Best of the Summer Suns: Devin Booker woofs, Marquese Chriss spins

Jul 11, 2016, 4:37 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2016, 11:28 am
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 109-100. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

The Suns’ Summer League squad is rolling behind a brash arrogance from the usually smiley Devin Booker.

Through two games, Booker has been a bit mean to the Blazers’ Luis Montero and followed that up with a block and more not-safe-for-work words for the Celtics’ R.J. Hunter, who called Booker a “woofer.”

Heck, the Suns even got in a scuffle with Portland.

Phoenix is playing with purpose and attitude with the hope it carries over into the regular season.

What other key plays have we liked about Phoenix’s visit to Las Vegas so far?

Booker’s intensity

The smack-talking has hinted at it but Booker is letting his play back up the talking. He’s dropped 52 points against Portland and Boston but has also been dishing the ball with 13 assists in two outings. More importantly, he’s playing with a new physicality on defense.

Yes, Hunter ripped Booker to set up this play, but Booker’s chase-down block is a good bit of evidence the 19-year-old shooting guard is trying to set a tone for his new teammates.

Chriss’ energy

Forward Marquese Chriss is considered the most raw prospect on the Summer League roster. But the reason he was in consideration for a top-5 selection in the draft has been evident.

Exhibit A: That spin move.

Exhibit B: That putback.

But most importantly, there have already been strides when it comes to his activity level.

Chriss is still finding himself out of position, biting on pump-fakes and taking jumpers with defenders flying his way. But his second outing, a 15-point, 14-rebound performance against the Celtics on Sunday, provided hope that he can make an impact from an energy standpoint alone.

Ulis is as-advertised

Point guard Tyler Ulis has arguably been the steadiest Suns player, though center Alan Williams’ two double-doubles and Booker’s explosive scoring challenge him for that title so far.

Ulis owns a 12-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in two games, and more promising is that he’s collected nine steals. The 5-foot-9 point guard has outplayed three NBA-caliber athletes — Portland speed-burners Pierre Jackson and Russ Smith, along with Boston point guard Demetrius Jackson, who is billed as an athletic defensive specialist.


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Best of the Summer Suns: Devin Booker woofs, Marquese Chriss spins