The Phoenix Suns like point guards and they like playing point guards together. So it wasn't a surprise when point guards Tyler Ennis and Seth Curry took the floor together in crunch time of a summer league barn burner.

The story in the Suns win over the Bucks was the great combo play of Tyler Ennis and Seth Curry in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Bucks. Summer coach Mike Longabardi said after the first game that he should have played the two together against the Warriors and then, guess what, he did play them together against the Bucks. That's the kind of honesty and followthrough you like to see from your coach.

"That was a great combination, it worked very well for us. Seth, actually, was on fire but I think Tyler did a great job executing pick and roll offense, getting in the lane, making the right plays at the right time and we made some shots. And to me, the biggest difference was last night we didn't make a three and tonight we made 11 so that's huge," Longabardi said.

For his part, Curry proved his knowledge of the NBA interview cliche routine: "It felt good. I got some good looks. I just tried to get open and my teammates found me. Coach drew up some good plays for me so I felt good. I felt like anything I threw up was going to go in."

Well done. Any professional basketball player named "Seth" has a place in my heart.

My big observation of the game was Alec Brown. I'm not the least bit worried about his poor shooting which Longabardi chalked up to nerves and jitters. I thought his defensive rotations were solid even if he was physically overmatched to the point where I thought he was shaking his head in amazement at the freakish athleticism and size of Giannis Antetokounmpo. But who can blame him?

That might lead to Brown being destined for a long career in the D-league but then again there was this comparison made by his coach to a recently departed hero:

"He's a seven-footer who can shoot a three. I mean, I like that. I'm not being sarcastic. It is a high release. It's a tough one. You see when we're out there, Miles (Plumlee) rolls to the rim it's almost, I don't want to say like Channing (Frye) but there's some similarities there because if you hug Alec than Miles is going to get a layup. If you come in and pull in on the roll then Alec is going to get an open shot."

Here's some more quotes to chew on with your lunch:


On Alec Brown

"Really good. Last night, I just thought he was nervous to be honest with you. I shouldn't say nervous, he probably had the jitters. I told him and the coaches told him, you're a 40 percent three-point shooter, don't hesitate to shoot. Tonight, he made a free throw early which is always good for a shooter to get that one easy one to get your rhythm going so that was good."

On Dionte Christmas

"I was a little concerned about him offensively against Giannis because he's so long and he is just so disruptive that I just told him we need you on defense now, let's try and stay away from Giannis as much as we can because he just disrupts everything. But he (Christmas) did make some key plays. He made some threes, he drove the ball. He did a really, really good job."

On the game

"These guys played hard, man. You've got to give them all the credit. They really played balls out. I don't know if i can say that."

T.J. Warren should be fine. Was held out the rest of the game as a precaution.

Seth Curry

"I might be in a little bit better shape (having played last week in Orlando) and I was in the rhythm of going up and down playing in actual game. But it's different playing in Orlando than playing in front of a real crowd like this. That's four games in four days so I'm kind of worn out right now."

"Anytime you step on the court, especially in summer league, you are playing for all 30 teams in the league. Everybody can see what you're doing and nobody has my rights or anything like that so just going out there trying to complete and show what I can do."

"I'm experienced playing four years in college and then playing in the D-league learning the NBA game. I think it gives me a little bit of an advantage getting up and down knowing the style of play and the pace of the game and things like that."

"I think that's one of my biggest weapons I can bring to a team. Handling the ball most of the game and then going in there with Tyler towards the end of the game and play off the ball and spread the court. I feel like that's one of my advantages that I can bring."

"He's (Ennis) is a solid point guard. He's a good leader. Runs the team. Doesn't make too many mistakes. He's always composed even though he's so young."

I will leave all the "lesser brother" jokes to you folks in the comments.

Welcome to the Madhouse! Bright Side of the Sun is an amazing and diverse community and it deserves a place where the tyranny of topicality does not rule. And that's what The Madhouse is. It's Bright Side of the Sun's place to talk about whatever you want, whenever you want: favorite TV shows, news from around the league or how LORD HAVE MERCY, MILES PLUMLEE!

Okay Summer League and Free-Agency, enough of that, I'm bored... Time for some meaningful and borderline historic basketball happening here in the Valley right now.

