Ever wondered what happened to your favorite Phoenix Suns bench warmer or marginal miracle player? This series of articles will revisit some of Suns fans' beloved bench warmers from over the years and track their careers.

Welcome back for part two of our trip down memory lane, as we catch up with some of the most memorable Suns of all time!

This story will focus on guys from the 2010-2011 season, a disappointing season that saw the team miss the playoffs just one season after the team lost a tough Western Conference Finals matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.

This team was a bit of an odd-ball team.  It was the first post-Amer'e team, and showcased the brand new talents of two guys who would go down in Phoenix Suns history: Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick!

All kidding aside, the team saw some important turnover from the previous season.  In total, 19 guys would suit up for the Suns in 2010-11.  This article will focus on 4 guys who would never suit up for the Suns again and, perhaps not coincidentally, would in fact never suit up in the NBA again (well, one appeared in 12 games for 3 teams over the next two years).  We'll be focusing on: Ziggy Dowdell, Earl Barron, Gani Lawal and Garret Siler.

Zabian 'Ziggy' Dowdell, Point Guard

Ziggy Dowdell

Derek E Hingle, USAToday Sports

Disclaimer: Ziggy Dowdell is by far my favorite marginal Suns player.

Zabian Dowdell was a standout college player at Virginia Tech, where he was a 2007 All ACC 1st Team Member and a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team.  For his career with the Hokies, Dowdell averaged 14.5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

After going unexpectedly undrafted in the 2007 NBA draft, Dowdell ended up playing with SLUC Nancy, Pallacanestro Casale and Unicaja Malaga before finally landing with the Suns in January of 2011.  In 12 minutes per game, Dowdell put up 5 points and 2 assists, as well as a steal, over 24 games.  He was waived to make room for Ronnie Price in the 2011 offseason, at least partly due to knee pain from an undiagnosed source that kept him out of training camp (and would void his next contract, with Anadolu Efes of Turkey, due to his inability to pass a physical).

Dowdell landed with Gran Canaria in 2012, but only appeared in 12 games. The next season, he played with Enisey Krasnoyarsk of the Russian VTB League.  With Krasnoyarsk, Dowdell played in 26 games and averaged 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal per game.

Last season was perhaps Dowdell's finest as a pro.  Playing with Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, Dowdell appeared in 52 games as a 6th man and defensive specialist.  In 18 minutes per game, Dowdell produced 6 points, just under 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal per game.  His play earned him a spot as a Lithuanian Basketball League All-Star.

Dowdell recently signed with Spirou Charleroi in Belgium, where he will join Americans Justin Hamilton (SG), Eric Wise (F) and Novar Gadson (F).

Earl Barron, Center

Earl Barron

Jeff Griffith, USAToday Sports

I kid you not, every photo I can find of Earl Barron in a Suns uniform is embarrassing.  There is this one, where he is getting outmuscled by Jameer Nelson, who is literally a foot or more smaller than him.  There is a picture of him getting dunked on by Andre Miller, one of him getting sat on by Mike Conley, two of him getting defensively manhandled by Roy Hibbert, and three solo shots of him looking frustrated and confused, as if someone just told him that the entire pictographic history of his time with the team was a collection of gag photos.

Barron has had a long NBA career.  Undrafted out of Memphis in 2003, he played a season in Turkey and some time in the Philippines before settling in for a run in the NBA.  Before latching on with the Suns, Barron had played three seasons in Miami (winning a championship with the team in 2006), one with the Knicks, and a year abroad playing in Italy.

With the Suns, Barron did little.  He appeared in 12 games for the team and started 6.  In that time he put up 3 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes per game, before being cut by the team midway through the season.

Following his waiving, Barron would wander around the league.  He played for both Milwaukee and the Trail Blazers in the remainder of 2011.  He appeared in 2 games for the Warriors in 2011-12.  And in 2012-13 he appeared in games for both the Wizards and the Knicks.

