Four games in and now three games down in Las Vegas during the Summer League for the Phoenix Suns as they try to integrate some of their new pieces. This time around it was a foray against the D-League Select Team that provides more proven athletes and experienced professionals.
That element was the determining factor in this game where the D-Leaguers held a commanding double-digit lead throughout the game.
In this type of environment you see players looking for a roster spot in the big leagues as they go hard after lottery picks like Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall. That is exactly what they did from the opening tip to the end.
Leo Lyons -- former Missouri big man -- went right at Morris every time he caught the ball. That attacking style put the Suns on their heels as he scored in bunches in the first quarter. Lyons play rubbed off on his teammates as Andre Emmett (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Chris Daniels (20 points and 8 rebounds) took the reins in the second and third quarters to expand the lead.
"He is a good player," said Daniels about Morris. "He is young, talks a lot of trash" With the mentality of just relentlessly attacking you make a name for yourself, "I am not trying to make friends out here I am trying to make a team," said Daniels after the game.
In the end the Suns (1-3) dropped their third game in a row as the D-League Select Team (2-2) won 89-75 in a route.
Yes, that is not a typo - 75 points total for the Suns.
With two pure, playmaking point guards on the roster the team has really struggled to score. The lack of pure shooters doesn't help matters either especially when the lone inside presence is floating around the perimeter like a guard.
Part of the lack of scoring was due to the D-Leaguers effort on defense. Take nothing from those guys as they won this game by earning everything they got. One nice highlight of the game came from point guard Jeremy Wise as he chased down a fast break layup LeBron James style for a block. All 6-2 inches of Wise was needed for that rejection.
This summer was supposed to be an opportunity to for Morris to play in the paint and develop interior moves. Last season he spent the year spreading the floor with his shot, but that cannot be his indelible trait on a team trying to make the playoffs. Morris finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds, more importantly with a third straight game shooting under 40% from the field.
His perimeter counterpoint Marshall played well when the game sped up, but overall was not very impressive finishing with 10 points 6 assists and 3 steals. He was more aggressive in an efficient manner looking for his shot in this loss. In the previous game it seemed like he shot to appease his coaches whereas in this game the shots were more strategic.
The flow of a game is a direct effect of the point guard on leading the show. In terms of flow there was none tonight. The team ran in spots, settled in to the half court in others, and played street ball the rest of the time. Marshall looked comfortable when the Suns had shooters spread out in the corners for him to attack and create for, but that is hard to do with no elite shooters on the roster.
Summer League comes to an end for the Suns as they face their last opponent in the Memphis Grizzlies just 24 hours after this affair. Thunder Dan (Majerle) might consider suiting up to create some offensive balance for this team to salvage a second win.