Just a few weeks ago, the Suns roster was set at the 13 player minimum required by the league. That was before the news came out of Channing Frye’s enlarged heart which should keep him out for the entire season.
Phoenix is right back at square one looking to fill their final roster spot. NBA teams can carry up to 15 players on their regular season roster, but the Suns have historically only kept the minimum and that probably won’t change this year.
Four players will battle for the 13th spot during training camp in La Jolla; power forward/center Solomon Jones, power forward/center Luke Zeller, swingman Othyus Jeffers and point guard Diante Garrett. With Frye done, Jones and Zeller are the two most likely candidates to get the last slot.
Jones was signed to a non-guaranteed contract a few weeks back and was given invite to camp. He has the most NBA experience out of the four players having played with four different teams over the course of six seasons. Not much of a scorer, Jones is known for his shot blocking and rebounding abilities.
Zeller is the older of Tyler Zeller who was drafted back in June. Since going undrafted out of Notre Dame back in 2009, the older brother has played in Japan, Lithuania and the D-League. Like Frye, Zeller is a big man who can shoot from the outside.
Garrett is a guy that the Suns are very familiar with. He worked out for Phoenix before the draft in 2011 and spent time on the Suns Summer League team this year. Garrett played in the Adriatic and the French leagues this past year where he averaged 7.4 points, 3.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds per contest.
Despite the Suns being familiar with him, Garrett is going to have his work cut out for him to earn a job. The Suns already have three point guards on their active roster and unless an injury occurs, Garrett is being brought in solely as another body in camp.
Jeffers is the other player besides Jones who has actually appeared in a NBA game as he has had time with Utah, San Antonio and Washington. He has had to deal with hardships over the last several years tearing his ACL in last year and losing two brothers in gun shootings while growing up in Chicago.
As far as what kind of a player he is, Jeffers is in a similar mode to P.J. Tucker, who Phoenix signed over the offseason. For a small forward, he is undersized standing at 6’5 and he gets by on pure hustle and grit, which are two things the Suns will be looking for this season.
Who the final roster spot will go to is just one of many things to watch for during Suns Camp which will get under tomorrow with Media Day.