Who knows what's Plan A vs. Plan B vs. Plan C vs. Plan D in the Suns' thinking. We on the outside have no idea what order the Suns would put these potential point guards, but you've got to think the Suns have their order already laid out.
In the past 24 hours, the Suns have expressed interest in PG draft prospects Kendall Marshall and Damian Lillard. They've also been rumored to want free-agent-to-be Goran Dragic back, if Nash leaves. On top of that, Jared Dudley (Mr Social Media himself) recently told a reporter that the Suns have a real shot to keep Steve Nash, and other reporters have listed the Suns as Deron Williams' third-best free agent option this summer.
Wow. So maybe the Suns need to resolve their point guard problem, with Nash being 39 and a free agent? Whuda thunk it?
None of this is a surprise to Suns fans, for sure. None is breaking news.
The question I'm asking today is: in what order do the Suns have these guys on their secret white board? In any ranking, you have to weigh the likelihood successful acquisition against your love for the player himself.
Hit the jump for links to rumors/quotes on these guys, as well as my risk/probability analysis that must play into their thinking.
First, let's establish the substance of each rumor.
From John Treloar, Suns' draft boss, to Paul Coro of azcentral.com: The Suns would love to see Lillard available but he is a likely top-10 pick, especially with teams willing to trade up to snatch him.
"I saw him a lot and it was impressive. He was the main focus of the other team's defense and still was the second leading scorer in the country (24.5 points per game). He didn't break out of the offense to get his points. They came out of the flow of the offense and within the rhythm of his team."
Visiting for the second time in a week, which shows some heightened level of interest in him over others in the draft.
From John Treloar, Suns' draft boss, to Paul Coro of azcentral.com: "There are going to be questions until he goes out there and shows what he can do in the NBA," Treloar said. "Personally, I think he'll improve in the NBA. He makes players better."
Sean Deveny of sportingnews.com has always had good dirt on the Suns over the years, despite the front office changes. So when he mentions Suns' interest, I'm inclined to believe it's real.
Assuming that is not Houston, a source told Sporting News, Dragic could wind up in a familiar surrounding anyway-back in Phoenix. Should the Suns lose Nash in free agency, Phoenix is expected to make a push to re-sign Dragic and give him the reins in coach Alvin Gentry's offense. That would suit Dragic.
"I learned a lot in Phoenix, I had a very good time there," he said. "I don't know what is going to happen, but that is an organization I know, obviously, and they helped me a lot."
Our own Jared Dudley recentlyexpressed optimism to Alex Kennedy of hoopsworld.com in Steve coming back: "If he wants to go try to win a championship, hey, more power to him," Dudley said. "If he wants to stay and help this process, more power to him. I definitely think he'll weigh his options and see what he can do. Steve wants to compete and he wants to play for an organization that wants to compete. If he feels that's the Suns or another organization, he'll definitely decide that, but I definitely think it's 50/50. I think the Suns have a huge, real shot at bringing him back."
That's a lot more positive than I remember him talking about Amare two years ago. Back then, he expressed concern over the Suns need to step up in a big way. This time, Dudley didn't mention concern over the Suns at all. It's in Nash's court, as its always been.
And then there's the repeated link to max-contract FA Deron Williams. It's the flimsiest of them all, but it's still there and it's not going away. Williams WILL sign a max contract. The question is: with who?
Chris Broussard recently wrote an insider piece for the mothership, detailing Williams' options. Of course, the Nets (most money, most years) and Dallas (room for max contract, still have Dirk and Cuban but much else) are the front-runners. No question they are the leaders in the clubhouse. But is there another very real option, a dark horse?
That leaves Phoenix. The weather and golf (Williams is a huge golf guy) is great, the offense is free-flowing (something Williams is definitely looking for), and with him, the team could be on the rise. While the Suns' first choice appears to be re-signing Nash, the younger Williams is a better option. I don't think the Suns could move ahead of Dallas on Williams' list, but they should not be completely discounted either.
So there you have the latest rumors on the Suns point guard for 2012.
First, let's rank these guys in order of 2012-13 talent, giving the Suns the best chance to win lots of games:
Next, let's rank these guys in order of longer-term talent, beyond 2012-13:
Finally, let's rank them in order of how EASY it will be for the front office to sign them:
It will be a complete shock if Williams signs with the Suns.The Suns would likely have to acquire another all-star level talent first, then talk Williams into spurning Dallas and NJ for a contender in Phoenix. On a lesser scale, the Suns still have to improve at least a little in free agency to keep Nash. But since the front office has shown little creativity to date, that could be difficult.
