Western Notes: Rockets, Brown, Abrines, Suns

Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon are gambles for the Rockets, but they’re probably risks worth taking, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Both players are sharpshooters who should fit well into new coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, but both have an extensive history of injuries. Anderson missed a significant stretch last season with an MCL sprain in Feburary, and had a season-ending neck injury in 2014. Gordon has been through a long string of injuries that have limited him to an average of 53 games per season over the past four years. Assuming they are reasonably healthy next season, Blancarte expects them to be valuable additions because of their ability to stretch the defense and Gordon’s talent for driving to the basket.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • High-scoring European player Bobby Brown will attend training camp with the Rockets on a non-guaranteed deal, tweets international journalist David Pick. Brown spent time with the Kings, Clippers, Hornets and Wolves from 2008-10.
  • The signing of Alex Abrines has helped the Thunder begin to lift the dark cloud caused by Kevin Durant‘s departure, writes Bery Tramel of The Oklahoman. Abrines will give Oklahoma City a 3-point threat and may take Dion Waiters‘ spot as a reserve guard behind Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo. The biggest question on the European star is whether he can defend well enough to earn significant playing time.
  • The Suns‘ collection of young players has produced renewed optimism in Phoenix, according to Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic. Part of the confidence came from GM Ryan McDonough’s draft-night deal with the Kings that gave Phoenix Marquese Chriss along with Dragan Bender. In addition, McDonough likes the commitment he is seeing from his veterans this summer. “I think we’ve seen a powerful change over the past few months in terms of players buying in,” he said. “Our guys like being around each other. They like being in Phoenix. A lot of our core players have basically made Phoenix their home and stick around all summer. It’s 115 degrees and those guys could be anywhere in the world. They choose to stay in Phoenix. And that says something.”

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