Morris was the man today.

Before getting too far into this recap, let's establish that the New York Knicks may have assembled the worst summer league roster in Vegas. After losing by 50 to Golden State on Friday night, they improved to only a 25-point loss to the Suns summer squad.

Between the two teams, there was one NBA player on the court: Markieff Morris. Just before the tip, and even to Markieff's surprise, Kendall Marshall was held out because he hadn't yet signed his contract. At the time, I was floored by this news, but possibly the delay was related to the Luis Scola amnesty claim and all the moving parts on the salary cap waiting for Gordon to take his physical for the Hornets before the cap hold was released.

Suns assistant coach, and summer head coach, Dan Majerle on Markieff Morris' summer: "It's big for him because he didn't get to do this last year. He's been working extremely hard, been working in Phoenix on not only his body but his game and I told him I'm going to go to him a lot this (summer), especially in the post. He took it to heart, and he did a great job."

Note that those comments are in stark contrast to his out-of-shape comments on the Suns' last summertime PF, Earl Clark. Morris finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist and a steal. Morris looked thicker out there than he appeared last season. He is a 6'9" and a solid 240 pounds - perfectly sized for an NBA power forward.

DeShawn Sims scored 16, while Dionte Garrett had 10 assists and 3 steals, to go along with 8 points, in a starting role while Marshall awaited his finalized contract.

Hit the jump for video and postgame quotes from Markieff Morris, including a "whatthe" moment when hearing about Luis Scola, as well as more quotes from Dan Majerle.

Morris, on what he's done since the season ended: "Working. I've been in Phoenix for the majority of the (off)season, just working hard," Morris said to Seth Pollack after the game today. "Scoring on the post, scoring different ways. I've been put in that position a lot last year. Just me, Elston Turner and Mark West been in the gym, working."

Asked about working in the post on Sunday against the Knicks: "I just take my time. Let the game come to me. I feel like I can get anything I want."

And then Seth dropped a bit of news on Markieff at the end of the interview - that the Suns had won the waiver claim for PF Luis Scola minutes before.

Markieff's eyes got real big and he had a moment of shock before collecting himself with a big grin, a chuckle, and head shake. "He's a great addition to our team," he said, that wide grin still on his face.

When asked a follow up question on his new competition, he responded without hesitation, making eye contact with the reporter the entire time: "I mean, we're going to compete for playing time, and I'm glad to have him, and I'm going to welcome him with open arms."

Considering this was a 22-year old just being told that a 5-year NBA starter at HIS position just joined the team, I thought he handled the news incredibly well. What can you expect when dropping a bomb like that on a young guy?

Anybody jump out at you? "Erving (Walker) played great. He really a waterbug (5'8" in shoes). He's hard to guard because he can move, set up some guys, and make some 3s. I was impressed."

But before getting your hopes up, Majerle brings realism back to the conversation when asked about Walker overcoming his small stature: "It's tough, you know, this is a big man's league."

Majerle, when asked about Scola: "I just heard about it. Obviously, any time you can get a talented guy that's great. I'm happy."

Majerle:

Morris:


The free agent bonanza continues in Phoenix as the Suns have won the amnesty auction for Luis Scola. The 6-foot-9 power forward was amnestied on Friday by the Houston Rockets as part of GM Daryl...

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Put these guys in Suns colors.

Well that was a big move. Apparently the Suns are not interested in tanking this season. Luis Scola, he of the creaky knees but aggressive game will be joining the Goran Dragic in the Suns lineup this season!

Scola_medium

Childress_medium

I guess this makes sense. They had to pay Childress $21 million in the next 3 seasons regardless. Might as well spend some of that on Scola and get playing time out of it.


The youth movement is officially on in Phoenix and it has tallied its first victory. The Suns’ Summer League squad trounced the New York Knicks 99-74 on the far-flung battlefield of Las Vegas’ Cox...

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Hopefully we get to see a bit more of this in Keef's first Summer League action.

At this time last year, we were all sitting around wondering if there was even going to be a season. The lock-out was in full effect and all basketball-related activities were put on hold. Unfortunately, that included Summer League play, which meant a lot of young players missed out on some valuable experience.

Thankfully, there is no lock-out this year and Summer League has already begun. These games provide an invaluable experience for so many players. For drafted rookies, it is an opportunity to suit up and play some professional ball for the first time. For second and third year players, it is a chance to showcase what they have been working on over the summer and continue to build on what they accomplished in their rookie and sophomore seasons. For undrafted players, it is a chance to get a training camp invite and possibly even make a roster. For veterans, it is a chance -- possibly a last chance -- to make it back into the league. There is a lot on the line in Summer League, especially for contests that are little more than glorified pick-up games.

