EMPIRE OF THE SUNS
ESPN’s Pelton names a Suns player to watch in NBA Summer League
There are no draft picks to showcase in Las Vegas for the Phoenix Suns’ Summer League squad.
Ish Wainright, who remains a free agent after earning a spot on the playoff roster last season, is the most likely player on the team to make Phoenix’s opening night roster for the 2022-23 season.
But ESPN’s Kevin Pelton has a different player to keep an eye on as Summer League play begins Friday in Sin City against the Los Angeles Lakers.
That would be 23-year-old point guard McKinley Wright IV, who went undrafted last year. Writes Pelton:
In a must-read feature from Kevin Arnovitz before the draft, Suns GM James Jones outlined his philosophy on the limited utility of the draft. In something less than a coincidence, Phoenix has zero draft picks on its summer roster. Ish Wainright is the one returning Suns player on the roster, but there’s an opening for Wright to offer Phoenix depth at point guard after spending last season on a two-way contract with the Timberwolves.
Wright made five brief appearances for Minnesota, but his four-year career at Colorado would bucket him as an experienced youngster that might fit Jones’ blueprint for a young player.
Over four consistent years for the Buffaloes, Wright averaged 14.2 points and 5.2 assists per game. The 6-foot guard shot 47% overall and 33% from three-point land in 131 college games.
As a pro in the G League for the Iowa Wolves, Wright averaged 19.1 points and 7.7 assists to 2.8 turnovers per outing.
He remained efficient, shooting 45% from the field and 34% from three-point range on 5.6 attempts per game, a sign his shot is still improving.
While the Suns at the moment have Cam Payne and Landry Shamet as viable backup point guard options, Shamet mostly played shooting guard last year.
Phoenix lost Aaron Holiday in free agency and appears likely to also see Elfrid Payton off to a new team, making the third point guard spot open for the moment.
With a strong Summer League performance and the team’s roster potentially up for changes as Deandre Ayton’s free agency and Kevin Durant’s trade request loom, Wright could use a strong Summer League just in case a roster spot remains open.
Suns Summer League schedule
Friday, July 8 vs. Lakers, 7 p.m. MST (ESPN2)
Sunday, July 10 vs. Wizards, 2:30 p.m. MST (NBATV)
Tuesday, July 12 vs. Mavs, 7 p.m. MST (ESPN2)
Friday, July 15 vs. Kings, 5 p.m. MST (NBATV)
A fifth and final game is TBD on July 16 or 17