Today's Suns workout was headlined by Adreian Payne, Jordan Adams, and C.J. Wilcox.
Adreian Payne is a long, skilled, power forward from Michigan St. He has improved his game dramatically since he was a freshman, showing great development and improvement in nearly every aspect of his game. As a senior, Payne averaged over 16 points and 7 rebounds per game. This included not only shots near or at the rim, but out to the three point line as well Payne can score in transition, by putting the ball on the floor, or off of dunks and the pick-and-roll. Not only did he prove to be a versatile scorer, he did so while shooting over 50% from the field as well. In addition, Payne brings the athleticism to play above the rim, and consistent effort on defense. So what's not to like? Well, he has limited upside at this point, is reported to have smaller lungs than normal for a person his size, and he has a history of injuries (nothing Aaron Nelson cant fix, right?). Still, with his skills and ability to be a two-way player, it's really difficult not to love him as a mid-first round pick.
Jordan Adams is a tremendously skilled offensive guard from UCLA. He knows how to score, especially inside the arc, and is a very good finisher once he gets to the rim. He's 6'5", but has excellent length at the shooting guard position, measuring a 6'10" wingspan, and is also very strong for his position, which helps him score in post-up situations and finish through contact. Adams is one of the most offensively skilled shooting guards in the draft, with an ability to get the ball in the basket in a multitude of ways. His biggest downsides are his lack of athleticism, tying the lowest max vertical out of all positions at only 29.5", and the fifth worst lane agility time at 12.13 seconds. This is definitely a concern when transitioning to the NBA where he will be facing much faster and athletic guards, and has already struggled defensively in college due to his lack of athletic ability. His conditioning has been an issue as well, though he lost around 20 pounds prior to the combine and also appeared to be in fairly good shape today.
The other possible late-first to mid-second round pick in attendance was C.J. Wilcox. Wilcox is a shooting specialist who is also a pretty good defender...a very good prospect for a "Three-and-D" specialist in the NBA. Wilcox is not only a great shooter, he has very good athleticism as well, which helps him on the other end of the court, though he rarely uses it to attack the rim offensively. However, Wilcox can do more than just catch-and-shoot, he is also effective at shooting off the dribble as well. Wilcox projects well as a role player or a bench scorer in the NBA, and could be a consideration for the Suns, especially if he's still available when they pick in the second round.
Here is the full list of today's participants, along with their information:
On Adreian Payne
"Adreian is a nice combination of a guy that can step out and make shots on the perimeter. He moves his feet very well for a guy that size. He's pretty long as well but also wiry strong. I think he's best at facing the basket right now, but he's a guy you can see developing a back to the basket game as well. Obviously there's more room for improvement between 19 and 23, but there's a lot of guys that are pretty good players at 23 already, and he's one of them. You could draft a 19 year old guy who has the potential to be as good as him in four years, and the guy might never get there. He might never do what Adreian Payne has done. In terms of next years' Suns team, where we were a game away from the playoffs this year, it's easier to see a guy like that coming in and playing fairly early in his career."
On important of power forwards providing spacing
"I think the ability to shoot the ball from the power forward position is a strength of ours, and I think it helps with our spacing. Not only the ability to make threes from that position, but also the ability to space the floor for Goran and Eric, and our penetrating guards. it's important, and it's tough to defend. We do have that option with Channing, and we have that option with Markieff as well. The more guys you can slot in that role and not have to change your style of play the better, especially if they can shoot it pretty well and consistently, which Payne has done over the course of his career."
On C.J. Wilcox and Jordan Adams
"C.J. Wilcox had a terrific career at Washington shooting the ball. he came in primarily as a role playing shooter, and extended his game to be more of that throughout the course of his career. Jordan Adams was the youngest guy in the group. He's a strong, sturdy guy, and he was able to shoot the NBA three with no problem.
On Markel Brown's athleticism
"He was up there. I'd have to check the (vertical) test results, but h e was either at the top or near the top of the 54 or so guys we've had in...He's a pretty explosive guy. Combine that with his shooting ability and he's a pretty intriguing player."
