Warren Shines as Suns Fall to Warriors
Phoenix saw plenty of encouraging growth from its young stash of talent, though the final result wasn't the win they'd hoped for.
The Suns and lost to the Warriors in the closing seconds despite 22 points from T.J. Warren and some clutch play from fellow rookie Tyler Ennis. Golden State's Justin Holiday rebounded an airball from a teammate and completed the putback in the final seconds, ultimately giving the Warriors a 74-72 win.
Archie Goodwin added 17 points for the Suns, who struggled to connect from the perimeter (0-for-11 from downtown).
During an in-game NBA TV cameo, Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek shared his prediction on the future of rookie T.J. Warren.
"I think he's going to be a big-time scorer in this league as the years go on," Hornacek said.
If Day One of the NBA Summer League is any indication, it won't take that long. Warren wasted no time implementing the same skills that saw him average 24.9 points per game at North Carolina State. He leaked out for easy baskets in transition, absorbed contact and scored anyway, and moved without the ball into seams of the defense, where the Suns point guards eventually found him for quick baskets in the paint.
By the time he was done, Warren had scored 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting and added a steal and a block to his totals.
Phoenix trailed by seven at halftime, but their core of young keepers changed the tone of the game with a monstrous third quarter. A Warren and-one put the Suns up by one, then Goodwin took over by scoring a variety of driving layups through contact. He also converted a baseline jumper after losing his defender with a cross-over.
Len also made mark, coming up with multiple stops on defense while showing his increased strength with an offensive board and putback jam.
Summer League head coach Mike Longabardi said lineups featuring both Len and Miles Plumlee would be a possibility, and he stuck to that by starting both of them. It wasn't a brief experiment, either. The duo logged multiple stretches together, and when one subbed out, it was often so 7-foot-1 second-round pick Alec Brown could maintain the twin towers effect.
Len Protects the Paint
Len looked much more comfortable in extended minutes, whether it was hitting Plumlee with a perfect bounce pass in traffic or reading the opposing offense and making the necessary defensive rotations.
He and Plumlee will hope for a better shooting performance on Sunday after combining to go 3-for-14 from the field. Len's mid-range jumper, so consistent in practices and scrimmages, should fall at some point, as should Plumlee's post hooks.