In 2013-14, after failing to receive any training camp invites, Barron signed on to play for the Chinese team Qingdao (no stats were available for his time with this team).  He left the team for unspecified reasons, and would end up signing on to play for a small team in Lebanon in February, joining up with fellow former NBA center Hassan Whiteside.

Gani Lawal, Forward

Gani Lawal

Anne Marie Sorvin, USAToday Sports

Gani Lawal has a sad story.  A product of Georgia Tech, Lawal was a fairly productive college played who averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds a game for his career and was named third team All-ACC in 2009.  He left school a year early and was drafted by the Suns 46th overall in 2010.  That was more or less the highlight of his time with the team.

Lawal spent 10 games with the Iowa Energy to start off the season, averaging 11 points, 6 rebounds and a block in 20 minutes per game, which was enough for the Suns to recall him to rejoin the team.  He appeared in just one game, playing 2 minutes, before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season on January 2nd. (To add insult to injury, his one and only recorded NBA stat was a personal foul...)

During the lockout the next season, Lawal decided to sign a binding contract with Polish club Zastal, which would force him to miss the entirety of the 2011-12 season.  The Suns waived him before the season started as a result.

Lawal's career since then is a whirlwind of different teams and near returns to the NBA.  His time in the Polish League was rather limited: he appeared in just 13 games, putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, before departing the team for unspecified reasons, with both parties agreeing to void his contract.  At the start of the 2011 NBA season, Lawal was brought in for a 10 day workout contract by the San Antonio spurs, but was cut.  Lawal then moved to China, replacing Kenyon Martin for the Xinjiang team; in this role he performed relatively well, appearing in 17 games and producing 18 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Lawal spent the entirety of 2012-13 with Virtus Roma, a relatively strong team in the Euroleague competition.  He started 45 games for the team, averaging 13.5 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes per game.

Following this run in Europe, Lawal garnered interest from a number of NBA teams, including the Pacers, Raptors and Magic at the start of the 2013 season.  The Knicks also expressed a strong interest.  Lawal, however, chose to reject all 2013 Summer League invitations, and never ended up being offered a contract by any team; the last roster spot he was in contention for was the 5th big off the bench position for the New York Knicks, a position that would end up being filled by Cole Aldrich (a day of almost holy connotation for our friend Bryan Gibberman).

This past season, Lawal played for Olimpia Milano (the team who just recently signed former NBA journeyman MarShon Brooks).  In 68 games with the team, he played a bench role, averaging 14 minutes, 7 points and 4 rebounds per game.

(Quick Historical Aside: The Phoenix Sun in the background of Lawal's photo is Matt Janning - a training camp invitee who was cut and eventually replaced, jersey number and all, by Ziggy Dowdell in 2010-11.  Janning was a small school guy out of Northeastern who got an invite after impressing in the Summer League for both us and Boston.  He wound up going over to Europe, where he has been a relatively high quality player and three point specialist, helping lead Siena to an Italian League championship and playing for Cibona Zagreb.  He will play next season for Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League).

Garrett Siler, Center

Garret Siler

Anne Marie Sorvin, USAToday Sports

The infamous 'Silo' was, if not a fan favorite, than at least a staple in fan discussion during his time with the Suns. Undrafted out of Augusta State, the 6'11 over 300 pound center roamed around a bit, playing in the CBA as well as the NBA Summer League for a while before finally being given a contract by the Phoenix Suns in 2010.

Siler was always a mountain of a man - and the Suns were concerned enough about him becoming too mountainous that a weight clause was inserted into his two year contract.  During his time with the Suns, Siler was pretty unspectacular, playing in just 101 cumulative minutes over the course of the season and putting up total season stats of 48 points, 25 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Siler was ostensibly on the roster to start the 2011-12 season, but was cut on January 2nd, 2012 before he even played a game.