On Adreian Payne
"You don't just want a stretch four guy that does nothing but shoot the ball. You want a guy that can go in the post some and play inside. And if teams want to play a smaller four, they can punish them inside. I think Adreian can do both of those things."
On seeing players on tape vs. in person
"To see them on tape it's sometimes hard to tell. There's a difference when you watch it on tape then you get to see them live. Quickness is one thing...sometimes they may look slow on tape and you get them out here and you say oh, that guy's got pretty good quickness. So I like the workouts."
"I'm a little tired from that run. The workouts have been good. I'd say this one wasn't my best but it was good. It was a great workout."
On fitting Suns style of play
"I feel I can fit a bunch of styles of the NBA because I'm versatile and I can play inside out. i can bring a lot of things. I can guard different positions, block shots, and be a presence of the floor."
On being mocked to the Suns
"I don't pay much attention to mocks. But I like it out here, and if they pick me then that's great."
"My strengths are my shooting ability, scoring, getting deflections on defense, getting steals in the passing lanes, and my basketball I.Q."
On toughness of Suns workout
"I would say this was the toughest (workout) that I've been through thus far, with all the running, the shooting, and the competitive drills."
On Suns workout
"It went well, it's a lot of running...the most running I've done in a workout so far. It was definitely a challenging aspect, but we had a good group of guys, and everyone worked hard."
On Hornacek's involvement in drills
"I loved it. He's really involved in the workout. We listen to what he was saying because he knows what he's talking about. He would come over to the side and talk to us and give us a couple of pointers going forward which is really helpful in the process.
"Shooting the ball. That's definitely my number one strength. That's what got me here, that's my specialty, and that's what I feel like I'll be drafted on."
Another workout coming on Monday.
Since the end of the NCAA season, Noah Vonleh has seen his draft stock rise like Zach LaVine's vertical leap. Despite not being as touted as other forwards to start the year, he's got the potential to be the best power forward in the draft given his age and physical gifts.
Position: Power Forward
Data Courtesy DraftExpress.com
At just 18 years old, Noah Vonleh already has a prototypical NBA power forward's physique. Since the end of the NCAA season, he's seen his draft stock rise like Zach LaVine's vertical leap. After projecting as an early first round project due to his youth, he's now knocking on the door of being a Top 5 pick. He does a little bit of everything and does it extremely well. Despite not being as touted as other forwards to start the year, he's got the potential to be the best power forward in the draft given his age and physical gifts.
Noah Vonleh can grab almost anything he wants. With a massive 7'4" wingspan and gargantuan hands that measure 9.75" ong by 11.75" wide, his rebounding advantage is almost unfair. I mean, look at these things.
Those fingers are grasping incarnate. And grasp they did to the tune of 9 rebounds per game in his freshman (and only) year in college. That's almost 15 rebounds per 40 minutes of floor time. He's the number one rebounder in Draft Express' top 100 prospects this year. Between his house-like frame, condor-like arms and serpentine fingers, he is almost genetically engineered to rebound. Unsurprisingly, those same qualities made him an above average shot-blocker as well, averaging 1.4 blocks per game.
In college, he also proved a very capable scorer. He shot 52.3% from the field including 48.5% from beyond the (NCAA) arc on 1.1 3-point attempts per game. His offensive game is multi-faceted in that he scores effectively with both hands down low as well as shoot from range. He also draws contact and makes opponents pay. He shot a very respectable 71.6% from the free throw line on 4.5 attempts per game.
So far we've got an 18 year-old potential scoring machine and rebounding monster. What else can he do? How about fly up and down the court? Is that something you might be interested in? His 3.28 second sprint time was within a couple hundredths of a second as Marcus Smart, T.J. Warren, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle. The kid has a motor and it runs fast.
So, really what's not to like?
