The Phoenix Suns are coming off a very disappointing season, while posting not only a franchise worst 21-61 record they also finished dead last in the NBA standings. The Suns have potentially rebounded since this horrific season by drafting former Arizona Wildcat Deandre Ayton and signing former NBA champion Trevor Ariza. Although, the Suns go into the Summer with a very young core of players, the future looks very bright in the desert. This year’s edition of the Summer Suns featured number one overall selection Deandre Ayton, all-rookie 2nd-team selection Josh Jackson, and third year player Dragon Bender. This Summer is an important one for the Phoenix Suns as they must show they are progressing or this might be the end of Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. All in all, these are my 3 biggest takeaways from the Summer Suns.
1) Deandre Ayton will not bust in the NBA:
- The Abilities that Suns Rookie Deandre Ayton showcased in Vegas were jaw dropping. During his stint in Las Vegas he posted a stat line of 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1 block per game. Throughout the Summer League it was clear that opposing teams had game planned to limit Ayton as much as they could. However, after a bit of a slow start in every game, Ayton would soon figure out his way around the opposing teams game plan and finish strong. Deandre Ayton is barley scratching the surface of his ability to be great, with more coaching and experience we could be watching a potential All-Star in this league.
2) Josh Jackson is the missing piece:
- I was always a big supporter in playing Suns Forward Josh Jackson in the Summer League. His development is – in my eyes – is the most important key to the next great Phoenix Suns team. Throughout the Summer League it seemed as if the coaching staff took the training wheels off Josh Jackson. They allowed him to shoot the ball freely and play a much looser style of basketball, as well as be the leader of the team. Jackson needs to continue to progress and be the sidekick to Suns Shooting Guard Devin Booker. If this isn’t accomplished then the Suns rebuild will take longer than expected.
3) It’s Time to Move on From Dragon Bender:
- I was never a fan of the drafting of Suns Center Dragon Bender. Unfortunately, it seems as if I might be correct. Bender has shown little to no signs of improving. In 22 minutes per game in the Summer League Benders averages were 6.2 points on 37 percent shooting to go with 5.2 rebounds. As a Suns fan it’s time to cut Bender while he still has trade value. Sometimes the hardest part as a General Manager is admitting you got the pick wrong. However, It’s clear that the Suns need to try the addition by subtraction method with Bender. It’s time to let go.
The Summer Suns showed a ton of progress and gave us glimpses of what could be in the coming future. Although, for now we might still have to deal with some growing pains as fans until then, the future is bright in the desert.
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