The Dragon plays on Slovenian soil again, breathing some defensive fire and making longer 3s.

After almost 11 months Suns Goran Dragic played in front of Slovenian fans again. It was nice to finally see him lead Slovenia team on court as its rightful captain. His first home game, though statistically not as efficient as usual, was still good: 18points on 7/17 shooting, 7 assists and a chase down block you could see coming immediately after the ball changed possession. When the Dragon doesn't produce well on offence, he goes into defense (make-up) mode, which I really have to commend here. His game also included a 14 point 4th quarter, where he got "GO-GI GO-GI" cheers while taking a free throw - which sadly, he missed.

The atmosphere was great, the crowd was cheering from the start and got louder and louder as the game progressed. You have to give credit to the Brazilians. As hard as the fans were rooting for our own, they were booing the Brazil team just as bad. Some of those Splitter free throw misses had to be due to the overwhelming noise. Unfortunately, Brazil still managed to win in overtime, despite Slovenia defeating a 19 point deficit and getting an 8 point lead in the 2nd half. Brazil managed to tie it in the last seconds of regulation. After that they outscored us by 4 and won the game 88:84.

Again Jogi wrote a great recap of the very intense game and for all the number nerds here are the stats.

The only other thing I'll say is; the Slovenian refs weren't giving us any breaks, at some point in the game, even I was shouting rudely at them and I had a lot of support around me. Zoran Dragi? got slapped in the face while getting a rebound and nothing..

Quotes from Klemen Prepeli? (19pt) and coach Jure Zdovc:

Jure Zdovc: First half wasn't so bad, defense was good, we were just turning the ball over to much, we had 8 turnovers, but even that isn't that big of a problem if 6 of those turnovers weren't direct punishments, and that's what really killed us. But I have to emphasise they (Brazil) were really aggressive in the first half, too aggressive. I mean a few of our players were bruised all over. The referees were allowing it. I warned them about it, but they just weren't stoping the aggressiveness in time, we didn't fight back and we payed for it.

Again very bad start to the 3rd quarter, mistakes on defence, turnover at half-court.. I think we simply can't afford that and then we were chasing them for 19 points. I sent young Nikoli? in to push the ball more aggressively. We came to life a little bit, made some hard 3s. But this is all the consequence of good defence, which gave us some certainty. Then, after we hit one 3, I always say 3s are contagious; either no one makes it or everybody starts hitting it. So we got a few lucky shots. And again incomprehensibly, stupidly we handed them the win. again a lot of nonsense, that we just can't afford if we want to win, especially against a good team like Brazil.

Klemen Prepeli? (when asked if they'd need more time to prepare because of all the flaws): Considering Gogi is limited and that Erazem (Lorbek) is not coming, which was a big shock for us... But we still have a lot of quality players and like Jure said "The team wins, not the individual". Agains Lithuania and today agains Brazil we showed some solid minutes and if we apply them to all 40 minutes we can play anyone.

We definitely won't be winning with 3s, we need some depth, which we'll mostly get from Gogi's penetration, but someone else has to step up as well. Gogi hasn't played since april and he needs minutes. I think we're on the right track, we have to get that confidence and play bravely.

It's a shame we lost, but it was still a special game for me, since I somehow luckily got first row tickets for the game, which turned out to really be 2nd row court-side seats. Though the view is better from farther away, it was great seeing the action up close and hearing player "opinions" directed towards the refs. Even heard Gogi sort of curse at one. He had a point and fans were cursing way worse anyway.

Today is the last day of the Telemach tournament and Slovenia will have the chance to repay Lithuania for last week's loss. I fully expect #Junaki to come through and win the cup on home court.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: our poll from last week seems to have some merit :) Here are the results:

Last thing: I made a few kinda bad quality videos with some Dragon highlights. If any are good enough and anyone is interested, I'll post them when I have the time to sort through them. Or maybe KZS will give us some video and I'll post the link. And I could only get a good photo of Gogi from the back, but at least it's completely fresh :)

The Dragon plays on Slovenian soil again, breathing some defensive fire and making longer 3s.

After almost 11 months Suns Goran Dragic played in front of Slovenian fans again. It was nice to finally see him lead Slovenia team on court as its rightful captain. His first home game, though statistically not as efficient as usual, was still good: 18points on 7/17 shooting, 7 assists and a chase down block you could see coming immediately after the ball changed possession. When the Dragon doesn't produce well on offence, he goes into defense (make-up) mode, which I really have to commend here. His game also included a 14 point 4th quarter, where he got "GO-GI GO-GI" cheers while taking a free throw - which sadly, he missed.

The atmosphere was great, the crowd was cheering from the start and got louder and louder as the game progressed. You have to give credit to the Brazilians. As hard as the fans were rooting for our own, they were booing the Brazil team just as bad. Some of those Splitter free throw misses had to be due to the overwhelming noise. Unfortunately, Brazil still managed to win in overtime, despite Slovenia defeating a 19 point deficit and getting an 8 point lead in the 2nd half. Brazil managed to tie it in the last seconds of regulation. After that they outscored us by 4 and won the game 88:84.

Again Jogi wrote a great recap of the very intense game and for all the number nerds here are the stats.

The only other thing I'll say is; the Slovenian refs weren't giving us any breaks, at some point in the game, even I was shouting rudely at them and I had a lot of support around me. Zoran Dragi? got slapped in the face while getting a rebound and nothing..

