The Phoenix Suns summer squad was efficient today. And three players were out of this world. Combined stats: 21-27 from the field, 5-6 on threes, 12-16 on free throws. That's 59 points on just 27 shots for Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Archie Goodwin combined.
"There's nothing about Goodwin I don't like," former head coach and current NBATV analyst Sam Mitchell said in the third quarter.
Archie Goodwin was all over the court, looking so fluid and natural that you could tell the game comes totally easy to him. At 18, he's a boy among men who won't even be able to drink when/if he plays his THIRD Summer League season. But in terms of talent he's head and shoulders above anyone else on that court today.
And this is without Goodwin really knowing how to play basketball yet. He is just playing instinctively, moving without the ball, defending his man and running out on the break with ease.
Goodwin started strong and stayed strong, collecting fouls on the opponent's big men to the point that early in the third quarter the ultra-aggressive Quincy Acy stepped away to let Goodwin score easily on yet another drive to the hoop.
Goodwin had 19 points (5-5 shooting, 2-2 on threes), 2 blocks, 2 rebounds and an assist before the end of the third. He played in the fourth, but didn't contribute much (1 point, 1 rebound) as the Suns stopped running very much while they waited out the rest of the game. Goodwin is clearly better in the open court, where he can use his speed and quicks.
It helps that he was surrounded by four NBA rotation players most of the time (Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Kendall Marshall, P.J. Tucker), but even among those guys he was the most talented guy out there.
The Morrii had good offensive games and the most encouraging development was their efficiency, taking only good shots within the offense and nearly always within 15 feet of the basket. Both went 8-11 from the floor, getting 39 points between them on just 22 shots. After last year's wild 30% shooting in Vegas for Markieff, this is a welcome development that harkens back to Morris' college days where he made a high percentage of his shots. Hopefully gone are the days of free shots from 22 feet out (hint: they are free because the defense WANTS you to shoot those).
P.J. Tucker was P.J. Tucker. The heart and soul of this team.
The best non-roster Suns player of the game was shooting guard Dionte Christmas. TWICE, Christmas drew the foul on a three-pointer that he made. Rarely is a guy fouled behind the three-point line, and almost never does the shot go in. Christmas did that twice because he caught-and-shot the ball on the run with a chasing defender who ended up running into him. That's skill. Christmas doesn't need to gather - he just needs to stop on a dime and put it up.
The Suns could really use more shooting, but with Shannon Brown under contract already behind the rotation of Bledsoe, Dragic, Marshall, Goodwin and (maybe) Garrett, there will be little room for another shooter unless it's a bench-warming spot only. Still, he might get a camp invite.
One guy who had a really forgettable, like "let's burn that tape", game was Kendall Marshall. He repeatedly made ill-advised passes in the open court and half court, and got his pocket picked a few times while dribbling at mid-court which all turned into a lot of Raptor points. Not sure what was on Kendall's mind today, but it wasn't this game. His final line was 6 points, 2 assists and 5 turnovers. Ouch.
"He may play his way into the D-League if he doesn't pick up his play," Vincent said of Marshall at the end of the game. He suggested 35-40 D-League games would be better for Marshall than sitting on the Suns bench watching Bledsoe, Goodwin and Dragic play ahead of him.
For the Raptors, their best players of the night were Quincy Acy and Dwight Byucks, who scored 56 of the Raptors 98 points and were the only players in double figures. Byucks just signed a contract to come to training camp, and Acy is a fringe NBA player. Both were on fire all game, keeping the Raptors within striking distance. They even pulled within five points with a few seconds left while the Suns were sleep-walking.
But the Suns still won the game, if not in a cake walk. Jake Cohen had ice in his veins, making 6 free throws in the final minute to hold the lead for the Suns.
The Raptors best summer league players before today were big 21 year old center Jonas Valanciunas, who sat out with a sprained finger, and Terrence Ross, who was limited due to a 'who the hell is Archie Goodwin?' sprain. Jonas V was their #5 overall pick in 2011 and Terrence Ross was the #8 pick in 2012. Toronto traded their 2013 pick to Houston for Kyle Lowry, who traded it to OKC (in part) for James Harden. Terrence played but made no impact on the game, finishing with 9 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out early.