In reserving a summer league roster spot for Arinze Onuaku, the Suns weren’t taking a risk on the unknown. General Manager Ryan McDonough had already seen him before.
More importantly, McDonough liked what he saw.
When I was in Boston working for the Celtics, we needed a big and we brought him in for a workout right before Christmas,” McDonough said. “He did a very good job. He almost made the team… he was very impressive in the workout and in the D-League season.”
A subpar first half, complete with less than 30-percent shooting, could have set a depressing tone for Phoenix at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Instead the Suns regrouped at halftime behind a familiar duo in Markieff and Marcus Morris. The Suns veteran twin combo wasn’t alone, getting plenty of help from rookies and D-League prospects alike as Phoenix ran away with an 82-69 win over Portland on Saturday.
Forget the idea that the summer league gets players ready for the regular season. Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek spent the past week preparing his team for the summer league, making the team’s trip to Vegas a test of basketball I.Q. as much as on-court skills.
Lon Babby was effusive. Ryan McDonough was pleased. Jeff Hornacek was eager. Eric Bledsoe was determined. Caron Butler was professional and funny at the same time.
Yes, the press conference reactions were different for everyone who played a part in the Suns’ trade that landed Bledsoe and Butler in Phoenix, but they all agreed on one thing.
Everyone got what they wanted, especially the Suns’ organization.