Record: 16-3 (.842)

Place In Standings: First (+1.5 on Minnesota)

Points Per Game: 84.53 (1st)

Points Against: 74.90 (3rd)


In the span of 82 games last year the entire NBA went 0/32 on teams with a 10-game winning streak. This is the second longest home winning streak (11-games in 1999) in franchise history and the team has not lost in over a month. Ten games represents 29.4% of the WNBA season. So, the Mercury are rolling.
Part of this 10-game winning streak has been Penny Taylor starting all ten of these games after playing off the bench in the first nine games.
Another part has been the defenses steady improvement. On a week-over-week scale the Mercury have shaved three points per game against in a week and are the third best defensive team in the league. In the 10-games they have given up 80+ points only twice, won by a margin of 11.8 points per game, and ran five teams out of the gym.
No NBA team did this last year. Not the San Antonio Spurs. Not the Miami Heat. Not even the MonStars. Up next for the Mercury is the Minnesota Lynx 2012 13-game winning streak and the bell toll for winning streaks is the Houston Comets 15 game winning streak from 1998.


History will continue happening...

Diana Taurasi has been making history. Candice Dupree made some history herself this year. As the writing starts to appear on the wall Brittney Griner so far through two seasons has 161 total blocks in just 45 games. An average of 3.4 blocks per game, which is nearly a full block more than Margo Dydek and a block and a half more than the icon Lisa Leslie. By seasons end, after just two WNBA seasons, Griner could be hovering around 220 total blocks. How impressive is that?
It took 400 games for Swin Cash to net 239 blocks. Griner will do that in 61 games in all likelihood.
Her pace is absolutely incredible. Think of it this way: If Griner simply plays () games at her current 3.4 blocks per game pace she will pass Leslie in her 7th season (around 215 games) for second All-Time in blocks. The next season she would eviscerate the record in blocks. It took Margo (323 games) to get the record and Leslie 363 games to find her place in history.
Think about that for a minute.


...and Let's Compare The Mercury/Suns.

Last season the Phoenix Suns hit the six game mark once and the five game mark twice in terms of winning streaks, different types of seasons, but why not take a look at that while we are here. The Mercury have played 19-gmaes which is 55.8% of the WNBA season, or roughly 46 NBA games.
At the 46 game mark the Suns were 28-18 (60.8%) playing some of the best basketball of their season as a whole.
This has been one hell of a year for basketball in the state of Arizona as a whole, considering. The Suns shocked the world, the Mercury are making history, the Arizona Wildcats flirted with a National Championship run, and the Arizona State Sun Devils made the tournament in general.


Upcoming Schedule

Tuesday vs. Washington Mystics at 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Thursday vs. Connecticut Sun at 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Recent reports indicate that the Suns are turning to the Morris twins to fill the floor-spacing role vacated by Channing Frye. Are they up to the task?

This summer the Suns have taken their dual-point offense to even greater heights with the signing of Isaiah Thomas, and added scoring punch through the draft with T.J. Warren, who might be ready to contribute immediately if his early showings in Las Vegas are any indication.

Thomas and Warren both possess undeniable instincts for getting the ball through the cylinder, and in an offense based around tempo and putting relentless pressure on opposing defenses they figure to fit like a glove.

However, an obvious blemish remains on the Suns' efforts this summer in the departure of Channing Frye, exacerbated by the fact that Markieff Morris is currently the only true power forward on the Suns' depth chart.

Stalled Markets and the Dog Days of Summer

The obvious ideal addition to fill Frye's stretchy shoes would be Kevin Love, but it doesn't appear that Flip Saunders and the T-Wolves are in any rush to move their All-World power forward.

Phx Suns discussed trade for Kevin Love yesterday/ would need 3rd team involved/ Suns do not have the right assets for deal

— Jude LaCava (@judefox10) July 13, 2014

This is nothing to be discouraged about; as long as Love is still a Timberwolf, the Suns will be in the discussion. And despite LaCava's assertion, the Suns have plenty of assets -- it's just not the right time for the T-Wolves to accept them yet.

Basically, if I'm Flip Saunders the only way I'm dealing Love directly to the Suns now is if either Dragic or Bledsoe are included.

And if I'm Ryan McDonough, the only way I'm directly trading for Love now is if both Dragic and Bledsoe are off the table.

So it goes.

As much as the sanity of the fans involved is compromised, there is no impetus on either side of the trade docks to force a deal right now, a full seven months before the trading deadline. There's a reason that these disgruntled star player storylines take so long to be resolved -- until the clock really starts ticking there is simply no incentive to settle on a deal that is anything less than stellar.

The Suns are holding onto their assets very tightly, and they're going to keep playing chess instead of losing patience and breaking out the checkers board. Be grateful for that, even as the Chinese water torture of summer begs to drive you insane.

In the meantime, the Suns appear to be turning to their own roster for a stopgap solution.

McDonough & Ennis discuss Thomas' addition. Markieff & Marcus Morris will be #Suns stretch-4 options with Frye gone.

— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 13, 2014

Per Coro's article:

It would be hard for the Suns to replace the stretch big-man element of Channing Frye, who departed for Orlando in free agency. That could happen internally.

"Markieff (Morris) has worked on his range," McDonough said. "Markieff is a good player and scores in a different way than Channing most of the time. We see Marcus Morris in that role some as a stretch four who can spread the floor. He shot a great percentage from 3-point range last year. We think he'll play some small forward and power forward."

Let's pretend this is true for a moment, even though McDonough's quote hardly matches Coro's tweet. If Frye's role will indeed be assigned to the Morris twins, will the summer of 2014 yield immediate improvement for the Suns? They have continued to stockpile assets with Warren, Tyler Ennis, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Isaiah Thomas figures to be a lock to outplay the modest contract he was signed to, but have they done enough to exceed or even match their win total of 48 from last season?

Mo' Morri, Mo' Problems?

Despite their breakout seasons in 2013/14, the Morris twins present more questions than answers if they are going to move up the depth chart.


Markieff was indispensable at times as a frontcourt scoring threat, scoring 13.8 PPG in a variety of ways while playing nearly as many minutes off the bench (26.6) as Frye did in the starting lineup (28.2). He was also third on the team in FTA/36 minutes with 5.5.

However, despite his increase in scoring production his 3P% fell to .315, which he will have to improve if he is to create any space in the paint when spotting up outside. The irony here is that his emergence coincided with him spending less time on the perimeter. Do the Suns really want to take him away from the areas in which he is most effective for the sake of keeping the offensive scheme static? Is employing a stretch big worth eliminating a frontcourt scoring threat?

Also of concern, will he be overexposed as a starting PF? Is it reasonable to increase his minutes and workload without expecting some drop in production?

See what I mean about questions?


While Markieff's improvement was more noticeable, Marcus made a niche for himself as a spot-up combo forward last season, knocking down a stellar 38% of his attempts from deep. He wasn't bashful about it either, hoisting 5.2 3PA per 36 minutes.

Like his bro, Marcus also showed some midrange skills, shooting .486 on 109 attempts from 10-16 feet, which surprisingly topped Markieff at .478 on 186 attempts.

Playing time at the small forward position will likely be at a premium with Gerald Green, T.J. Warren and perhaps Archie Goodwin all vying for minutes behind the newly re-signed P.J. Tucker. Coupled with the departure of Frye this should result in more minutes for Marcus as a power forward, and if he can sustain his shooting percentages he will make life much easier for Dragic, Bledsoe and Thomas.

At 6'9 and 235 he should have enough size for a true power forward, but it would help if he offered some tenacity when battling the big guys. He tends to play smaller than he actually is, which might be the only thing holding him back from being a full time stretch-big.

Oh yeah, defense

Both of the Morris twins will have to produce on offense if they're going to be spending more time down low on defense. They both lack the length and instincts to be reliable paint defenders, and more minutes for the twins might in turn put a greater onus on the development of young centers Miles Plumlee and Alex Len, who have only played a combined 136 regular season games.

The good news here is that they won't exactly be replacing a defensive stalwart in Frye, and there may be enough natural growth at the center position and within the scheme of Mike Longabardi to mitigate the effect of the Mo Bros' shortcomings.

If guys like Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph can be a part of an elite defense, there is hope for the Morri.

If all else fails, there is enough scoring talent on this roster to drop 130 points with a bad hangover.

Adjusted Expectations

Within the context of summer popcorn headlines about Kevin Love and Chris Bosh, it's difficult not to be a little disappointed at the thought of replacing Channing Frye with nothing more than two guys who served behind him on the depth chart last season.

On the other hand, you could do a hell of a lot worse than two guys coming off of breakout seasons and heading into a contract year. If the Morris twins indeed head into the 2014/15 seasons with increased roles and a chance to climb into the "A" tier of the 2015 free agent pool, they'll have all the motivation they need to turn in another career year.

At a shade under $3 million per twin, the Suns would again be getting a ridiculous bargain.

Even more than last season, this Suns team will begin and end with their backcourt. Any hopes of stopping the Suns will rest upon containing Dragic, Bledsoe and Thomas. Even then, Gerald Green might pop off for 41 points.

They have established the best guard rotation in the NBA, and they accomplished this feat in a single calendar year. There is still work to do, but I can imagine plenty of worse scenarios than giving the Morris twins a chance to prove themselves before they hit free agency.

Let's see what they can do.

Well, at least until February.

LAS VEGAS — The Phoenix Suns used a barrage of three pointers late to come from behind and defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 93-82 on Sunday night in this second game of the Las Vegas Summer League....

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