After being cut, Siler joined Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican BSN, where he average 14 points and 9 rebounds over 11 games.  Almost immediately following his departure from that team, Siler returned to China, where he joined the Jiangsu Dragons.  For the CBA season, Siler put up 18 points, 11 boards and 2 blocks per game, on just under 73% shooting.

In 2013-14, Siler played for 3 different teams.  He started the season off with the Leones de Ponce, where he played in 16 very unspectacular games before being waived and and picked up by Capitanes de Arecibo.  His play didn't improve (his shooting stroke was gone all season, and he averaged less than 43% shooting for the season), though he appeared in the remaining 35 games for the season.  He also played with the Jiangsu Dragons again in 2014, but was cut at some point in the season after appearing in just 9 games.

Siler maintains a relatively well updated website, where interested parties can check out the latest updates on his career, his charitable activities, and his personal life.

Welcome Suns fans to a new weekly feature at Valley of the Suns. Every Friday, I will answer reader questions from the week in a mailbag form. You can leave your questions for next week in the...

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The Phoenix Suns reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the final hours to determine if there is any interest in considering dealing forward Kevin Love for restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe,...

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At our Round Table all opinions are not equal. Some are better than others as you will see. Enjoy.

The off-season is tracked the FBI looking for a serial killer these days with investigative tools such as Twitter, Instagram, and "sources" filling us in on the happenings of every NBA player. Every athlete for that matter. It is rare for an athlete to sneak by the world and do their own thing, but the off-season is almost over for them now.

Training Camp is around the corner for the Phoenix Suns so it feels like a good time to get to the brass tacks here with the Round Table.

We took this High School Yearbook style with a handful of "Most Likely To..." categories to see which Suns players improved, regressed, baseline'd, and so on. Long are the days of the chain smoking, beer swilling, red meat athletes that come into Training Camp overweight, tired, and looking to work off the off-season. That athlete is nearly extinct. Unless their name is Glen Davis. Glen Davis has been working off his off-season since LSU...

Enough of me, let's get to what matters, the staffs takes on the most likely players for some very serious scenarios.

1. Breaking the Ice: Who is the most likely to have added a killer new skill to the repertoire?

Kris Habbas: Who do I hope adds a skill or who is most likely...? I hope Alex Len added a killer new skill to his game called staying healthy, but that is not a real thing unless we have somehow morphed into a movie or a new season of Heroes. P.J. Tucker is arguably the hardest worker on the team so if he finds some consistency in the mid-range it will create new wrinkles in the offense. He shot 34.2% on all shots not in the paint or from three last year. That is not a good percentage. So either or, Len's movie style health serum or Tucker's mid-range game, I'm waiting.

Geoff Allen: I'd say Warren.  I think he's going to show some defensive chops that we didn't see in his time at NC State.  I don't think he's going to become PJ, per se, but I think with his relatively developed ability to score the addition of even an average or slightly above average defensive skillset is going to make him a weapon.

Sean Sullivan:  I'm hoping it's Archie Goodwin.  Goodwin has had the benefit of a healthy year of development not only during the season, but in the off-season as well.  Although Archie wasn't as prolific a scorer as some may have hoped they would see in this year's Summer League, he has been working on his shooting and adjusting to the speed of the NBA.  I'm hoping that Archie can become a solid contributor this season.  He may not be ready to take over the league as has been prophesied here on BSOTS, but I do believe he will show marked improvement.

Dave King: Last season, we saw Markieff Morris develop a killer midrange game, Goran Dragic become a dead-eye shooter and Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker become reliable threats from three-point range. None of that was predicted before the season started. In fact, I personally predicted that Morris would be among the most disappointing players on the team. And I wasn't alone. So who will surprise this year? I'll say Alex Len. I'll say that Alex Len becomes a two-way player of the future with a solid offensive game and quality defensive instincts. Secondarily, I'll say Eric Bledsoe becomes an All-Star player that will leave us wishing (or thankful) he signed a long-term deal before blowing up.

