COMMENTARY | The Phoenix Suns finished their run at the Las Vegas Summer League championship with a 91-77 loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. The Suns finished the league with a sparkling 6-1 record and learned quite a bit about themselves.
Let's take a look at five things we learned about the Suns during their time in Sin City:
The Offense Has No Speed Limit
New head coach Jeff Hornacek has said from the start that the Suns are going to push the ball. These might not be your seven-seconds-or-less Suns, but this year's version will score. The Suns averaged 93.2 points per game during the summer session, only dipping below 80 points once (77 in the championship game). When the regular season comes around and Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic are out there, it's going to be full throttle.
Kendall Marshall Is Who We Thought He Was
Before the summer session began, Marshall was looked at as a backup point guard at best. He wasn't a great shooter in 2012-13 and although he showed good vision, he didn't have the discipline to avoid making the too-tough passes that often resulted in turnovers. Summer was the same for Marshall, as he finished with a shooting percentage of just 38.7. He also continued to attempt remarkably difficult passes that more often than not resulted in silly turnovers.
Markieff Morris Could Become A Star
During a five-game stretch in April of 2013, 16.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.2 blocks in 34.4 minutes was the impressive stat line that Morris put up. His shooting line of .534/.650/.875 was certainly inflated, but it showed that Morris had great potential. The summer was kind to Morris, as he continued his streak with averages of 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in just 22.9 minutes per game. He's only 23 years old and a 6-foot-10-inch forward that can shoot will get opportunities to shine in today's NBA.
Archie Goodwin Was A Draft-Day Steal
Goodwin was drafted No. 29 in the 2013 NBA draft and while he's very raw, there's no questioning his ability to score. He showcased a very capable offensive game in Las Vegas, averaging 13.1 points on 50-percent shooting from the field. Perhaps his most impressive feat was getting to the free-throw line 48 times in seven games (6.9 per game). The next closest player (Marcus Morris) got there 34 times. By comparison, the 2012-13 Suns leader in free-throw attempts per game was Dragic with just 4.2.
An Interior Presence Is Needed
Nobody will confuse Marcin Gortat with the elite defenders in the NBA, but he did finish No. 21 in the NBA in 2012-13 in total blocks (98). The Suns blocked 3.3 shots per game during the summer session, which was a far cry from the 5.3 they averaged during the 2012-13 season, albeit with 8 more minutes each game. None of the big men stood out in the paint, and it's become quite obvious that Gortat and Alex Len will be depended on heavily to shore up the paint. That's not good news.
Although the Suns didn't bring home the first Las Vegas championship, they should consider the summer session a success. They got the Morris twins some more confidence, Goodwin showed he could be an elite scorer someday and coach Hornacek got his feet wet. Job well done, men.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded, HoopsHabit.com.Follow @iambabyd13 on Twitter!
- Sports & Recreation
- Phoenix Suns
- Marcus Morris