COMMENTARY | The Las Vegas Summer League is an opportunity for rookies to get their feet wet, young rotation guys to get more work in, and guys who wouldn't normally get a chance on an NBA team to make an impression. It's a valuable tool for evaluators and players alike, as they can have real competition instead of the same old practice structure.
What have we learned about the Phoenix Suns thus far?
Kendall Marshall's Improved Play
It's been made public that Kendall Marshall is on the trading block. Luckily, for the Suns, he's playing quite well right now. The big knock on Marshall (aside from his lack of athleticism) has been his shooting. All Marshall has done is put up a phenomenal shooting line of .533/.571/.857 through three games.
It's great for both parties because the Suns would love to unload Marshall, and, obviously, Marshall wants to find a place where he can play more minutes. With Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and possibly Archie Goodwin ahead of him on the depth chart, Marshall has become the odd man out.
Everyone knows Marshall stunk up the joint in his rookie season. However, the Suns can parlay this terrific start by Marshall into a trade that could net some assets, which is something general manager Ryan McDonough is known for.
Archie Goodwin vs. Consistency
With any young player, the team has to be prepared to take the good with the bad. Goodwin scored 13 points in his debut against the Portland Trail Blazers, before putting up a rotten two-point effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Then, Goodwin broke through against the Memphis Grizzlies, scoring 22 points in 26 minutes. His ability to pick up points at the free-throw line (7-for-11) will be a major help for a team that finished No. 28 in the NBA in free-throw attempts in 2012-13.
It's undoubtedly going to be a roller coaster of a season for Goodwin, but he's showing signs of greatness already. Trust in head coach Jeff Hornacek and the rest of the staff that they will preach consistent focus with Goodwin, which will surely result in more consistent production.
Suns Are World Beaters
Heading into tournament play, the Suns are 3-0 and haven't scored less than 82 points in a game. They're shooting 46.3 percent as a team and are much improved from the 3-point line, where they're making 38.9 percent of their attempts.
Here's where the mirage comes into play.
The reason the Suns are faring so well in the league is because they're trotting out more NBA players than their counterparts. The Morris twins, P.J. Tucker and Marshall played big minutes in the NBA last season. They're expected to have major advantages over players who can't quite make the league.
So, take the Suns performance as a team lightly. It's great that they're playing well, but consider the competition. That 3-0 start looks terrific, but it's a mirage. Don't forget that the Charlotte Bobcats looked tremendous in last year's league and we all know how that turned out.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded , HoopsHabit.com.
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