The Bright Side of the Sun staff weighs in on how they think the Phoenix Suns did last night in the NBA Draft
The Phoenix Suns had a total of four selections in last night's draft and most would consider the first two to be somewhat of a surprise. Many members of the ginormous BSotS staff decided to put our reactions to the draft together in this roundtable.
From the second I saw Alec Brown's shooting stroke at the combine, I had a feeling the Suns were going to draft him. He should be a good rotation player as a stretch five once he develops in a few years.
Bogdan Bogdanovic - I didn't know much about him going into the draft (I'd seen maybe one video), but I like this pick for the Suns. He is a good shooter and passer at the wing, he also has defensive potential with his long 6'11" wing span. His biggest weakness is decision making which, will improve over time. He is a solid draft and stash type player for the Suns. He looks like he could contribute right away and will only get better with a year or two overseas.
I was high on Tyler Ennis during his playing days a Syracuse, but as draft day got closer I began to forget about him. I was a bit confused when the Suns called his name because the names Dragic and Bledsoe ran through my mind. But then a third name rolled through, Ish Smith and I smiled remembering why I was high on Ennis before. Ennis will be a great replacement and upgrade from Ish Smith as the backup point guard when Bledsoe or Dragic are sitting. He is also insurance in case either one of them get injured or if we don't resign Bledsoe or Dragic if he opts out in a year. Ennis is my favorite pick by the Suns in this draft. He is a good shooter and will continue to improve his shot over time. He has great court vision and is a winner, he wants to take the last shot. This dude has ice water running through his veins.
T.J. Warren was a surprising pick because I thought the Suns were going to draft him with their 18th pick, not the 14th. I would have rather had Gary Harris or Payne. I'm not sure how I feel about Warren, he fills a need in SF scoring for the Suns but does not have three point range... yet. Hopefully he works on his shot and defense and maybe he becomes a great pick by the Suns, it's just too early to know yet.
I wasn't terribly surprised by the TJ Warren pick, though I'm almost sure he would have been available at 18. Ennis is both surprising and worrying as, at least to my mind, it signals that one of our two guards from last season is on the way out. I'm also not convinced he was the best player remaining. Bogdanovic was a fine stash pick, even if I would have taken Damien Inglis myself, who went just 4 picks later. I love the Alec Brown pick, as I think, given time and opportunity, Brown is likely to be a contributor, if not an everyday starter.
The draft was totally underwhelming for me. I like TJ Warren, but I'm pretty sure he would have been there at 18. Would have liked Gary Harris at 14. I despise the Tyler Ennis pick, seems totally opposite of what I thought McDonough liked. Bogdan seems like a nice draft-and-stash. I was really hoping we would actually move up in the draft, but this felt like a typical Phoenix Suns draft night. I hope I'm wrong.
I was hoping for a Red Ryder carbine-action, 200 shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock... but instead I got a football. Ultimately, the Suns didn't care about winning last night (obviously) and have their sights set on winning this draft years from now, but it was still a monumental letdown.
Here's the skinny. Last night I was salivating over the prospect of a juicy, still slightly cool in the middle filet that I could cut with a fork (Suns wheel and deal, maybe move up and get a guy I really want). Somehow I ended up at Roscoe's Steak and Shake instead (the Suns did nothing). Not only that, but while I was looking at a few things that appeared to be passably edible on the menu the waitress (not sure why this is a girl instead of a guy, but this is my analogy) automatically brings out the "house special."
Now, I want to give the waitress (Ryan McDonough - kind of why it's weird this was a girl but stay with me) the benefit of the doubt because she's cute (because McMiracle), but I'm looking at the stuff on my plate and I'm not exactly jumping for my silverware.
10 and 11 were gettable, and the Suns definitely had the assets to go after them based on the trades that happened, but Phoenix stood pat. What they did, in my opinion, was draft players that were inferior to the players selected at both of those picks... even considering position. Who would you rather have? McDermott or Warren? Payton or Ennis? Not only that, but the Suns strayed from their strategy of drafting athletic two way players.
One of my favorite things about the draft last night was that out of all the profiles we wrote on this site... nobody did a profile on Warren. Apparently the Suns managed to pick the only guy that none of us was excited enough to write about... Pretty hard for me to feign excitement now.
I'm not trying to be vituperative here, because draft grades are kind of stupid (I'll give mine in a second here), but the night was just intensely insipid. Maybe the house special will end up kicking ass, but this is Roscoe's Steak and Shake.
I invite Warren and Ennis to do Roscoe proud, kick all kinds of ass this season, and make a clip video next summer where they ridicule excerpts of this draft critique.
This Suns draft reminded me a lot of last year. Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel both slipped to #5, but the Suns were set on Alex Len regardless. Gary Harris slipped past his consensus overall rank twice for the Suns, but they went with TJ Warren and Tyler Ennis. I consider both slight reaches and with a really good two-way player like Harris slipping I was not a fan of the value the Suns got at 14 and 18. That's the main storyline for me about this draft, although I do like both players like last year as well.
