Today's Suns workout was headlined by Jordan Clarkson, and a handful of free agent hopefuls.
Jordan Clarkson is an athletic combo guard from Missouri. He is a very skilled ball-handler who can create shots for himself and his teammates. Clarkson has an ability to get to the rim off the dribble using his athleticism, or hit pull-up shots from anywhere on the court. Jordan measures about 6' 5" in shoes, which is about average for a combo guard, and he has a nice wingspan of 6' 8" to help in that regard. His athleticism is his biggest strength, with a 38.5" max vertical and a 10.79 second lane agility, he is one of the most athletic guards in the draft. his biggest negative is his shooting. Clarkson shot only 28% from three last season, though he shot nearly 37% from three the prior season. Still, his inconsistency from the field is an area of his game he will have to work on.
Another familiar face and name who showed up today was David Stockton, the son of Hall of Fame point guard and Utah royalty John Stockton. While he averaged only 7 points and 4 assists as a senior at Gonzaga, he is worth mentioning based on the strong family ties he has with Suns' coach Jeff Hornacek, who he not only grew up around and played with his kids, but was also coached by on his AAU basketball team as a kid.
The other notable name today was Richard Solomon, a 6'11" power forward from the University of California who averaged 11 points and 10.2 rebounds as a senior. He was the top rebounder in the Pac-10, and the 13th best in the nation. Comparatively, Jarnell Stokes was 11th with 10.5, and Julius Randle was 7th with 10.5. Solomon is an efficient scorer near the basket where his length and athleticism come into play, but he is not a comfortable or confident scorer beyond it. While he is certainly a work in progress offensively, he could be a great value in the late second round, or if he goes undrafted, with a lot of sought after physical attributes and skills.
Here is the full list of today's participants:
- Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG), 6 '5", 186 lbs, 22, Missouri, Ranked #47 in DX Top 100, Projected Pick #28 in DX Mock Draft
- Richard Solomon (PF), 6' 11", 236 lbs, 22, California, Ranked #43 in DX Top Seniors, Not in DX Top 100
- Cameron Clark (SG), 6' 6", 210 lbs, 22, Oklahoma, Ranked #48 in DX Top Seniors, Not in DX Top 100
- Tyler Stone (SF), 6' 8", 230 lbs, 22, Southeastern Missouri St., Ranked #53 in DX Top Seniors, Not in DX Top 100
- Davante Gardner (PF), 6' 7", 288 lbs, 24, Marquette, Ranked #71 in DX Top Seniors, Not in DX Top 100
- David Stockton (PG), 5' 11", 160 lbs, 22, Gonzaga, Not in DX Top 100
Ryan McDonough on Today's Players
On Jordan Clarkson
"Jordan is a good athlete at that size. He's got good length. He shoots the ball a little better than his percentages would indicate. His stroke looked good out here today. He's a talented player. He's got, physically, everything you could hope for. The ability to do a little bit of everything, I think is what stands out about him. He shoots the ball, he passes pretty well, and he rebounds pretty well. He's got the length to defend. It's not like we look for a guy who's just a point guard or just a shooter. The best players can do a little bit of everything."
On David Stockton
"He's been in the spotlight his whole life. His passing ability really stood out today. You can tell he's grown up around the game, and he has a great feel for the game. He's obviously a little limited physically. He's a little bit small and light, but he makes up for that with intelligence, smarts, intelligence, toughness, and passing ability. He played well today. He was one of the better passers we've had in throughout the workout process. He's competitive and effective. His ability to run a team...run pick and rolls, and put guys in shots today was pretty impressive."
On Richard Solomon
"Rebounding is one of those things that tends to hold up. We study that a decent amount, analytically. If you can rebound at a high major college level like he did at Cal, that's something that usually translates. He's an athletic guy, he's got good size and moves pretty well. I think he's still developing his offensive game. But his stroke's not broken. I was impressed with how he stepped out and made a few shots today. He has the physical package, the question is if he can put it all together and keep developing offensively."
On Davante Gardner
"He's a pretty skilled offensive player, he's pretty efficient. He's heavy, but he's got good feet and good hands. He has a really soft touch around the basket. he's a good free-throw shooter. He looked good today, especially one-on-one on the block. He's tough to stop when he gets his body into the defender. He spins pretty well and uses either hand...He's a guy that stats wise was pretty efficient in limited minutes at Marquette.
Ryan McDonough on Draft Process
On workouts and draft preparation
"We try not to base too much on workouts. We think film study is important. We try to avoid recency bias of being swayed by the last thing we saw. So we try to go back and look at the course of a guy's career, especially in the last year and see how he did in games. The draft is on June 26th, and free agency starts on July 1st, so there's not a lot of time in between, so we're trying to prepare for both simultaneously, and I think the next week and a half will allow us to do that."