Jim Coughenour: I don't know if this is a completely new killer skill, but I believe that Isaiah Thomas will massacre teams with his three point shooting. I'll predict now that he leads the team in three point shooting percentage and is second to Gerald Green in makes. This isn't necessarily a stretch, though, since Thomas shot 41% from three point range through the first two months of last season (40 games) before a wrist injury that was likely influential in a decline in the second half. Now put Isaiah in the Suns system and give him time with the coaching staff... He has a chance to shoot well over 40%.

2. Who is the most likely to come back as the exact same player overall?

KH: Marcus Morris.

DK: Exactly the same as last year... well, sorry to say I think that will be Archie Goodwin. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to see no progress this summer over last summer. Sure, he was playing a different role (as leader, facilitator) while T.J. Warren took on the "do what you do best, all the time" role, but Archie was a space-case on defense too much to make me stay on that bandwagon for now.

GA: Goran Dragic.  What is there to say?  He had the season of his career last year, and while I don't see him adding to that stellar campaign, I also don't see him declining very much, if at all.  I see him producing at roughly the level of last season (at least in per minute stats) for at least another 2 years.

SS:  I'm thinking P.J. Tucker...and that's not a bad thing.  Unlike other players who depend on their athleticism or shooting to impact the game, P.J.'s greatest attribute is his demeanor.  Tucker is more than just an energy guy, though he is certainly that as well.  He is a physical player who not only out-hustles, but out-muscles his opponents, and plays with a chip that's been permanently embedded in his shoulder.  Last season Tucker perfected the corner three, and while I do think he can continue to work on his shooting from the perimeter, I think Tucker will be more or less the same exact guy we saw last year, and there's nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

JC: I'll go with Gerald Green. He turns 29 in Janurary, and despite his career year last season it's just hard for me to imagine he'll be adding many new wrinkles to his game. I expect him to be the same efficient volume three point shooter that throws down savage highlight reel dunks while going on incendiary stretches were he takes over the game. That's not bad for a guy who could conceivably be the team's fourth guard.

3. Who is the most likely to have muscled up & who likely slimmed down this off-season?

KH: I've seen Archie and he looks noticeably bigger based on being around the team last year and seeing him as a rookie a lot. Markieff looked trim, in shape, and ready to go a month ago at the WNBA All-Star game so he might be even more nibble on the perimeter.

GA: I'll go with Archie for having muscled up, mainly because at times last season he looked like a child out there on the court.  It is inevitable that he will come back bulked up a bit.  I actually don't think anyone will have slimmed down...almost no one on the team had any weight to shed.

DK: We already know that Len added a bunch of muscle, and we heard that Marcus Morris is adding muscle as well. I'll throw Chief Kieff into that mix. Both Morrii have been slim in the shoulders the past two years despite their stature. I'll guess they both come back noticeably bigger. A wildcard here could be Bledsoe himself. Already a tank, I see him prepping all summer for this to be a "prove it" year for him.

SS: Judging by what I saw prior to the Summer League, I'm going to go with Alex Len.  Going to the Summer League practices, Len was noticeably bigger.  He has clearly benefited from a year in an NBA workout regimen, and although he likely still has a ways to go before he reaches his peak, he appears to be well on his way.  As for slimming down, I'll go with Warren.  Although TJ wasn't on the Suns last year, he was noticeably bigger when he played for NC St.  Since then, Warren has already dropped some pounds, and I think training and running with the Suns and their up-tempo system will help keep him lean.

JC: Alex Len had the most room to fill out his frame and he had already noticeably bulked up before the summer league. What I don't know here is how his injury affected his weight training, if at all. For slimming down I'll go with Lon Babby. He could stand to lose a couple pounds.

4. Who is most likely to come in out of shape to "work off the off-season" at Training Camp?

DK: Out of shape... I'll guess Gerald Green. Oh, he won't look it. He's just naturally "in shape", but I would guess someone will mention he's moving a little slow for the first month of the season or so. Same goes for Goran Dragic. The grainy footage of Slovenian National Team looks to me like Goran has taken his "summer of rest" to heart. It's all about the ankles though. Get them healthy!

