Reynolds showed a nice ability to run the show.
(Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
I’ve taken in a week of the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League and after consulting with various members of esteemed front offices, life-long scouts and other basketball dignitaries, and I feel quite comfortable in ignoring all of their insight and offering my own analysis to you instead. So without further ado, here’s the team’s report card for the week:
Taylor Griffin: When the Suns drafted Griffin out of Oklahoma, they knew he was a power forward, but were hoping that his incredible athleticism would allow him to adjust to becoming a perimeter player. Griffin, who is such a physical force that Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops tried to recruit him to his football team, seemed much more comfortable playing around the basket then he did from the outside. Griffin never scored more than seven points in a game this week, shooting 7-of-30 from the field for the entire summer league.
Gani Lawal: The Suns’ second-round pick out of Georgia Tech was only the Suns’ leading scorer, rebounder, shotblocker, while also shooting 50 percent from the floor during the entire summer league. One talent evaluator remarked that he can’t shoot a lick, but that it didn’t matter, because “he doesn’t need it anyway.” Lawal was all over the court this week, playing with boundless energy. Suns fans will see a lot of Louis Amundson in Lawal’s game. I’ve already praised him enough in this article.
Earl Clark: The Suns’ 2009 first-round draft pick started slowly this week, but picked up his play as the week continued, culminating in a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) in his final game of summer league. Clark saw more time at the small forward than the power forward this week, but never had that “wow” game we were all expecting to see after catching glimpses in practice last season. His numbers of 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds were solid, but his 35 percent shooting left a lot on the table.
Matt Janning: The undrafted rookie out of Northeastern has apparently become a fan favorite, because I keep receiving non-stop e-mails about him throughout the day. The coaching staff has been impressed with Janning’s basketball IQ and range. After a slow start, Janning exploded against the Cavs, shooting 9-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-3 from downtown to finish with 22 points. No Suns player totaled more than that output in a game the entire week. As well as Janning played offensively, he struggled at times on the defensive end against more physical players. Janning was one of Majerle’s two favorite players for the week.
Zabian Dowdell: Of all the Suns players, no one seemed more at ease at finding his own shot than Dowdell. The lefty playmaker from Virginia Tech is a true shoot-first point guard who averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 assists for the week. With Scottie Reynolds earning more playing time as the week wore on, Dowdell’s production dipped a bit. But after a solid showing for the second consecutive year in Las Vegas, Dowdell should generate interest from an NBA or European club looking to invite him into camp.
Scottie Reynolds: After missing the first two games of summer league because of a strained Achilles, Reynolds displayed unquestionable grit in coming back to play in summer league. Keep in mind that every team was here scouting and the last thing a rookie wants to do is to have a poor performance and cry injury afterwards. Reynolds, who wasn’t supposed to play in summer league, was the difference in the Suns’ first win of summer league, connecting on 4-of-6 shots from the floor, 2-of-2 from three-point land and 6-of-6 from the free throw line to score 16 points. The Villanova All-American followed that up by registering nine assists in 24 minutes the next game against the Cavs. His basketball acumen, ability to manage a game and solid shooting could make him a valuable asset on an NBA roster.
Shaun Pruitt, Marcus Johnson, Gavin Edwards and Lawrence Hill were all players that were in the Suns’ rotation throughout the week. All of them showed strengths and abilities that could prove helpful on an NBA roster, but they also have weaknesses that scouts and coaches would like to see them improve upon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to see enough of Anton Ponkrashov, who played for the Russian National Team, or Ryan Toolson, a prolific college scorer that grew up in Gilbert, to make a judgment on either one of them.
Dwayne Collins, the Suns’ other second-round pick out of Miami, missed summer league with an injured knee. “Mr. Irrelevant” was the best interview at summer league, sporting Mickey Mouse sneakers at one point. Known as “Manster” for being half-man, half-monster, we eagerly look forward to watching him work out this summer.
Final Note: The Suns shot just 40 percent, including 2-of-10 from behind the arc as they dropped an 86-76 decision to the Warriors. Zabian Dowdell shot 7-of-10 to total 18 points and five assists, while Earl Clark added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gani Lawal collected 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Suns, who finished summer league 1-4.