In what has been a mostly underwhelming performance thus far, the Phoenix Suns will look to close out their NBA Summer League appearance with a win tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7p.m P.S.T.
The Grizzlies are led by PG/SG Josh Selby, a former Kansas standout who has had an outstanding summer league thus far averaging 29 points per game while shooting an incredible 61% from the field...leading the entire league in scoring. Their other guards Jeremy Pargo (12 pts, 5 ast), Tony Wroten (10 pts, 5 ast, 5 rbs) and even ex-Sun Matt Janning (8 pts) have also been consistent contributors as well. The key for the Suns will be to stop the Grizzlies' back court if they are going to pull out a win tonight.
As for the Summer Suns', their biggest issue has been their lack of ability to score points on offense. So far they have averaged only 40% from the field. Worse yet, if you take away their first and only good game in which they shot an efficient 52% against the New York Knicks, they have averaged a dismal 36% over their last three games...yuck!
It's not as if they haven't been able to get open looks or even open lanes all the way to the basket...they have...but for whatever reason this team just hasn't been able to finish plays by putting points on the score board. Even the team's leading scorer and best player, Markieff Morris, has struggled shooting only 37% from the field overall.
Without going into the possible reasons for such a lackluster offensive performance, and there are many, let's just say that if the 1-3 Suns are going to close out their summer schedule with a win against the 2-1 Memphis Grizzlies, they will need to be much more efficient.
Continue reading after the jump for a brief look at the stats from both teams, as well as some players you may want to keep an eye on as they compete for a training camp invite
Here are the stats for the Suns thus far:
|2012 suns Summer League Averages|
Here are the stats for the Grizzlies:
|2012 grizzlies Summer League Averages|
We know that Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall are already under contract with the Suns, and that Charles Garcia has already been given a training camp invite. But despite a generally bad summer league performance overall, there have been a few bright spots on the roster who could also join the Suns once training camp begins in October.
Players to watch during the last game:
Diante Garrett, PG- Garrett started off his summer league performance with a bang against the New York Knicks while filling in as the starter for Kendall Marshall who was still working out his contract. Garrett posted an impressive 8 pts, 10 asts, and 5 rebounds in his debut and helped lead the team, along with Markieff Morris, to their only win of the summer thus far. Since Marshall's return, Garrett has seen only sporadic minutes and has failed to put his stamp on the game the way he did in the first game. Still, his quickness and length, along with his ability to drive the lane and attack the basket, are impressive attributes that could warrant the Suns giving him another look.
David Lighty, SG - Overall, I've been generally disappointed in Lighty's offensive performance in the summer league. Lighty has averaged only 4 pts in his 17 min per game, which is low for him--even though he is considered much better defensively than offensively. But he hasn't really shot the ball poorly; averaging 40% from the field and 50% from three. Lighty has always been an efficient spot-up 3pt shooter dating back to his career at Ohio St., and this has continued at summer league even though he hasn't taken many shots. Of course, the most notable aspect of Lighty's game remains his defense. He is easily the best perimeter defender on the team, and this one skill-set the real Phoenix Suns will sorely miss after the loss of Grant Hill. With his ability to knock down three's and shut down perimeter scoring and penetration, the Suns may be interested in keeping him around.
Matt Gatens, SG - Gatens may not be well known on the roster, but his stats speak for themselves. Although he's only averaged 10 min per game, he has made the most of his opportunity averaging 6 pts by doing what he does best, knocking down threes. Gatens is the best three point shooter on the team, averaging an impressive 56% from downtown. This is no abberation either. Gatens was the leading scorer on his Iowa Hawkeye's team averaging 15 points per game last season while shooting 41% from three and 47% from the field overall. Gatens could earn a training camp invite based on his shooting alone to be a specialty player in the same vein as Steve Novak. Let's see if he can continue his hot streak and finish the summer league strong.
Other than these three players, I would be very surprised if anyone else on the roster made enough of an impression to be considered. Let's hope we see a little more of these three tonight to see how they do.
Like last night, this game will not be televised live on NBA TV, so if you want to see the game live you will have to purchase the NBA broadband package which has now been reduced to only $4.99. You can sign up here. If not, you can also see the game when it is televised later tonight on NBA TV at 10p.m. P.S.T./1a.m. E.S.T.