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Las Vegas Summer League: Phoenix Suns

T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin, and Seth Curry have had strong games thus far for Phoenix.

The Phoenix Suns Las Vegas Summer League kicked off their summer circuit Saturday night against a Golden State Warriors squad that had not lost in Vegas since 2010. That trend continued as the Suns fell 72-74 before squaring off with the Milwaukee Bucks and Jabari Parker in their second game on Sunday in a matchup that ended with the Suns winning 93-82.

T.J. Warren

Stats against Golden State:  22 pts (10-16 FG, 0-0 3pt), 4 rbs, 1 stl, 1blk

Stats against Milwaukee Bucks:  4pts (1-1 FG, 0-0 3pt), 1rb, 7 min played

The forward out of North Carolina State had a great opening night performance for the Suns, scoring in a variety of ways. This was unfortunately followed up with a short seven minute outing against the Bucks due to a cut above his eye that required stitches. The biggest take away from watching Warren in that first game was his ability to seek contact and then still finish through it. Whether the shot is a layup or a jumper, Warren has the strength to finish through contact, though I would like to see him get the call more often but that will come with pro-level savvy. Despite all the scoring he attempted no three points, highlighting his hesitance to shoot from long range.

On defense Warren showed length and range to get into the passing lanes, creating issues for the opposing wings. He also showed the strength to not get moved out of the way by bigger forwards, something he will have to continue to do if he has hopes of playing any power forward in the league. Warren also sported a ridiculous +19 plus/minus in the first game, showing his impact on both ends.  The next best plus/minus was Miles Plumlee with a +6.

Tyler Ennis

Stats against Golden State:  7 pts (3-7 FG, 0-0 3pt), 4 rbs, 1 ast, 3 stls

Stats against Milwaukee Bucks:  7pts (3-8 FG, 0-1 3pt), 3rb, 4 asts

Ennis looked much the part of the raw point guard that he figures to be this season. At times he made the appropriate pass, at others he disappeared. On the plus side, disappearing is better than forcing and having a high number of turnovers, as Ennis only had one in his first two games. He seems to be warming up to the increased competition, as he has played more maturely in each game, even making some clutch plays down the stretch to help lead the Suns to a comeback against the Bucks.

Miles Plumlee

Stats against Golden State:  3 pts (0-7 FG, 0-0 3pt), 9 rbs, 2 stl, 1blk

Stats against Milwaukee Bucks:  4pts (3-10 FG, 0-0 3pt), 12 rbs, 2 blks

The former Duke product Plumlee, in these two games, did exactly what he did for the Suns last season, rebound and defend. His inability to score more against Summer League players than he did against NBA players is a bit worrisome, but likely has something to do with the Summer League style. Plumlee looked almost lazy rebounding the ball, dominating smaller players and even recorded a block against Bucks phenom and fellow Blue Devil Jabari Parker. Look for Plumlee to start scoring at a better rate and continue to rebound and defend well in the coming games.

Archie Goodwin

Stats against Golden State:  17 pts (6-10 FG, 0-1 3pt), 1 stl

Stats against Milwaukee Bucks:  17 pts (6-15 FG, 1-2 3pt), 3 rbs, 2 asts, 3 stls

Goodwin has struggled to find a position in the league, is he a shoot-first point guard or an undersized shooting guard? It appears as if that isn’t going to matter as much as he is beginning to look like the perfect instant offense combo guard off the bench. He can pass and distribute, but that is just a waste of what he truly does well: score. Look for Goodwin to do for NBA teams what he has done for the Summer League team so far- score buckets when scoring is most needed.  If he can develop a solid outside shot, Goodwin could be a poor-man’s Monta Ellis type.

Seth Curry

Stats against Golden State:  6 pts (3-9 FG, 0-1 3pt), 1 rb, 1 stl

Stats against Milwaukee Bucks:  26pts (7-9 FG, 5-7 3pt), 1rb, 2 asts, 2 stls

It was only a matter of time until Curry found his shot and showed what he can bring to an NBA team. Even in college Curry was the type of player who wouldn’t kill you every night, but if his shot is falling, he will kill you THAT night. After a quiet first game Curry exploded for 26 pts scored on the back of some tough three pointers. He, like Goodwin, lacks a real position, but can fill that void as the scoring combo guard that most NBA teams like on their second unit. Curry plays the right way, plays hard, can score inside and out, and will find a place in the league if he keeps that up.

About James E. McNeill Jr.

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