Warren's tweener concerns with shooting, defending, and rebounding are all legitimate in my opinion and they worry me. He's an exceptional scorer though and that would add even more firepower to the Suns bench. The two questions with that though are is Warren going to be that much better than Marcus Morris and did the Suns really need another scorer off the bench? Ennis gives the Suns a pure point to run the second unit at the very least. He will be able to find everyone in their spots quickly with his great ball movement while consistently getting into the key as well. He has superb court vision and understands the way defenses operate. Everyone is skeptical because of the Kendall Marshall comparisons, but trust me when I say the two are not the same. Bogdan Bogdanovic could wind up being the best player for this Suns class when he eventually comes over, as his cunning play on the floor with terrific shooting will be welcomed. A stretch 5 like Alec Brown makes no sense to me when the Suns clearly need another banger and Patric Young was still available.
Trust the system is my overall impression of this draft. While their were some other players I would have preferred from both a value and preference standpoint, the Suns picked four very unique players so McDonough must have something planned for them all
Like Garrett, I was a little underwhelmed with the Suns' draft, mainly because of the value as Kellan mentioned. I don't hate either of the players selected at 14 and 18, but I don't love them either, particularly because I'm not sure they were the best value at their spot or the best fit for the direction the Suns appeared to be headed in.
Warren's profile as a tweener forward who doesn't shoot well from 3-point range and does his damage mid-range and in doesn't appeal to me very much, regardless of how many points he scored. I thought Gary Harris and Adreian Payne both would end up being better NBA players and both were still there for the taking. However, after taking another look at him and hearing what Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek had to say, I'm at least a bit more optimistic that he will work out as an off-ball slasher playing off the Slash Brothers' penetration with the starters and more of an on-ball scorer with the second unit. He's going to have to become much more selective with his shots and prove the defensive effort he showed in workouts can be a consistent part of his game.
The Suns needed another point guard as insurance if Eric Bledsoe signs elsewhere or gets hurt again next season, but Tyler Ennis is a confusing choice in that role for me. Ennis is a pure point guard, excellent at taking care of the ball, finding his teammates and running an offense in general. However, he isn't a dynamic player or a good scorer at all, which is why I don't see him as a good plug-and-play option to step in for Bledsoe; he's a completely different kind of player. Best case scenario, Dragic and Bledsoe both stick around and are healthy. In that case, he's an upgrade over Ish Smith for sure, but I don't know how much I like using the 18th pick on a third string point guard. This pick just confuses me more than anything else.
I like the Bogdan Bogdanovic pick. Watching this highlight video has me convinced that he's a 6'6", right-handed version of Goran Dragic. As for Alec Brown, I'm indifferent. Why not take the 7-foot 3-point shooter that late in the draft and send him overseas to develop?
When the Suns first picked T.J. Warren at #14, I was a bit shocked because I was expecting more of a perimeter shooting wing. Originally, I think the Suns were going to draft Zach LaVine, even Gambo tweeted out they were waiting to take him when there were only two picks before us. But When Minnesota took LaVine right before our pick, I think they went with a completely different player. A natural scorer who doesn't depend on perimeter shooting to put up points...and who scores them by the boat load.
My biggest concern with Warren was his defense, and how the Suns would use him in their system that relies on the drive-and-kick to perimeter shooters. But after I heard Hornacek discuss his impressive defense at the Suns workout, and how he believed that to be a symptom of his coach trying to keep him out of foul trouble, along with how they planned to use him in the offense, it made a lot of sense. I'm fully on board with Warren, and think he will be a fan favorite with his unique scoring ability in no time.
As for Tyler Ennis, I was shocked we didn't go with Gary Harris, who I believed was an excellent fit with his three-point shooting and defense. There must be a reason we declined taking him even at 18. Perhaps they just had Ennis graded higher...they certainly seem to believe he can develop into big-time play-maker and a clutch shooter/scorer for the Suns. I'm still a little less enamored with this selection than with Warren, but I do think Ennis has a chance to be very good. He gives the Suns a pure point guard who has the ability to run the offense and shoot from all over the floor. I do think Ennis will be a solid edition to the team, so my aprehension has more to do with who we passed up than who we took.
Oh yeah, and Bogdan Bogdanovic was a steal at #27. He is one of the best players in Europe, and rumor has it that the Spurs were very interested in him at #30 as well...Even better.
From bottom to top, strictly to be contrarian.
I've no reason to disagree that the Bogdan Bogdanovic and Alec Brown picks were good gets. Admittedly, I was a little more jazzed (pun intended) at the prospect of nabbing Jarnell Stokes, a banger who ultimately went to Utah at #35, with the #27 pick. What impresses me most about the Bogdanovic reel is his quick release and the ability to get off the creative shot. As far as fitting into an offensive scheme is concerned, Bogdanovic landed in the right spot.
