The final moments before the NBA draft are quickly slipping away and teams across the NBA are frantically making last minute preparations for the big event. Lance Blanks took time out of his busy schedule to meet with the press and answer questions in anticipation of the upcoming tempest.
It was a considerable concession of time given the circumstances, since Blanks and the rest of the Suns' staff still have their work cut out for them this week. According to Blanks, "Right now it's a really ugly board because it doesn't have a ton of clarity." Not to fret, though, because the board may still be convoluted now, but the Suns' team of scouts will help set an unequivocal order by Thursday afternoon.
Although Blanks seemed pretty confident the Suns will keep the #13 pick, he did reflect that nothing is set in stone. There is always a (remote) possibility they could trade up or down.
The Suns' eventual board may have up to 16/17 players on it that they would be interested in. If the Suns do end up with a player/s on their board past their pick, that brings up another question - will the Suns add another pick on draft day? The answer... maybe. Blanks offered that if it makes sense, they will look into it. Adding youth is extremely important.
Jump it for more notes from the media session along with comments on Marshall and Moultrie and quotes from Blanks.
***Additional Quotes and Editorial Content Have Been Added.***
On Kendall Marshall:
One is an obviously well accomplished, winning point guard. Quite frankly, that's the thing I like the most about him. He's a winner. That's something that we aspire to do, obviously, in this business. More specifically that's a position of need.
On Arnett Moultrie:
The other kid offers a level of athleticism. He's still trending up, getting better as a player, so that's someone that could potentially grow with an organization.
In reference to the revisits for these two players:
As far as the revisit - it never hurts to get another look.
Visits by players do impact opinion (not just the workout, but how the player acts and reacts during the visit), but that doesn't mean the Suns wouldn't select a player that hasn't visited.
I think of it like a pie chart. There is a percentage of your evaluation - every team is different - that is based on the season and how a guy might have played. Some teams may not need the other data. A percentage may go into Chicago (Combine), the post season, the interview, and the actual workout in your city. Seeing a guy in your gym in your environment, silly things like does he fit your city, your fans, and your organization. If he is not here I don't think you won't take him, but it might impact it especially if you are looking at two people and one of them has been in here.
It appears that the Suns will look at a PG in free agency (regardless of whether they draft Marshall) - rookies are long term situations, most won't contribute right away. Yes, Nash qualifies as a free agent point guard.
There's a lot more information available today about the draft because of technology and media.
Blanks believes that there are good players available at every position in this draft. Looking at wings is more a function of the roster. The player they draft will likely be based on the order on their board.
No philosophy change. The perimeter scorers is mostly a function of our roster than it is the draft class because we think there are good players at every position. Incidentally, we have had players in here from every position. It's not a situation where because we think guys are going to be gone at that position and definitely draft a five or a one. It is a sliding scale maybe you take the best player for whatever reason; maybe you go away from the point guard spot and go to the three. There really is no philosophy shift. We'll put on the final nuts and bolts over the next two or three days and we'll have a board. We will stay pretty loyal to that in the process of making a decision.
Continuity in the staff is increasing. Blanks believes that the staff and support team is excellent and has been working very hard to successfully navigate the draft and free agency in the brief upcoming window. There was another mention about Sarver providing great resources (The staff doth protest too much, methinks).
I am wildly excited about this group and the biggest difference is continuity. The continuity, camaraderie, and trust built amongst each other I am certain at some level will show up in our selection.
This last quote from Blanks reverberated for me:
Right now we're overly focused on this draft because we want to hit it right. If that means a duplication at a spot, so be it, because at the end of the day you want to have talented players and guys that can make it in this league and contribute to your roster. That's better than going away from a position where you already have depth or have an opportunity through free agency and you end up with a player that can't play in the league or he's just not good enough.
Here's the way I interpreted the Suns draft strategy based on Blanks' comments. I believe that by Thursday the Suns will have a draft board with between 13-17 players they like as potential picks. I think the players will be slotted by number (not in tiers) and that if the teams ahead of the Suns take the first 12 players on the Suns' board, the Suns will select the player they have slotted 13th. If only 10 players on the Suns' board are taken in the top 12, the Suns will select the 11th player on their board, etc.
I don't know that the Suns don't have players ranked as 13A and 13B, and if both are on the board they won't select the player who fits a need best between the two, but I don't get the impression they are using a tiered system. It appears to me to be a straightforward "best on board" approach, but this is just my take, nothing incontrovertible.
Whether the Suns add a pick largely depends on how many players they end up putting on their board (which they haven't determined yet) and whether any of those players fall to spots where the Suns can acquire picks. E.g. If they Suns have 15 players on their board and they are gone by 28, they won't try to acquire the Thunder's pick to take a player they don't like. If they have 17 on their board and one is left at 28, they will try to acquire the pick. It just depends on whether players are still available at spots where the Suns can trade for extra picks.
So what do you think Brightsiders? Are you more confident, less confident, or indifferent? Anything here that catches your eye?