Morris, Marshall take first step towards next season
July 23, 2012: Summer Suns review
Wins are secondary when it comes to the Las Vegas Summer League.
Yes, teams want to win but what they want even more is to see their young talent on the floor show some promise, some flashes of brilliance that validates that team's decision to bring them on board.
The Suns saw both promise and brilliance in last year's first round pick, Markieff Morris and this year's top pick, Kendall Marshall.
Morris led the Suns summer league team in points (19.8) and rebounds (9.8) playing almost 31 minutes a game.
"I told him I wanted him to be my leader," Suns assistant and summer league head coach Dan Majerle said. "I was going to go to him a lot."
Last year because of the lockout, Morris did not play in the summer league. He more than made up for it this year with three 20-point performances and a pair of double-doubles.
"From the first game on he was real agressive, rebounded the ball well, was great in the post, made smart plays as far as passing and played extremely hard the whole time he was there," Marjerle said.
"I think he got a lot of confidence from going there and playing. He's worked hard. It's going to be a big step for him this year."
Marshall, meanwhile, joined the party late having to sit out game one because his contract had not yet been finalized.
Once he did suit up he was slow out of the gates. "I think he was real nervous the first game," Majerle said of Marshall's 0 points (0-1 FG), 5 assists, 5 turnovers against Cleveland.
Majerle afterwords told Marshall to look for his shot more. The former North Carolina point guard did but struggled hitting only 5 of 24 attempts in the next two games.
"They were just going underneath the screens," Majerle said describing teams' defense against Marshall.
"He's not going to gain any respect from anybody until he starts shooting those wide open jumpers. For him to get everybody else involved he's got to be more offensive minded because people are going to just sag off him and not help."
Marshall showed more aggressiveness in the Suns final game against Memphis, scoring 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Suns say they will work with Marshall on his shot this summer.
However, they didn't draft him with the 13th overall pick for his shooting. They drafted him because of his decision making and court vision. Marshall proved that point averaging 6.5 assists in his four games, including a 10-assist, 3-turnover performance in the last game.
As far as the rest of the Suns summer league players, Majerle said PJ Tucker "stood out the most" with his 6.2 rebound average. Tucker was a 2006 second round draft pick by Toronto after a standout college career at Texas. He's played the last five seasons overseas.
"He's just one of those pit bulls where you just put him out there," Majerle said. "He's just one of those glue guys that's going to guard everybody and do all the little things that help you win."
Marcus Landry, David Lighty and DeShawn Sims also played well according to Majerle.