Quotes from Klemen Prepeli? (19pt) and coach Jure Zdovc:

Jure Zdovc: First half wasn't so bad, defense was good, we were just turning the ball over to much, we had 8 turnovers, but even that isn't that big of a problem if 6 of those turnovers weren't direct punishments, and that's what really killed us. But I have to emphasise they (Brazil) were really aggressive in the first half, too aggressive. I mean a few of our players were bruised all over. The referees were allowing it. I warned them about it, but they just weren't stoping the aggressiveness in time, we didn't fight back and we payed for it.

Again very bad start to the 3rd quarter, mistakes on defence, turnover at half-court.. I think we simply can't afford that and then we were chasing them for 19 points. I sent young Nikoli? in to push the ball more aggressively. We came to life a little bit, made some hard 3s. But this is all the consequence of good defence, which gave us some certainty. Then, after we hit one 3, I always say 3s are contagious; either no one makes it or everybody starts hitting it. So we got a few lucky shots. And again incomprehensibly, stupidly we handed them the win. again a lot of nonsense, that we just can't afford if we want to win, especially against a good team like Brazil.

Klemen Prepeli? (when asked if they'd need more time to prepare because of all the flaws): Considering Gogi is limited and that Erazem (Lorbek) is not coming, which was a big shock for us... But we still have a lot of quality players and like Jure said "The team wins, not the individual". Agains Lithuania and today agains Brazil we showed some solid minutes and if we apply them to all 40 minutes we can play anyone.

We definitely won't be winning with 3s, we need some depth, which we'll mostly get from Gogi's penetration, but someone else has to step up as well. Gogi hasn't played since april and he needs minutes. I think we're on the right track, we have to get that confidence and play bravely.

It's a shame we lost, but it was still a special game for me, since I somehow luckily got first row tickets for the game, which turned out to really be 2nd row court-side seats. Though the view is better from farther away, it was great seeing the action up close and hearing player "opinions" directed towards the refs. Even heard Gogi sort of curse at one. He had a point and fans were cursing way worse anyway.

Today is the last day of the Telemach tournament and Slovenia will have the chance to repay Lithuania for last week's loss. I fully expect #Junaki to come through and win the cup on home court.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: our poll from last week seems to have some merit :) Here are the results:

Last thing: I made a few kinda bad quality videos with some Dragon highlights. If any are good enough and anyone is interested, I'll post them when I have the time to sort through them. Or maybe KZS will give us some video and I'll post the link. And I could only get a good photo of Gogi from the back, but at least it's completely fresh :)

Dragic and the sharp-shooting Prepelic were not enough to beat the hard-hitting center line-up of Nene, Splitter and Varejao.

Recap

Slovenia looked great early on, shutting down on D and using good ball movement to find the open man for a quick lead 10:5. After a time-out, the ball just seemed to stop finding the hole, but luckily the defense was still doing it's job so the score was 15:15 going into the second period. Goran Dragic had a really average (being nice) first period, struggling to run the team and missing a few open shots.

The second period was basically a butt-whopping for Slovenia after a great initial Dragic-to-Dragic  combo to make it 27:28. Brazil used great defensive pressure on the guards (especially Dragic, it's obviuous he's the only real threat on the team and he is treated as such) to disrupt the flow of our offense, stealing balls and forcing bad shots. On the other end, they put on a show of great passing to find the open man and most importantly, getting the ball down low as Slovenia is weakest there, even more so with the news that Erazem Lorbek will not play due to his knee injury. Varejano-Splitter were wreaking havoc and Nene had some thunderous dunks, at one point stripping Zupan of the ball on D and running the court to dunk it on the other end. To put it in short, Brazil won the period 15:29 and around 8 thousand home fans (myself included) were thoroughly unimpressed. Slovenia: Brazil half-time score was 28:43.

After the break (and I imagine a good talking-to by coach Zdovc) things went much better for Slovenia. The D locked down, forcing a ton of bad shots and scoring in transition on the other end. Goran was leading the charge, since we know this is where he shines. He was sprinting the court, going hard to the rim or kicking it out to an open man (all of them eventually managed to hit more than miss). Plus, I am happy to report, his patented step-back is back!

He hit a few of them from the elbow, and two back-to-back three pointers from well behind the arch, so I guess the results of kajkejti's poll have come to life, he's just taking the NBA three and it's working again.

Third period ended with Brazil leading 40:42, but they were outscored 9:29 in the period, thanks mostly to Goran and Klemen Prepelic who hit a few over-the-arm, in-your-face threes, some of them beyond the NBA 3-pt line. He was 6/8 in threes in the game.

In the fourth, Slovenia continued the charge, eventually taking the lead and extending it to 7 with a little over 2 minutes left in the game. But Brasil fought back, Slovenia was not focused, two of our bigs fouled out and Brazil tied it with a little more than a second left in the fourth on a rebound from a missed free throw.

In overtime, Brazil used it's size and focus to get the lead to 6 early on, and that was (a few desperate individual attempts from the SLO team aside) basically it.

Slovenia:Brazil final score 84:88.

Goran had a decent game in the end, putting up 18 points and 7 assists (5/11 for two, 2/6 for three, 2/4 FT) 4 rebounds and three turnovers in a little over 32 minutes of play. But once again it's obvious he'll have a hard time carrying the team by himself as he's being guarded better than the JFK plot.

And no, I did not forget about Leandro Barbosa, who I was looking forward to seeing in actions liveve, but he was resting and didn't get to see any action.

The last home friendly is today against Lithuania (who beat Slovenia a few days ago in Kaunas) and I'll again be there, hoping to see at least one victory live before heading to the WC.

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.

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.

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