KH: Nobody. Plumlee is with Team USA, Dragic is playing for his country, and everyone else is young enough to keep weight off by just playing pick-up ball over the summer for different leagues. Also, there is no Glen Davis or Jared Sullinger on this roster that makes you worry about those things.

GA: I hope it isn't true, but I think it will be Gerald Green.  Green has had a habit of producing a sub-par year right after a good year over his career, and I have a feeling this is gonna be one of those years.  Like I said, I hope I'm wrong.

SS: Eric Bledsoe...assuming he comes back at all.  I have no idea what he's been doing this off-season, and neither do the Suns.  For all we know he's been lounging around in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas all day.  I'm mostly joking...but still.

JC: Gerald Green. This is another reason why I don't really expect much improvement from his this season. Green has taken the idea of summer vacation very literally, like Eric Bledsoe, and has gone off the grid. That's not to say he's not working his butt off, I don't know, but there isn't any news that reveals he is. Most of the Suns have put themselves in conspicuous positions that let people track their progress.

5. Who is the most likely to have practiced his interview skills in the mirror to fill that Gortat-Frye void this season?

KH: Man, hopefully someone. It is not a need for a professional athlete to be quotable, but is nice. This roster is void of those personalities at the moment. I can see Gerald Green being more vocal as a veteran with personality, same for Dragic, and maybe newcomer Isaiah Thomas, but he is new so might not want to step on toes. Nobody stands out, but P.J. Tucker's post game attire is loud enough as is.

GA: Marcus Morris.  Marcus is a smooth operator, and I think he's got the personality to fill that void, or at least he probably thinks he has the right personality.  If it happens, I can't wait for him to pull the switcheroo with 'Kieff a time or two to embarrass the reporters.

DK: No one. None of these guys like the camera. Our new favorite interview will likely be Isaiah Thomas. He's articulate, passionate and focused. But he's always been that way, so I won't chalk that up to being developed over the summer. I have zero hope for Bledsoe getting markedly better, or Chief Keiff for that matter.

SS: Gerald Green.  Green provided some of the best interviews on TV last season and seemed comfortable talking with media and answering questions.  I'm not sure he will become the spokesman of the team, but I do think he will provide quality insights.  Isaiah Thomas may also provide some great material, judging by his comments since signing with Phoenix.

JC: Isaiah Thomas just stepped into a team full of mostly terrible interviewees, so he could hopscotch the few that are somewhat coherent and audible (like Goran Dragic) and become the voice of the team. He definitely has some energy and charisma. In terms of practicing, though, I'd guess P.J. Tucker has went through some responses in his head to prepare for saying the right things after his offseason transgressions.

BONUS: Who is the last to arrive (Goran excluded) for voluntary workouts?

KH: I mean, is there any other answer here than the most talked about basketball player in the NBA the past few weeks? Eric Bledsoe.

GA: Eric Bledsoe.  Regardless of whether or not a contract is finished, I think Bledsoe makes sure he arrives as late as possible to send a passive reminder that he isn't happy with the way he is being treated.

SS: Eric Bledsoe...definitely.  Again, we don't even know if he'll be in Phoenix by the time training camp starts, but if he is, I seriously doubt he'll be showing up early.

DK: Bledsoe. Most everyone else on the team has been there all summer, so there's no reason not to be there in September when it gets fun again. But Bledsoe got here on the last possible day last year, and he'll do it again. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a no show for Media Day, even. #basketballreasons

JC: Bledsoe, if he ever shows up. I would guess that never would make him last. I still think there's a definite chance he gets traded, which might make the player/s that he is traded for the last to voluntary workouts. But between spending time with his family, trying to get healthy, and the ongoing bullshit drama I really can't see Eric doing anything "voluntary" for the Suns and their fans... that might suggest he actually likes being here.

Bright Siders, what do you think?