Signing Dragic to a big free agent contract or drafting a point guard, though, is a LOT easier. Neither requires a great level of creativity or agressiveness. That's why I ranked these higher in the "ease" category.
So what will the Suns do? In what order do they have these guys?
The Suns actual ranking of these options likely weighs both talent AND probability. To do that, the Suns have to decide what's most important. Spend money to win big in 2012-13? Or re-build the team around a rookie PG?
On opening night, you could see a contender step onto the court with Deron Williams leading the charge, flanked by a SG tandem of rookie/vet shooting guard, Hill/Dudley, new PF and Gortat.
Or you could see a rookie lead the charge with new, young faces all over the court and a 20-win season pre-ordained
But the most likely scenario might just be Nash leading the charge, flanked by a team of middle-tier "if everything goes right" playoff talent.
With all the talk of the Phoenix Suns potential draft day promise involving Dion Waiters, or possibly their interest in fellow shooting guards Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb, and Terrence Ross...is it possible that it's all just a smoke screen to cover up their true target, point guard Kendall Marshall from the University of North Carolina?
While there's no way of knowing for sure, one thing we do know is that Kendall Marshall is now back in Phoenix for the second time to visit with the Suns...the only such player we have confirmed as having multiple visits. With the NBA Draft fast approaching on June 28th, which happens to be next week, is this a sign?
By clicking on the above link you can see that Mr. @KButter5 included an Iphone pic of our beautiful Phoenix weather forecast with temperatures between 109-104, (yes, even when there's a chance of rain). For those who may choose to look even deeper at what this tweet may imply, it sounds as if Marshall even intends to be staying in Phoenix throughout early next week when that chance of rain is said to occur.
So what does this all mean? Who knows. But this is an interesting development to say the least. We may have a new odds on favorite for the Suns to pick at #13, assuming Marshall is still available.
Today's peek into potential draft prospects puts the University of Connecticut sophomore swing man Jeremy Lamb front and center.
Over the last few weeks Lamb's name has been at the 13th spot as the draft pick of the Phoenix Suns on lots of mock draft boards, but he's also been as high 8 that I've seen. Truth be told we have no idea what's going to happen after Anthony Davis and since we like Jeremy Lamb as an option to Phoenix and several mocks have him landing in the Valley of the Sun.
"But Eutychus, we just worked out a ton of bigs and Lamb hasn't even been to Phoenix for a predraft workout!?"
You are correct. Somebody on Twitter posed pretty much the same question to Suns beat writer Paul Coro, check out his answer.
@ZeroWolf88 They are definitely considering Lamb but he has an ankle injury and hasn't been working out for teams recently.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 17, 2012
Couple that with the news from Alex earlier today that John Treloar dropped some notes on a few prospects which included Jeremy Lamb's name and we can safely assume that the Suns will take a hard look at taking Jeremy if he's still on the board at 13 come next Thursday evening. Let's take a quick look at what he can bring to the table.
In general as a future NBA player - I think Lamb could be a valuable weapon for any team. Length, youth and explosiveness is something that is desired around the league by every team and Jeremy possesses those qualities. At 20 years of age I'm positive he'll continue to grow and if he gains more muscle he could be an offensive and defensive force to deal with years.
I think if Jeremy Lamb is still available at 13 for the Phoenix Suns and they take him I would be pleased with the pick. We need young, long athletic talent and the scoring guard/swingman position is a definite NEED for this team moving forward. My ONLY concern with Lamb - is his motor. In interviews that I've seen on Youtube he seems very 'unexcited' - I guess my concern stems from a former PHX draft pick in Earl Clark... who had length, explosiveness yada yada, but the desire and fire just wasn't there. I'll be interested to see if Lamb has the FIIIIIYAA!
Tom Ziller's latest attempt to mock the 2012 NBA Draft for SB Nation is up, and ready for your perusal.
We're about a week away from the 2012 NBA Draft ... and no one has any clue what will happen after the No. 1 pick. Let's randomly list 29 names!
He's got some doozies. Kendall Marshall to Toronto? Sullinger still top 10 despite back issues? Perry Jones III to the Bucks?
For Suns fans, he has 4 of the shooting guard prospects all available at #13, with the Suns staying with their rumored preference of Dion Waiters.
Rivers, Lamb and Ross go to the Mavericks, Wolves and Magic, respectively. Oh, and Quincy Miller - my personal sleeper for a great NBA career - goes to the Nuggets. Friggin Nuggets. "I especially look forward to a Wilson Chandler-Quincy Miller-Danilo Gallinari-Corey Brewer-Jordan Hamilton line-up. George Karl, everyone!"