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Suns' Janning, Siler Keeping Roster Spot Status In Perspective

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Matt Janning and Garret Siler realize that making the Suns' final roster is just the start, with plenty of work ahead for the two rookies.

An exhausted Garret Siler dripped sweat, breathing heavily while leaning against the padding under a basket at the Suns' U.S. Airways Center practice court.

The well-traveled big man knows there will be many days where he feels like this after a practice, if he wants to keep his place on an NBA roster.

Siler is a Sun, at least for the time being, after Phoenix trimmed its roster to 14 players this week. It's an accomplishment, he said Thursday after practice, but he feels he still has to stay hungry.

"I still gotta want more. I still can't be satisfied," the 6-foot-11, 305-pound center said. "So I work hard. I just have to keep doing what I gotta do."

Siler, who turns 24 next week, played college ball at Division II Augusta (Ga.) State, then moved on to China to play professionally for the Shanghai Sharks. He got instruction from Houston Rockets center Yao Ming while in China.

"He showed me a lot of moves that he did and a lot of workouts that he did," Siler said. 

Siler is mammoth, but he'll have to develop quickness to run with the up-tempo Suns and be in position for rebounds and putbacks. He took a lot from competing against Robin Lopez and Channing Frye during preseason camp. 

"Training camp, it was tough. They ran us a lot but it just got us ready for the season," Siler said. 

There wasn't much fanfare for Siler, who figured out he was on the team after being told that Dwayne Jones, another big man the Suns had in camp, was released. Siler has since only told a few friends and family members, and was putting in work on a treadmill doing a postgame workout when given news.

"That's the reason why I'm not letting myself get too happy about it," Siler said. "Still gotta work hard."

Same goes for Matt Janning, a rail-thin 6-4 guard out of Northeastern, who (as is normally the case) was one of the last to leave the practice court after a long shootaround session with teammates Goran Dragic and Hedo Turkoglu

Janning leads all rookies and free agent roster candidates in minutes played this preseason, averaging 17.3.  For him, making the team brought some sense of relief, but he understands the reality of his situation.

"It was more on my mind in the weeks leading up to this point, just because you're always playing to earn that spot," the 22-year-old Janning said. "I still want to come in here with that mindset. I haven't accomplished anything yet, so I still gotta come in here every day and play like I'm playing for something. Earn a spot, earn the respect of all these guys."

Janning has to get used to his new role of pushing those ahead of him on the Suns' depth chart to be better players in practice. But he accepts it. 

His own development will include getting stronger, knocking down more open looks and playing better defense. 

When informed he'd made the team, Janning didn't pop any champagne.

"I didn't celebrate at all," he said. "I expected it. It's something I've worked for my whole life leading up to this point. It's not something I'm going say 'Hey, I'm going to celebrate this' and pretend like this is it. I'll celebrate five, six years down the road when I'm winning a championship or something."

Suns head coach Alvin Gentry gave a pretty honest assessment of where Janning and Siler are in their development as NBA players.

"With Garret, I think he's got a lot of potential. He didn't play against a lot of stiff competition but he's got great size and he's made some strides being here the last month... You can't coach size," Gentry said. "Matt is another guy that just kind of had a good run here. He's not ready to be a rotation guy, be an NBA player, but we're banking on the fact that he's going to work hard and get better and get stronger and hopefully become a player."