At #18 I've been big on Adrien Payne all along, as I think many Suns fans have been. There was always a concern that he would go earlier, though I think we were all a little surprised that he went to Atlanta, who already has depth at the 4. That said there was considerable drop off in my mind after Payne for a Payne-esque player. I think Oklahoma City at #21 reached on Mitch McGary. With Payne gone at #18, I would've preferred Gary Harris, but I have no beef with the Tyler Ennis pick. Ennis is a true point guard who I think will benefit greatly learning from Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, both who bring different skill sets to the position. I love that he's already hit big, clutch shots at Syracuse, and isn't afraid to have the ball in his hand with the game on the line.
#14 is where I would've drafted Payne with fear he'd be gone by #18. At it is at #13 we took a 6-foot-7 225 pound ACC player of the year. That's not T.J. Warren, it's Jared Dudley. I'm higher on this pick than most. Warren is 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, and I think has the potential to add a Dudley like presence into a Suns team that in 2013 traded away one of its two most valuable assets and somehow made it out ok on the other side. A little toughness, a little sharper on the defensive side of the ball, and it could be like we never lost Dudley at all. It's not the sexy pick, but it's underappreciated at this point. Savvy move, Suns.
I went into this draft with no expectations at all. McDonough stated a desire to move up for quality instead of quantity, but that's easier said than done because teams in the top 10 wanted to hold their picks in this highly acclaimed draft. Sitting tight and taking the players they liked was a real possibility, and that's what happened. It's not necessarily a negative, as long as the Suns got value with their picks.
Warren and Ennis seem to be at odds with the McDonough draft model since they lack top-end athleticism. The perception is that pure athleticism is what gives players high ceilings, but it's more than that. Does a player have a foundation of basketball skills to grow, and can they shore up their weaknesses, while possessing an acceptable level of athleticism? McD wan't simply going to draft one superb athlete lacking a jump shot after another, hoping Hornacek would teach them to shoot, but that is the impression some Suns fans had.
Warren and Ennis are high IQ players, known for their leadership and character. Each was productive in college, Warren tremendously so. If the Morrii, Tucker and Frye all return (very iffy), it's hard to see where Warren fits in the rotation this coming season, but Ennis should be able to play right away as Ish Smith's replacement. It was reported the Suns were shopping their #27 pick for a future pick. They didn't make such a deal, but Bogdanovic is essentially a future pick because he won't leave Europe for the NBA for a year or two. Our European fans here have favorable things to say about his game. Alec Brown is a decent, long-term developmental stretch big man.
I like this draft for the Suns. For those who had expectations of trading up for someone else, there's no way of knowing what was possible, or what the cost would have been. Instead, they took a more conservative route, and we'll have to hope they hit on at least one or two of these players. I'm confident they will.
I was fairly stunned by the banality of the Suns' draft. I think like everyone else I was expecting more of a splash. I wasn't into T.J. Warren or Tyler Ennis pre-draft, but the picks are growing on me. Warren will hopefully add some offensive punch to a second unit that's prone to stagnation and Ennis similarly will be an upgrade at facilitator over the assumedly dearly departed Ish Smith.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, in addition to having the best name in the world, seems like a great draft-and-stash prospect from what I'm hearing from our Euro readers. Alec Brown is obviously the steal of the draft and I look forward to seeing him dominate the league for years to come.
You can argue the Suns' coulda/shoulda/woulda addressed other needs, most specifically power forward. The Markieff Morris/Channing Frye combo (assuming Frye re-signs) isn't exactly broke, but no ones going to argue a little fixing might not hurt. The draft is just part of an off-season that has yet to enter free agency. Remember when Caron Butler was sitting courtside at the Suns' Summer League games last year, but tipped off the season as a Buck? Patience, y'all, there's probably more to come. Unless there isn't.
What do I think about the draft? Well, a lot of things actually. But I don't want to take away from what awesome takes of these guys above. (Actually, I have a selfish plan of piecing out my thoughts in different articles over the next couple weeks, after doing some research)
On the high level, I was as mystified as anyone with the T.J. Warren pick, simply because I knew so little about him and when I looked he wasn't a three-point shooter. Wait, what? The Suns take a guy who can't shoot threes? Oh yeah, Archie couldn't shoot either. P.J. couldn't shoot. Goran couldn't shoot (lately). Markieff still can't do it very well. Yet every single shooter on the team improved over the course of the year.
Except Ish. Which brings me to Tyler Ennis. If nothing else, Ennis is better than Ish on the court. Is he better in the locker room? That remains to be seen. Over the next day or so, I'm going to do some research on the differences between Ennis and Kendall Marshall, just to set my own fears to rest. But really, the big difference will have to coachability. Marshall didn't have it. Will Ennis?
I know nothing of Bogdan Bogdanovic, so I leave that to our Euro brethren who all seem to love him. Good enough for me.
Alec Brown could potentially be a player, but he's not right now. Give him time.
Overall Grade: B-
But if everyone in this draft class is as coachable as last year's team, this group might eventually earn an A.
What is YOUR grade for the Suns draft?
Vote, but also add your grade in the comments section so we can look back on this in a year and laugh, or nod our heads in satisfaction.