The Suns finished their five-game swing through the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with a 90-55 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Here are five takeaways from Phoenix’s weeklong stay in Sin City:

Deandre Ayton a work in progress

Deandre Ayton carried the weight of being the No. 1 overall pick in a draft filled with talented big men and, as such, was expected to dominate in stretches. That didn’t happen.

Ayton was nervous and out of sorts in Phoenix’s first game, had double-doubles in the Suns’ wins over Sacramento and Orlando and then committed six turnovers in a lackluster performance against Philadelphia on Thursday.

There were times when Ayton didn’t establish strong enough position in the post and other possessions when he wasn’t strong with the ball, leading to turnovers.

But Ayton’s overall performance has to be viewed through different prisms. First, as coach Igor Kokoskov said Thursday, the Suns didn’t do a good enough job of running offense for Ayton and putting him in positions where he can score. Second, Ayton commanded an inordinate amount of defensive attention, something that shouldn’t happen in the regular season when he’s surrounded by better players and shooters.

Still, Ayton averaged a double-double – 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game – and there were enough glimpses of his athleticism, physicality and talent to see why the Suns are so high on him.

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Katherine Fitzgerald and Scott Bordow offer a glimpse of who the standout players at the NBA summer league are, which includes a few surprises.
Diana Payan | azcentral sports, Arizona Republic

Davon Reed seeks roster spot

When summer league began, there didn’t seem to be enough room on the roster – or in the lineup – for second-year shooting guard Davon Reed, who has a non-guaranteed contract. But Reed was impressive in Las Vegas, averaging 13.4 points per game, working hard defensively and, most importantly, exhibiting the athleticism and quickness that was absent from his game after he returned from arthroscopic knee surgery last season.

The shooting guard position is crowded for the Suns. Devin Booker will get the majority of the minutes, and Troy Daniels, Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson all could see time behind him. But the 6-foot-6 Reed has the size and stroke to be a prototypical 3-and-D guard. If he doesn’t make the Suns’ roster, he’ll quickly catch on with another team.

What about Shaquille Harrison?

Point guard Shaq Harrison did, well, Shaq Harrison things in Vegas. His on-the-ball defense was ridiculous – to the tune of 2.7 steals per game – he got to the basket and filled the stat sheet, averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists per contest.

Was that enough for Harrison to secure the 15th and final spot on the Suns’ roster? Well, Kokoskov may have a provided a strong hint when he was asked how much he values the kind of tenacious defense Harrison plays.

“A lot,” Kokoskov said. “A lot.”

Ultimately, Harrison’s spot on the roster likely will be decided by what Phoenix does the rest of the offseason. If the Suns trade for a point guard, Harrison is the odd man out. But if Phoenix stands pat, Harrison likely makes the team as the third point guard behind Brandon Knight and rookie Elie Okobo.

Building (Mikal) Bridges

There was one play in Thursday’s game that showed why the Suns made the draft-day trade to move up and get forward Mikal Bridges.

Bridges blocked a shot on one end than ran downcourt and buried a corner 3-pointer. You could almost see General Manager Ryan McDonough exclaim: “See? That’s why we did it.”

Bridges played as advertised. He has a mature, composed game that is tailor-made for today’s NBA. He should be able to give the Suns solid minutes at both small forward and shooting guard and his 7-foot-1 wingspan is ideal for Kokoskov’s switching defense. Expect Bridges to cover everyone from point guards to power forwards at some point this upcoming season.

Josh Jackson’s shot-selection struggles

Jackson played in just three of the Suns’ five games but those three games had to be a bit concerning for Phoenix’s coaching staff. Jackson shot just 24 percent from the field and was 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

“That’s nothing new,” Kokoskov said.

Indeed, some of the wild drives and contested jumpers were reminiscent of the first half of Jackson’s rookie season. With Booker, Bridges and Trevor Ariza on the floor and with Ayton capable of putting up points inside, the Suns don’t need Jackson to be a prolific scorer.

They want him to use his elite athleticism to get to the basket and finish or find an open teammate, two things Jackson did well the second half of his rookie year.

“We’ll address it,” Kokoskov said. “We have to help him see stuff on the court.”

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