Suns Scrimmage 2016: What We Learnt
Basketball is officially back! Teams have entered training camp, and the first preseason games will give fans a look at new contributes to their favourite teams, whilst also providing a good scratch for their NBA itch. The Suns will line up in their first preseason game against long time rivals, the San Antonio Spurs on October 3 at 10:00 pm (ET). Before they take the floor against the Spurs, the Suns had one final hit out against each other to close their training camp in Flagstaff, with a scrimmage at Northern Arizona University. The game finished (spoiler alert, if you haven’t watched it, its an exciting match, clear an hour out of the day to do so) with a 72-72 draw, and provided a great first look into the team. Some surpassed expectations, whilst others fell a little short.
The team was split into two sides, team black and team white. The make up of the teams can be found below.
From the get go, the pace was high, and you could see that every guy on the court was taking this seriously. The two most exciting things to watch were the backcourt battle between Knight and Bledsoe and Booker and Ulis, and the interior intensity between Len and Chandler.
The standout for team black was far and away Tyler Ulis, who continues to impress me every time I see him with the ball in his hands. Paired with best bud Devin Booker, he looked comfortable on both ends of the court, matching up against the much bigger Bledsoe for the majority of the game. He was able to consistently get to his spot and pull up from mid range, and also showed a knack for getting to the rim, and drawing contact. Booker however, did not look as impressive. He showed some good defensive instincts, and was able to finish around the rim well, however, the jumpshot was far from #fire. He hit only one of his six three-point attempts, and couldn’t find the touch from the mid-range. The other three starters, Bender, Chandler, and Dudley, all had okay games. Chandler got up for some nice lobs, however was torched by Alex Len on the other side of the court. Bender was invisible for the first three quarters, but got hot in the fourth, hitting three triples, and swatting away layup attempts left, right, and centre. Barbosa and Goodwin both looked good off the bench, getting to the rim with ease whilst displaying their capable three-point range. Overall, team black looked impressive, however, in my opinion, team white was the better team.
I expected a strong showing from Knight and Bledsoe going into this game, and was really excited to see the two guards healthy and on the court together, however, it was the other three starters that impressed me most upon watching the scrimmage. Chriss, Warren, and Len all won their respective matchups, with the latter two looking at times to be the best players on the court. Warren, who was guarded by Dudley and Bender, showed off his full skill set that helped him be one of the top scorers in college back in 2014 with the NC State Wolfpack. He was able to get to the rim, finish through contact, and shoot efficiently from the mid-range. Len, who has been fairly steady his first three years in the league, looked better than Tyson Chandler. He was able to comfortably step out to 15 feet and knock down jumpers, and controlled the boards whenever he was on the court. Chriss also showed off his jumpshot, and used his other-worldly athleticism to get up for dunks and rebounds. The bench was respectable, Alan Williams did his usual Big Sauce things, and John Jenkins showed some flashes on offence, but nothing to get too excited about. All-in-all, I felt team white was the better team, but had it not been for an Eric Bledsoe buzzer beater, they would have left with the L.
After watching this game, I’m even more pumped to see the start of the season! What did you guys think of the game? Let me know in the comments below