As mentioned before, Vonleh is only 18 and won't turn 19 until August. With great youth comes great great learning curves. In college, Vonleh was prone to some indecision and occasionally seemed to lack confidence in his game. As a 19 year-old stepping on to an NBA court for the first time, there are questions as to whether or not he will be able to contribute immediately. It's not a matter of low IQ as much as it is a matter of low confidence. Does the soft-spoken Vonleh believe in himself enough to hold his own with veteran NBA big men?
As with other young prospects, Vonleh's defensive game will need some work. He certainly has all the physical attributes to be a stong defensive presence at the four. In college that may have worked to his disadvantage has he was able to get by on his length instead of using his athleticism and developing the defensive footwork needed to succeed at the NBA level.
Vonleh is also still growing. While that is good in that he will continue to add strength, it's possible that additional bulk will slow him down. It could be the difference between whether his ceiling is Chris Bosh or Wayman Tisdale. No one's going to kick Wayman Tisdale off their team, but most GMs would rather have that Bosh guy.
Noah Vonleh is an easy pick outside of the top 3. His perimeter game is more developed than Julius Randle or Jabari Parker, despite his potential lack of NBA readiness. And if he doesn't make the same impact as a rookie that those two are expected to, its seems likely that he will within the next couple of years.
Noah Vonleh would certainly be a welcome addition to a Phoenix Suns roster that lacks a strong interior scorer and rebounder. He has the potential to eclipse both Markieff Morris and Channing Frye's games, combining the best of both in a genetically superior package. But can the Suns get him?
Right now, there is not way Vonleh is available when the Suns pick at 14. As it stands, they would have to move up into the top 5 to definitely grab him with a chance of snagging him with the Los Angeles Lakers' pick at 7. Anything higher than that and there's a very good chance, he is off the board. They will almost certainly have to give up a combination of players and picks to move up that far and the immediate returns might not be commensurate with the assets the Suns lose in a potential deal.
Since Vonleh won't be around for any of the Suns' picks, there's no poll this time. Instead, in the comments, let's hear your suggestions for potential packages you'd be happy to see Ryan McDonough trade for a chance to select Noah Vonleh or why he shouldn't bother. Put your GM hats on, everyone!
SBNation NBA has a super in-depth scouting report on Noah Vonleh here if you want to know even more about the big fella.
Today's Suns workout was headlined by T.J. Warren, Elfrid Payton, and Arizona's Nick Johnson.
Today, the Phoenix Suns worked out a group of prospects with mixed rankings, headlined by T.J. Warren (PF, North Carolina St.) and Elfrid Payton (PG, Louisiana Lafayette) who both have the potential to be mid to late first round picks.
T.J Warren is a tremendously skilled scorer with a bevy of moves, and an ability to make shots from anywhere on the court. However, in and around the paint is where Warren is at is best. He is very comfortable scoring in a multitude of ways, with great touch, good ball-handling, and probably the best floater of any player his size. He was the third leading scorer in the nation, averaging nearly 25 points, while also contributing about 7 rebounds per game as well. Other than Doug McDermott, Warren is the most skilled forward in the draft this year. And like Doug, the biggest knock on him is his average athletic ability, and his status as a "tweener". However, Warren uses his strength and skill to complement his inside game, and is very comfortable scoring off of post-ups...which can help him make the transition to the next level.
Elfrid Payton is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. He possesses great size and length at the point guard position, and off-the-charts athleticism as well. Payton is known for his defensive ability, as well as his knack for getting to the rim, and scoring in transition. He is also aggressive on defense, averaging two steals per game in his junior season, which he also does a great job at converting into fast break dunks and lay-ups. He is also a good passer and His biggest knock is his shooting, which is still very inconsistent...especially from three, where he shot an abysmal 25% last season. However, Payton possesses the raw physical talent, defense, and play-making ability that make him stand out amongst his peers. He certainly fits the mold of the McDonough point guards of the past.
