Goodwin, Reserves Break Out in Win Over Grizzlies

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital

After watching the Suns’ regulars do the heavy lifting through the first two games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Phoenix’s first-round pick Archie Goodwin and the team’s reserves played well enough to give the rest of the starters some well-earned rest.

Goodwin ignited the team from the get-go, scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter as the Suns won 100-88. Between three 3-pointers and repeated attacks at the rim, the Kentucky product with the youngest face in Vegas was nearly unstoppable.

The 18-year-old rookie finished the game with a flourish, throwing down a vicious one-handed slam through a defender’s arm for the and-one play, then hit a 3-pointer from the corner off a drive-and-dish from Diante Garrett.

“I’m getting really comfortable,” Goodwin said. “I know that I’m here to be aggressive and make plays.”

Garrett Leads Execution Effort by Bench Crew

With preparation time at a minimum and a cast of new teammates, Garrett showed a flair for playmaking with the rest of the reserves, who combined to pick apart the Memphis defense.

Garrett continually found teammates left open in set plays, pick-and-rolls and individual forays to the rim. Many of his game-high 12 assists came on drive-and-kicks to shooters like Chris Babb (11 points, 3-of-4 from deep) or dump-offs to backup big man Arinze Onuaku.

“Diante’s got that ability to get in the lane,” Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Once you get in the lane you’ve got to the make the right decisions. I thought he made some good decisions. He had some nice low bounce passes to the bigs for some easy buckets and then a couple kick-outs. That’s what we expect from him when we get into the open court. He’s got to be able to create those things and he did a nice job.”

Onuaku once again dominated the glass, finishing with a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) in just 19 minutes of playing time. Dionte Christmas and Alex Oriakhi added eight points apiece.

Babb Breaks Free From Three

In front of a fellow Iowa State alum in Hornacek, Babb finally got a chance to show another similarity between him and his head coach.

It’s not a good idea to leave them open.

Babb made Memphis pay for that mistake, sinking three 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Suns take the lead for good.

“(Hornacek) told me before the game, ‘knock down shots,’” Babb said. “He wants me to be aggressive. I was a little passive in the first two games, just trying to make the extra pass, play a little too careful.”

Babb’s first two makes came from the right corner, where he found himself alone after drives from the other Suns guards.

The third was an affirmative heat-check, a transition pull-up 3-pointer from the left angle. When Babb rose up for the shot, the entire Phoenix bench rose with him, certain it was going in before the ball swished through.

“They know it’s tough, not making shots and not playing as much,” Babb said of his teammates. “You get that first shot to fall and you see your teammates standing up for you, it’s a great feeling.”