The festivities kicked off last week in Florida as eight teams participated in the Orlando Summer League. The Orlando league, which included eight teams, is a bit of a precursor for the main event in Las Vegas, which began on Friday after the Orlando league wrapped up. 24 teams are in Vegas and 60 total games will be played.

The rules are a bit different than fans are accustomed to. The game consists of four 10-minutes quarters, rather than the 12-minute quarters used in the NBA. It also takes 10 personal fouls before a player is disqualified, rather than the customary six.

The Suns make their debut today against the New York Knicks SL squad at 1 p.m. AZ time. The game will be shown on NBA TV and will also be streamed online via the Summer League Broadband package, which you can purchase for $14.99.

Make the jump for a brief look at the rosters of the Suns and their competition.

PHOENIX SUNS

For a full breakdown of the Suns' 15-man roster, check out 7footer's excellent work here. The year's lottery pick Kendall Marshall will be making his pro debut today and last year's lottery pick Markieff Morris will also be making his first appearance in Summer League play.

Those two rightfully headline the roster, but there are a couple of other players that will be playing for training camp invites with the Suns.

Former Ohio State Buckeye David Lighty is my pick for most likely to make the roster. He's a capable defender and a good 3-point shooter who chose to head overseas last year after going undrafted rather than waiting for the lock-out to end.The Suns are still a bit shallow on the wing, and Lighty could be a cheap way to fill out the roster.

Excluding Marshall, there are five other guards on the roster that can handle the ball and run the offense. It looks like the Suns may be looking for another guard to bring to training camp, although making the roster will be tough with Goran Dragic, Sebastian Telfair and Marshall already under contract. Because of that, my pick to emerge from the group is Matt Gatens, an undrafted rookie sharp-shooter and combo-guard from Iowa. Gatens visited the Suns twice before the draft, so the team has already shown some interest in him. I wouldn't count out Diante Garrett, though, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Iowa State who isn't a great shooter but can do a little bit of everything.

As for the forwards, Wisconsin's Marcus Landry was invited to the Suns training camp last season and could return again this year with a good week. However, I think Michigan's DeShawn Sims has a good chance to beat out Landry for that spot. Sims is a tough player who won D-League Rookie of the Year after going undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft.

NEW YORK KNICKS (Sunday, July 15, 1 p.m.)

The Knicks come into today after getting crushed by the Memphis Grizzlies 93-77 in their first game in Vegas. James White is the lone player on the team with a contract with the Knicks after the sign-and-trade for Marcus Camby shipped guard Toney Douglas and big men Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan to Houston.

However, their roster does feature three players who have siblings currently playing in the league. Chris Smith (brother of Knicks guard J.R. Smith), Jeremiah Rivers (son of Doc Rivers and brother of Hornets' lottery pick Austin RIvers) and Mychel Thompson Jr. (son of former NBA player and brother of Warriors guard Klay Thompson) should all see playing time for the Knicks. I know how much Suns fans love lesser brothers.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (Tueday, July 17, 5:30 p.m.)

The Cavaliers will be without reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving after he broke his hand during a practice, but there is plenty of talent left on the roster.

Tristan Thompson is the biggest name after being drafted 4th overall last year an having a solid rookie season. Joining him are this year's draft picks guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller, both whom were taken in the first round.

Donald Sloan is a solid point guard who made the team last year after tearing it up in the D-League and filled in when Irving missed some time due to injury. Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody are two more players who spent last year on the Cavs' roster.

NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (Wednesday, July 18, 5:30 p.m.)

The Hornets will be without the top pick in the draft, Anthony Davis, as he was called up to play for Team USA in the London Olympics.

However, their second lottery pick, Austin Rivers is still on the roster and he's joined by second round pick and crafty scorer Darius Miller. Shooting guard Xavier Henry, a lottery pick from a few season ago, will also participate, as will Jerome Dyson and Lance Thomas who made the team as undrafted free agents last year after playing in the D-League.

D-LEAGUE SELECT TEAM (Friday, July 20, 7 p.m.)

There are not many big names on the D-League select team. Chris Johnson is a long, athletic shot-blocker who has played for a couple of NBA teams in the last two years. Renaldo Major is a wily D-League vet who knows how to put the ball in the hoop. Point guard Mardy Collins is a name that some might remember as he spent four years in the NBA.

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (Saturday, July 21, 7 p.m.)

Memphis put the hurt on the Knicks in their first game and got big performances from 2011 first rounder Josh Selby as well as this year's first round pick Tony Wroten. Jeremy Pargo is another talented point guard on the squad who made the team lasted year and even started a few games.

The Grizzlies also feature a familiar face to Suns fans as Matt Janning, former Sun and 2010 Summer League sensation, is on the roster.


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