Summer League 2016: Get To Know Your Summer Suns
With the 2016 NBA Draft in the rear view mirror, and the madness of free agency upon us, it’s time to relax with some good old summer basketball. Before the Suns start tearing it up in Vegas on July 8, you, the fans, should get a little background information on who will be representing the organisation. There’ll be some names you’ll know, and some that may be new to you, but we’ll be cheering them all on for the chance to hoist the
Larry O’Brien Summer League Trophy.
Dragan Bender: Power Forward, Israel, 18 years old.
If you’re a Suns fan, be prepared to become very familiar with this man. The young Croatian was the number four pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and has some hefty expectations on him. A lean forward, look for Bender to do some real damage both stretching the floor with the three-point shot, and getting out on the break in transition. It will be exciting to finally see Bender, who has been playing overseas, step on the Summer League court in a Suns uniform.
Askia Booker: Shooting Guard, Colorado, 22 years old.
Fear not Suns fans, for you wont have to watch a minute on Summer League without a shooting guard named ‘Booker’ on the court. Askia Booker went undrafted out of Colorado in last years draft, and spent this year with the Sun’s D-League affiliate team, the Bakersfield Jam. Coming off the bench, Booker put up around 13 points per game, whist providing good vision in finding his teammates. Not much of a range shooter, look for Aiska on cuts to the basket for lobs and dunks.
Devin Booker: Shooting Guard, Kentucky, 19 years old.
Now for the more familiar Booker, Devin. Suns fans got a front row seat (literally) to see how good Booker was in his rookie season. He looked comfortable with his jumpshot, showed some ability to handle the ball, and was okay on defence. His efforts earned him a spot on the NBA All Rookie First Team, and locked him into elite company with Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant as the fourth youngest player to ever score 1000 points in the NBA. Look for Devin to do a lot more ball handling, as he looks to expand his game.
Alec Brown: Centre, Green Bay, 23 years old.
A 2014 second round pick by the Suns, Alec Brown spent this year playing both for the Bakersfield Jam, and over in Spain for Rio Natura Monbus Obradorio. A paint clogging presence, Brown will look to add some toughness to the Suns front line. At seven foot one inch, look for the Suns to experiment with some very large lineups with both Brown and Bender on the court.
Michael Bryson: Shooting Guard, UCSB, 21 years old.
A sweet shooting guard, Bryson will look to add some floor spacing and scoring on the wing when Devin Booker goes to the bench. After going undrafted after four years at the University of California, Santa Barbra, Bryson has his eyes on an NBA contract, so look for maximum effort coming from him. Watch for Bryson to heat up from behind the arch, and look to repeat his nine three pointer performance he achieved for the Gauchos this season.
Marquese Chriss: Power Forward, Washington, 19 years old.
The Sun’s second pick of the 2016 Draft, Marquese Chriss is a high-flying, super athletic bigman from Washington, who all Suns fans should be excited about. This will be an opportunity for Chriss is show off his wide ranging skill set, and also prove that he can play without fouling. Watch for the possibility of Chriss and Bender on the court together, which should be super exciting for Suns fans looking toward a hopefully bright future for the two rookies.
Derek Cooke Jr: Power Forward, Wyoming, 24 years old.
Another Bakersfield Jam player, Derek Cooke Jr will ensure that there is no lack in athleticism when Marquese Chriss exits the game. A strong, athletic forward with a tendency to hammer down some monsterous putback dunks, Cooke Jr will be looking to show teams that he could contribute as a role player in this coming season. However, with no outside shot, and poor free-throw shooting, look for Cooke Jr to do this with hustle and intensity.
Kyle Kuric: Shooting Guard, Louisville, 26 years old.
A truly amazing story, Kuric, a former Louisville guard and current Spanish League player, suffered a brain tumour in the middle of the 2015-16 season. Miraculously, after three operations, Kuric survived, and has been given an invitation to play for the Suns in Summer League. A sweet shooting, athletic guard, look for Kuric to bolster the Sun’s backcourt rotation.
Shannon Scott: Point Gaurd, Ohio State, 23 years old.
After playing out the majority of the season as the starting point guard for the Toronto 905, Shannon Scott will be looking to showcase his court vision for the Suns in the Summer League. A terrific passer, capable shooter, and lockdown perimeter defender, Scott looks to be a great fit on this team. Surrounded by athletic bigmen to throw lobs to, and knock-down shooting wings to space the floor, Scott will be licking his lips at this opportunity.
Richard Solomon: Power Forward, California, 24 years old.
After going undrafted in 2014, Solomon spent the year with OKC’s D-League affilate, and this most recent season spent the year with Toyota Alvark in Japan. Solomon adds to the big (six foot ten inches) and athletic forwards on this team. Expect lots of lobs, and lots of dunks in this years summer league for the Suns. Solomon flirted with an outside jumpshot this year in Japan, but didn’t show much consistency on it (17.8 percent 3 point shooter).
Tyler Ulis: Point Guard, Kentucky, 20 years old.
The Sun’s final pick in the draft, point guard and best buddy to Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis looks to be another Kentucky guard with big plans for the NBA. He is very undersized, however his skill is undeniable. Fantastic court vision, a strong outside shot, and lightning quick, Ulis is going to look like a blur out on the court. The SEC Player Of The Year will look to hush doubters, and show all the teams that passed on him that they’ve made a huge mistake.
Alan Williams: Centre, UCSB, 23 years old.
Alan “Big Sauce” Williams is one of only two players the Suns are bringing to Summer League with any NBA experience. The bigman was dominant in last years Summer League for the Rockets, mainly because he is just huge. He is going to use his massive frame to carve out space under the basket for rebounds and putbacks. Opposing guards better also keep their eyes out, as running into a Williams screen may leave you out for the count. A fan favourite, he will look to be a steadying force off the bench.
Troy Williams: Small Forward, Indiana, 21 years old.
The only true small forward on the team, Williams is a long, athletic wing who can often be seen hanging from the ring. His dunks have been a mainstay at Indiana the past three years, Williams will look to turn some heads this year in Vegas. He is a capable defender, and has shown glimpses of an outside shot.
With all of this shooting and athleticism, I for one could not be more excited for Vegas. Make sure you tune in July 9 at 1:00pm to watch your Suns take on the Trailblazers.
What do you guys think of our team? How are our chances at winning it all? Who’s going to be the standout performer? Let me know in the comments below.