Bucks vs. Suns Preview: Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo take on T.J. Warren and Suns

Streeter Lecka
2014 Las Vegas Summer League
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July 13, 2014
Cox Pavilion | Las Vegas, NV
9:00 CT
NBATV | NBA Summer League Live
Probable Starters
Nate Wolters PG Tyler Ennis
C.J. Williams SG Archie Goodwin
Giannis Antetokounmpo SF T.J. Warren
Jabari Parker PF Elias Harris? Alec Brown?
JaJuan Johnson C Miles Plumlee

Linkage: Bright Side of the Sun | Valley of the Suns

A shaky start not withstanding, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo gave Bucks fans plenty to be encouraged about in Friday's Vegas-opening loss to Andrew Wiggins and the Cavs, and Sunday night they get another chance to strut their stuff against a talented Suns team featuring four first round picks.

Phoenix's group of first rounders won't include 2013 fifth overall pick Alex Len, who broke his finger in Saturday's 74-72 loss to Golden State. ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren scored 22 points on 17 shots while second year guard Archie Goodwin added 17 on 10, as the Suns kept things close despite tallying a mind-boggling 2 assists in 40 minutes of basketball.  Not that tidy basketball is a common sight in Vegas--the Bucks tallied just six dimes vs. 17 turnovers, Some highlights from Bright Side of the Sun:

T.J. Warren was the biggest positive offensively for the Suns. He took whatever the defense gave him and operated from there. Dude can score from all over. Defensively though, the speed and bulk of the Warriors bothered him and he continued to find himself out of position and worked. The offense he showed far outweighs the defensive concerns, but it's still something worth noting that he needs to keep working on.

....

Archie Goodwin was a roller coaster during this one. In the first half, he couldn't figure out what he wanted to do when he got the ball and Aaron Craft was excellent defensively on him for a few possessions. Defensively, Goodwin was lacking the instincts to react to screens or the movement of his man. Then in the second half, he got a couple of buckets in the open floor and then started attacking like he should with two tremendous finishes in the mid third quarter. His decision making amongst a couple of other things still needs work.

Phoenix had gone with a jumbo pairing of Len and Miles Plumlee on Saturday night, but figure to go much smaller with Len now done for the summer and the Bucks rolling with Parker at the four. Warren should test both Antetokounmpo and Parker defensively, though they should be able to return the favor on the other end.

The interplay between Parker and Giannis is of course one of the most interesting talking points of the week for Bucks fans, with Friday's game providing a sneak peek of what might be to come. As expected, Parker busied himself as a high post four against Cleveland, trying to work screen and rolls with Nate Wolters but finding most of his success attacking off the dribble. He had far less success with his jumper, failing to connect on three triples as well as a number of attempts off the dribble inside the arc. And while he's certainly a better shooter than he showed on Friday, his ability to find consistency from the perimeter will go a long way toward determining his ultimate ceiling. On that topic, Jason Kidd touched on Parker's fit at the four in a wide-ranging interview with Charles Gardner yesterday:

Q.What are your initial impressions of top draft pick Jabari Parker, and can he play the power forward spot on a regular basis?

A. I think we're comfortable with him at the 4. I thought (Friday night against Cleveland) he looked good. He's strong enough. Look, he's a rookie; he's 19 years old. So he's going to make some mistakes. We all do. But his effort, you talk about winning basketball, him diving on the floor at the end of the game. That just shows he's willing to sacrifice, whatever it takes to win. I thought also he was encouraging his teammates in the fourth quarter when things weren't going well. He knows how to score the ball, but I think he also knows how to rebound on the other side, for his position. I think he's going to be fine with that.

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