Team sports are broken down into two seasons from the regular season to the playoffs and the reset button has been hit for the WNBA -- Playoff Time. The Phoenix Mercury wrapped what was one of the most historic seasons in WNBA history winning 29 games, including 16 in a row, and winning the last 15 straight games at home.

This team is primed and poised to make a run in this second season that is equally historic with the end goal of hanging up a third banner from the rafters at U.S. Airways Center.

Up first for the Mercury is an all to familiar foe in the Los Angeles Sparks. Last season the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs where the Mercury advanced in a thrilling three game series won at the last second on a Brittney Griner bucket. That was last year. That was a Mercury team that was still trying to figure each other out as individuals. That was not this team.

All season they were trying to figure each other out and this season they have found that formula, especially against the Sparks.

This year the Mercury dominated the Sparks. There is no other way around that when you look at the five wins (and no losses) by an average 11.6 points per win. No losses. Dominance. But, when the second season begins that gets thrown out the window to an extent as every game becomes a micro-season in and of itself. Pressure is heightened and the focus has to be at an elite level.

The Sparks are a very talented team, but they have not been a complete team all season as Candace Parker missed two games against the Mercury and Nneka Ogwumike missed one herself. Typically the Sparks have the advantage in the paint with that duo, despite the redundancies and limitations discussed on this weeks podcast, but against the Mercury that advantage gets neutered.

Not just this series, but the playoffs as a whole are going to determine a lot for this Sparks team.

The Mercury are building what might be a 3-5 year window dynasty with DeWanna Bonner, Candice Dupree, and Diana Taurasi all signing extensions in recent years and the youth of Brittney Griner enfusing the team together into greatness. They have their coach, their team, and organizational structure from top-to-bottom now.

All of that cannot be said about the Sparks who have to deal with Candace Parker's free-agency this fall/winter, a potential change in the coaching staff, and a roster filled with talent, but talent that is not clicking at the highest level possible. Despite the fact that free-agents rarely leave home in the WNBA because the money is not like it is in the NBA, she could leave. Parker has not won in the shadow of Lisa Leslie and could find greener pastures, or at least more successful pastures, elsewhere.

This series could be the rise of the Mercury Dynasty and the fall of the Parker Era in Los Angeles.


For the Sparks it comes down to jump-shots... Either making them or reducing the amount of long two's that they take because of Griner inside. Those jump-shots are fool's gold after a few go down they are playing into the Mercury's defensive strategies as a whole. Jump-shots.

That player is Bonner for the Mercury. After you get past the Griner-Parker, Candice Dupree-Ogwumike, Taurasi-Tolliver match-ups the game is wide open for Bonner to play free safety on defense and be a weapon on the offensive end. Her efficiency has been admirable this year on the offensive end taking less difficult shots and scoring smarter all-around.


This season the Mercury outscored the Sparks 85.4 - 73.8 and out-rebounded them 35.2 - 33.6 on the season per game. The turnovers were dead even. Looking at the match-ups in the season series here is how the teams stacked up against each other in the five games:



Diana Taurasi 18.8ppg 5.4apg 3.0rpg
Penny Taylor 8.0ppg 3.4apg
DeWanna Bonner 13.6ppg 5.4rpg
Candice Dupree 13.8ppg 7.6rpg
Brittney Griner 15.8ppg 7.2rpg 3.2bpg



Alana Beard 7.2ppg 1.2apg
Kristi Tolliver 12.6ppg 3.6apg
Jantel Lavender 11.2 8.6rpg
Candace Parker 21.3ppg 9.3rpg
Nneka Ogwumike 15.5ppg 7.2rpg


With full health the Mercury are too deep, too balanced, and too focused to lose to this Sparks team. Parker and Ogwumike are very talented, but not  a great mix on the court and the Head Coach Sandy Brondello will key in on that. This could (should) be a quick series leading to another trip to the Western Conference Finals and an opportunity to win another Championship.

Mercury in Two (2-0)

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