegas win against the D-league Select team. It was a game they should have won but easily could have lost as well considering the Suns roster outside of Earl Clark is basically the same type of players fielded by the other side.
There was a difference in this game though and it was clear in the early minutes. The Suns were pushing the ball and Earl Clark looked far better than he had in the first two games. The Suns also had the services of Scottie Reynolds from Villanova for the first time.
Scottie Reynolds Time
Scottie worked out yesterday with the team on their off day and told the coaching staff this morning that he wanted to go. Thunder Dan said he was glad to have him.
"When you get Scottie in there he's going to push the tempo, that's the big thing and I thought Z (Zabian Dowdell) did a good job of that too," Dan said. "In this situation we want to get out and run and play the way we do in the regular season and that's look at shots early if their good shots and try to stay out of set plays and just get out there and run."
Reynolds looked a little tentative in the first few minutes of court time but quickly settled down. Even more impressive than his scoring was his floor leadership and ability to push the ball. Reynolds had 16 points and 3 assists in only 18 minutes of play.
Scottie was a vocal leader on both ends of the floor, something that impressed his coach, "He likes to talk and that's good and I think he brings energy to the guys. It keeps everybody in the game and when your point guard is that vocal and is pushing the ball it's exciting, it's fun for everybody to play with him."
Scottie thought his familiarity with the system gave him an edge, "It's just like Villanova, the same principles and the same kind of offense. It's a little bit heart-warming that I've been in the system for four years and have been able to be successful."
Reynolds injured his Achilles while working out last week in Villanova with Alvin Williams and Kyle Lowry. He was initially afraid he tore something because he couldn't walk on it but it's been improving recently. He expects it will be sore tomorrow but with the Suns having a day off he hopes to play again on Wednesday.
Earl Shows Signs Of Life
Earl had his best game of the summer by far. He was 6 for 12 shooting and 6 of 7 from the line. 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He looked more confident and relaxed from the opening tip.
Majerle agreed, "Earl struggled a little bit (in previous games) but he got his legs under him a little bit more and started playing his type of game. I think he was pushing the first couple of games, more looking for his shot and not trying to make anybody better but today I think he played more within himself and played a lot better."
Gani Continues To Shine
Gani, or "G" to his teammates, had another good game. He runs the floor very well and is physical and aggressive in the paint. He finished this game with a triple double - 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 fouls.
He certainly has a lot to learn but several of his fouls were of the ticky-tack variety so no real concern about that. Gani understands that he will be a limited minutes role player so having a high foul rate for this kind of energy bench player is expected and accepted.
Zabian Dowdell will get over-shadowed by Reynold's debut but he had a nice game himself. 9 points and 4 assist in 21 minutes. He is a bigger and better defender than Scottie and did a decent job pushing the tempo but in comparison lacks the creativity and ability to create plays in transition that Reynolds has.
Matt Janning is quietly having a very good Summer League with the Suns after also playing with the Celtics in Orlando the previous week. The Suns are very high on him. Look for a separate story on Matt soon (or tomorrow if I decide to go eat instead and get to bed before 2am).
The only other guy on the roster that jumps out is big man, Shawn Pruitt. He's big and physical. 4 rebounds in 10 minutes isn't bad. I don't think he runs the floor or can do enough offensively to get a serious look by the Suns however.
Suns Not Talking About Hedo/Childress. Yet.
All of the Suns brass from Sarver on down were at the game but declined to comment on the Hedo or Childress trade. Until deals like that are official they really shouldn't talk about them.
Goran Dragic was also at the game. He was meeting with Robert Sarver to discuss playing for the Slovenian National Team this summer and also has a meeting with a shoe company to finalize a deal. Goran will be playing for his country and for the first time will be teammates with his brother Zoran.