The other noteworthy prospect in today's workout is Arizona's own Nick Johnson. The Tempe native was a three-year starter for the University of Arizona, and led the team in scoring his junior year averaging 16.3 points per game, while also grabbing over four rebounds, and dishing out nearly three assists as well. Johnson played mainly off the ball as a shooting guard in college, and will likely be used as more of a scoring combo guard in the NBA. He is an excellent defender, named to the PAC-12 all-defensive team, and a phenomenal athlete. He is undersized at the shooting guard position, but can stay in front of his man with excellent agility. He is also extremely quick and explosive, and a smart player as well. He certainly fits the up-tempo style of play that the Suns use, and could be a tremendous value in the second round.
Here is the full list of today's participants, along with their information:
On Nick Johnson
"Looked good...His stroke looked really good. He shot the ball well. He's one of the more explosive guys, one of the better leapers we've had in. He did very well in the conditioning drill at the end. Overall a good performance for him. I think his versatility makes him easier to evaluate. As for his role, I think like most rookies he would come off the bench at first, be able to shoot the ball and put some points on the board. Defensively he's got some pretty good strength. He is a little undersized at the shooting guard position, but he's tough, strong, athletic, and well-conditioned. All of those things help make up for being a little bit undersized. "
On T.J. Warren
"It would be hard not to be impressed with how he scored. He was the number one conference player of the year. He really carried his team at times. It was impressive, not only that he scored, but that he did it efficiently as well."
On Elfrid Payton
"He showed some nice things...length, athleticism, and playmaking. Another very productive guy that had to do a lot for his team. A guy like that you get to see more of what he can do on film, the whole package, because he had to do a little bit of everything unlike guys from the powerhouse teams with a lot of good players around them who might be into a certain role. He's got good length. He's thin but he's wiry-strong. I think as he get's older he'll fill out and get stronger. He's got pretty good instincts. He got his hands on a number of balls today, using his length to reach in and poke the ball away...I think he'd be able to come in an NBA game and pressure guys right away and give them a hard time."
On Nick Johnson
"He's strong, athletic, and can really shoot the ball. He shoots it easy. We try to wear the guys out and see how they shoot when they're tired, and it didn't even look like he got tired. I think that strength really helps him. He'll probably have to play some point, a little bit of a combo because of his size. He's a guy that gets up and down, if he plays off the ball he'll be ready to spot-shoot it. He can be very good at that."
On Elfrid Payton
"He's got a great knowledge of the game. He makes great passes. His shooting was better than what we anticipated. He was another guy that didn't get tired. When he went through the scrimmage part of the three-on-three, there was no tiredness, he wants to play. he showed how he can handle pick-and-rolls, and make passes out of that...he's very good at that. He's projected to be a first round pick, and you can see why."
On T.J. Warren
"He has a unique skill of scoring. Watching tape, he looks kind of methodical looking. But because of that, he knows great positioning. When he makes a move and he sees the opening, then he explodes. He got hacked pretty good, and he still was able to be strong enough to finish it off. The question for him wasn't the scoring part, it was the defense. I thought he did a great job defensively. Getting his hand on the ball, he was better than I anticipated form watching tape."
On fit with the Suns
"Their style fits my game pretty well. Their able to get out in transition and run the floor every chance they get. Transition and fast breaks that's my game, I can get up and down and run."
On ability to defend in the NBA
"I think it's going to be a little bit different but not much. I have a good skill set, long arms...I'm pretty quick with my hands. I think it will be an easy adjustment."
On playing at home
"I actually practiced in this gym when I was eight or nine, with Rex Chapman, so it’s good to be back. I was here when we had the squad...Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, Amare...It was definitely one of the most exciting arenas in the NBA, and this year they got it back. I would love to play at home. They had a great team this year, and I think I can be that piece to add to the puzzle."
On his NBA position
"I think I'm both (guard positions). I think it's a benefit that I played the two in college, and I have that experience. I can guard both positions. I think it's something that's a plus in my game."
Another workout coming tomorrow. The rumors are that Adreian Payne will be one of those in attendance...stay tuned.