EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Summer Suns wrap up play in Las Vegas with win over Pacers

Jul 17, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: 5:18 pm
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the...
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the Washington Wizards during the 2022 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns basketball came to a close this summer with an 84-69 win in Summer League play over the Indiana Pacers.

This was a rather enjoyable iteration of the Summer Suns to watch. Everyone on the team bought in to what the coaching staff wanted out of them when it came to ball movement, defense and pace. On top of that, it was a supportive group that was amongst the most active on the bench.

There were several contributors too, and Sunday’s performance reflected that.

Louis King led the way with 14 points but had Tyson Carter join him in double figures with a dozen while Ish Wainright and Kameron Taylor each had 11.

All three of Phoenix’s wins in Vegas came via great starts. The Suns led by 12 midway through the first quarter and held a similarly sized advantage the rest of the way.

Summer League head coach Steve Scalzi used just one big for a majority of the game, which allowed him to utilize Ish Wainright as a small-ball 5, a role Wainright was used in last season. It was once again a positive for Phoenix in Las Vegas, as Wainright’s flexibility defensively and some five-out spacing offensively got the Suns playing with the speed they want.

The conclusion of play brings on a review of potential two-way candidates to emerge from Phoenix’s roster. Both of the Suns’ spots are open, and two guys stood out more than everyone else.

We reviewed Wainright on Friday, who could come back again on the same contract. Center Olivier Sarr popped in three games before missing the last two because of a calf strain, per AZCentral’s Duane Rankin.

Outside of those two, guards McKinley Wright IV and Taylor kept making winning plays throughout the 10 days. The scoring and shooting from King is an obvious one but he’s already reached the threshold of three NBA seasons, so he would have to be signed on a standard contract.

Center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., 28, was someone international Suns fans from Australia and New Zealand pegged as a name to watch when the rosters first came out. Lual-Acuil has played for Melbourne United in the National Basketball League (NBL) since 2019, the primary league of that region, where he made First Team All-NBL last season.

He took the place of Sarr in the starting lineup in the Suns’ last two games and showed some real flashes with his NBA length and mobility in Tuesday’s win over the Mavericks.

Lual-Acuil produced eight points, eight rebounds, an assist and two steals on Sunday.

The quickness and decision-making of guards Ahmad Caver and Carter were also a pleasant surprise in the Suns’ second unit.

Phoenix, of course, could look at other Summer League rosters for filling those positions as well. That’s what happened with Wainright when he played for the Toronto Raptors and nearly made their team before getting cut in training camp.

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