EMPIRE OF THE SUNS
Olivier Sarr impresses, Summer Suns bounce back against Mavericks
It has been a tale of two teams in Las Vegas for the Phoenix Suns’ Summer League squad. After a decisive win on Friday was followed up by a rough loss on Sunday, Phoenix relocated what worked from the opening victory and used that to rout the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, 105-78.
Just like Friday, Phoenix played through its defense, and those stops let them play at the high pace it wants. The Suns’ intent floored the Mavericks, who quickly found themselves down by 17 points just 30 seconds into the second quarter and it got worse from there.
There were some strong individual performances but it was really more about everyone in the purple and orange competing the way we’ve come to expect. Guys like Louis King, Ish Wainright and McKinley Wright IV, some of the expected top players on the team, have been right alongside everyone else on the team in grinding through possessions on both ends of the floor.
With Sunday’s outlier in mind, even at a lower level like Summer League, you can still see that signature brand of “Suns basketball” being played and the fact that Phoenix has established that continues to be a big takeaway.
King had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Wright added 11 points and five rebounds.
The standout through three games has been 23-year-old big man Olivier Sarr. He produced 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in just 13 minutes on Tuesday.
Sarr was a four-year player in college who spent his last season at Kentucky before going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft and taking the G League route after the Oklahoma City Thunder waived him in mid-October. Sarr went on to earn some 10-day contracts from OKC before a two-way contract and averaged 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game across 22 appearances.
Sarr’s a long seven footer that moves well, and at a listed 240 pounds is going to be able to hold his ground some on the interior. His presence as a diver and rim protector has really popped, areas where you can even see lots of room for improvement with an inexperienced player that could be a full step or two in position more consistently.
And then there’s Sarr’s 3-point shot, one that converted at a 13-of-29 (44.8%) clip in those 22 games.
Sarr shot 13-29 from deep with the Thunder (45%), gradually attempting more as the season went on. Also shot 12-27 his final year at Kentucky, so not much volume but clearly some potential.
Lots of arc on that shot for a 7-footer pic.twitter.com/6Ty5MVgSP7
— Sam Cooper (@scooperhoops) July 8, 2022
The tools are there for Sarr to become a productive NBA big. Phoenix has not used either of its two-way contracts and Sarr has shown enough to earn some serious consideration.
Phoenix will be off until Friday when it faces the Sacramento Kings at 5 p.m.