Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Summer League Rosters: Phoenix Suns

Earl Clark

Clark's rookie year was not great, due in no small part to a lack of opportunities. He averaged only 2.7 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, shooting 37% with an 8.5 PER, and not always playing the quality defense for which he (should) be known. The departure of Amare Stoudemire should in theory have gotten him more playing time; however, the acquisitions of Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu, plus the retention of Grant Hill and Jared Dudley, and the possible re-signing of Louis Amundson, seem to have snuffed that out again. Where Clark's minutes will come from next year is once again unclear.

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really do not like the Turkoglu acquisition.

Dwayne Collins

As a third stringer slightly undersized centre in an up-tempo system, Collins should do quite well. Regardless of his lack of size, Collins goes and gets rebounds; regardless of the tempo you play it, you need rebounds. Collins's offense at this point is pretty much only the finishing of easy ones, but Steve Nash is his point guard now. Easy ones will be there.

Zabian Dowdell

The Suns were going to bring in Dowdell for training camp last year, were it not for an injury that Dowdell suffered before it started. The injury kept him on the shelf until mid-December, when he returned to play with the D-League's Tulsa 66ers and averaged 12.9 points/3.7 assists. Dowdell then moved to Euroleague calibre team Unicaja Malaga, but struggled mightily over there. In 21 ACB games, Dowdell averaged only 6.4 points and 1.7 assists per game, shooting only 36% from the field and 24% from three point range. Dowdell is best defensively and usually a better shooter than that, yet it's worrying numbers in Dowdell's highest standard of play to date.

Gavin Edwards

Gavin Edwards could have been drafted, but now that he wasn't, the Suns are a reasonable place for him to play in summer league. Despite being a 6'9 centre without great athleticism, Edwards is forever running the court, and is a very good shot blocker. He does not rebound well enough, particularly defensively; it would be easy to cite this as being the occupational hazard of a shot blocker, and that does factor, but Edwards also doesn't try to get them. He's also not a particularly well defined offensive player, capable of finishing around the basket and hitting his foul shots, but without much of a jumpshot, ability to create, or finish against athleticism. He's a solid all around player, however, who might have made the roster were Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins not also here.

Taylor Griffin

The only thing Taylor Griffin did in his rookie year was go bald.

Griffin played only 32 NBA minutes in his rookie year, alongside 12 games on assignment in the D-League. Down there, he averaged 28.8 minutes, 9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game, shooting 44% from the field and 24% from three point range. Griffin has the makings of a good Shane Battier-esque little things type of player, but just making it to the roster next year would be an achievement. He's not a scorer, nor can he dribble.

Lawrence Hill

Hill is a former Stanford forward who played for the Warriors in summer league last year, and who hates it when white people buy his albums. He's a not especially athletic but fairly polished 6'8 scoring power forward, with something of an inside/outside offensive game, but who doesn't rebound or defend well. In his first professional season in Mexico's LNBP, Hill averaged 15.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 57 games for Halcones Rojos de Veracruz, winning the LNBP regular season title and making it through to the finals, where they lost to Dontae Jones's Halcones Xalapa.

Matt Janning

Janning was covered in the Celtics summer league roster round-up from earlier. In two games for the Celtics team, Janning averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds, reportedly earning a training camp invite in the process. Did not see that coming.

Brandon Johnson

Johnson is a 6'0 scoring guard with an ordinary jumpshot, no half-court point guard abilities, and a recently torn Achilles tendon. He is a good scorer, and San Diego's all time leader in that regard, but 14.0ppg in the WCC is probably not getting it done. There's a player below with a similar skill set, body type, and far more pedigree in his history.

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson is a 6'6 USC swingman noted most in his college days for his dunking ability. The fifth year senior is plenty athletic enough, and capable of playing extremely good perimeter defense. Unfortunately, he never learned how to score; last year he averaged 9.6ppg and 4.6rpg, but shot only 39% from the field, 28% from three point range, and turned it over 3 times per game. For all his athleticism and gambling defense, Johnson can't dribble or shoot, which is problematic in a guard. But if someone falls in love with him like Mike Woodson did with Mario West - that is to say, very very very much - then Johnson has a chance.

Gani Lawal

The Suns second rounder from last month should have a good chance to make the team, even with the addition of Hakim Warrick. Incidentally, even though Hakim is one of the most accurate like-for-like replacements for Amare Stoudemire that this league has, 4 years and $18 million is about 2 years and $12 million too much. For all his faults, Amare was the considerably better defensive player and rebounder. And that doesn't even include his offense, which was about 65 million times better. It's not a bad signing, but it's not a good price.

Anton Ponkrashov

Ponkrashov is a member of the CSKA Moscow team that has made the Euroleague Final Four for a whopping 8 years in a row. He is a 6'7 point guard, and a genuine one at that, with good passing vision and ball handling skills, although he can't defend or shoot. Last year, as the third stringer backing up Zoran Planinic and J.R. Holden, the Ponkster averaged 4.4 points and 1.7 assists per game; with Planinic leaving and Holden aging, maybe Ponkrashov will get a bigger role next year. Either way, he's not NBA material.

Shaun Pruitt

Illinois graduate was briefly in the NBA last year when he signed with the Warriors for training camp. He didn't make the team, however, and therefore went to Greece to play for Peristeri. But Pruitt appeared in only 2 games and 24 minutes with the team before they released him in favour of Gary Wilkinson, unsatisfied with Pruitt's performance. (Can't see how 24 minutes was enough to really asses his performance, but that's the Greek way sometimes.) Pruitt then signed early for the Puerto Rican season, and averaged 18.8 points and a league leading 13.4 rebounds per game, six of which were offensive. He had only 17 assists all year and shot 39% from the foul line, so he's still prone to Shaun Pruitt-like moments, but those rebounding numbers don't lie and are not to be sniffed at. (Also in that BSN season, Pruitt managed to get released for disciplinary reasons, although he returned a month later.)

Pruitt is a big old boy who can clearly rebound. However, he's not a very good scorer. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if he didn't constantly try to score.

Scottie Reynolds

There once was a time when having a four year career of Reynolds's calibre at a school of Villanova's calibre meant a guaranteed draft spot. Not any more, though. Reynolds's strength is as a shooter; he can shoot off the dribble or get open without the ball, and he gives forth good effort defensively. However, he's too short and slender to really do much on that end, and his point guard and ball handling skills do not advance much beyond the basic. Germany and France are tailor-made for Reynolds's game, but the NBA is a long shot. (Admittedly, Reynolds likes to take long shots.)

Oh and no, Corey Fisher didn't knock up his woman. What you experienced there was a rumour. A slanderous one at that.

Ryan Toolson

Toolson went undrafted out of Utah Valley State in 2009, but not after drawing NBA looks. In what might become a worrying foreshadowing of the as-yet-untold Jimmer Fredette NBA story, Toolson scored an incredibly efficient 23.8 points per game (46% FG/39% 3PT/92% FT), but did not get drafted or signed due to his unathletic 6'4 frame and lack of other contributions.

After missing out on the NBA, Toolson went to Turkey to play for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir, where he averaged 16.7 more points per game. He shot 48% from two point range, 41% from 3 point range, and 93% from the foul line. He has already agreed to sign for Benetton Treviso in Italy next year, where he will replace former USC guard Daniel Hackett, who didn't do too well.

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