On scheduling top draft prospects.
"We're trying to get all of the top guys. Like we've talked about before, what we'd consider doing for the right player is packaging picks to moving up in the draft. Some agents believe that and might be willing to send their guys. Most agents say just call us when you have the higher pick and we'll come in then. We're working on eight or ten guys...I'm sure you can figure out who they are by who we haven't had in."
On importance of workouts
"It's important that we have a lot of information about a player. Having them in for workouts helps a lot. We get to interview them, we get to spend some time with them, and obviously we get to see them play for an hour. But if there is a guy who's good enough, we're not going to be foolish or reckless about it and say we absolutely won't take anyone who doesn't come in. It does help guys to come in some times like it did with Archie Goodwin last year. I think he really helped himself. There's a reason we moved up in the draft to get him was in addition to what he did at Kentucky, the two impressive workouts he had here. so it helps, but we'll take whoever the best players are."
On history with David Stockton
"My three kids' ages correlates with three of John (Stockton's) kids. I coached these guys and watched them grow up. David was a guy that you could see back in fourth grade that he had a good feel for the game. He knows how to play and makes great passes and he showed that today. Obviously (his lack of) size will be tough for him, but he knows how to play. I coached him from 4th to 7th or 8th grade. Obviously David picked up the game fast having John probably team him a lot of these things. You could see the point guard ability."
On Jordan Clarkson
"He's got good size, good length, and athletic ability. Probably what they say is he'll be a first round pick. He'll really be able to contribute to a team. He's a tough kid and he really understands how to play too. He's really worked on (his shooting). That's a hard thing to do is to change your form and still knock shots in, and he did that today. You want a guy that can play both (guard positions). Jordan has the ability to play the one and he can play the two also."
On Suns workout
"This was probably the toughest workout I've been through. A lot of up-and-down stuff...everything was full-court. it was a high-intensity workout."
On Suns' style of play
"I feel most comfortable with a up-tempo, up-and-down game. We kind of played something similar at Missouri, with screen-and-roll and stuff like that, so I fell like I can fit right in."
On NBA role
I'm a point guard. I had a dominant roll scoring at Missouri, so you really didn't get to see any of my play-making abilities. but I'm a point guard coming into this draft. But I can play the two, I can guard the two or the three, and I'm versatile on the defensive end as well."
On improving shot
"I watched a lot of film and worked with two guys after the season that really got my shot up and reconstructed it. I got a higher release point not twisting so much with my hips, and finishing with two fingers. I'm real comfortable from the NBA three. I feel like I'm shooting better from the NBA three than from closer. I'm just continuing to try and shoot the ball consistently. "
On ability to play in the NBA
"I like to push it. I like to run and play fast...play defense and make plays. I think (my style) would carry over well."
On what he learned from his dad
"His professionalism, and the attitude he had and his love of the game."
On relationship with Hornacek
"Jeff was my coach for the knights when I was in 3rd and 4th grade, so he's taken a step up from that. (laughs)"
On potential role
"Maybe a defensive energy guy, rebound the ball, an opportunistic scorer. I think like Taj Gibson when he first came into the league. He was a little bit raw, more of a defensive and rebounding guy. I think my numbers are pretty much the same. I look at him and think I can definitely develop into a player of that caliber."
On rebounding ability
"It's just a mindset. Using my length to the best of my ability, and reacting quick. Trying to be the first in the air to catch the rebound."
Other Workout Notes:
- David Stockton won the three-minute full court drill...easily. Stockton showed that he was in tremendous condition, and while I didn't get a full count on the number of laps he ran, he came in a full half-lap ahead of Jordan Clarkson, the most athletic player in today's workout.
- Another note on Stockton. Although he is projected to go undrafted, McDonough had a lot of positive things to say about him, and Hornacek obviously has a long history with he and the entire Stockton family. Assuming he doesn't get picked in the second round, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he gets an opportunity to try out for the Suns in the summer league. That is, if Utah doesn't get him first.
- Richard Solomon came in first in the three-minute drill among the big-men in attendance. Not only is he tall and long, he is in great condition and had no problem completing the drill ahead of the other bigs today.
- Davante Gardner was the most noticeably out of shape among today's participants. However, this is no surprise for a guy who played between 280-290 lbs during most of his career at Marquette.
The rumor is that Nik Stauskas will be working out with the Phoenix Suns in the near future. Stay tuned.