Here's a look at some of the power forward prospects prior to the NBA Draft Combine later this month, whom the Suns may be able to choose from with one or more of their three first round picks in the coming draft.

This is part two of the power forwards Pre-NBA Draft Combine preview...to see part one, click here

These are some of the power forwards that the Suns could be keeping a close eye on in the coming draft combine that could be potential candidates for their 18th or 27th pick.

18th Pick

T.J. Warren

6'8", 230lbs, 20 years old, North Carolina St.

Strengths: Great Scorer, Strong, Good Shooter, High B-ball I.Q.

Weaknesses: Tweener, Not Great Athlete, Average Length

Although T.J. Warren may project to be more of a small forward in the NBA, I think his game is much better suited to the power forward position, with his strength and natural ability to score in and around the post....especially for the Suns, who depend on their wings to spread the floor.

If Warren had a few more inches of height and wingspan, he would be one of the top big man prospects in the draft. Warren was the third leading scorer in college basketball this season, behind Doug McDermott and Antoine Mason...and did so while shooting 55% from the field overall...higher than both of them.  He would be a tremendous value as a mid round pick.


Clint Capela

6'11", 210lbs, 19 years old, Chalon (Intl)

Clint_capela_stats_medium

(click to enlarge) (stats courtesy of realgm)

Strengths: Great Athlete, Runs Floor Very Well, Long, Good Rebounder, Great Finisher, Long Wingspan

Weaknesses: Very Raw, Lacks Post Game, Needs to Add Strength

Capela was once mocked as a mid first round pick, with some scouts claiming he could go in the late lottery.  He certainly has all of the tools...and his length, athleticism, 7'4" wingspan, and defensive ability make him a very intriguing prospect for the NBA.

However, he disappointed some in the latest Nike Hoop Summit failing to make much of an impact which caused him to slide in the mocks lately.  He also doesn't have a great deal of offensive or defensive awareness, and is still learning how to play the game at a high level.  He also has a reputation for a lack of effort at times.

Still, he is a young and very raw prospect with a lot of physical tools and natural talent.  He could be a very worthwhile investment for a team willing to be patient and develop him slowly.


27th Pick

James Michael McAdoo

6'9", 225lbs, 21 years old, North Carolina

Strengths: Elite Athleticism, Long, Strong Frame, Good Defender, Good Finisher

Weaknesses: Inconsistent Jump-Shot, Limited Offensively

James McAdoo is an interesting case.  I remember watching him coming off the bench as a freshman at UNC thinking that he could end up being a star once he figured it all out.  Well...three years have past and I'm still waiting for that to happen.

McAdoo has all of the physical gifts you could want in a basketball player.  He's 6'9" with a 7'1" wingspan, a chiseled frame, and pogo sticks for legs.  However,  in his three years at UNC, he hasn't really progressed much at all.  He still doesn't have much of a post game beyond his ability to dunk, and he hasn't improved his jump shot enough to be a reliable option within 15 feet.

Still, McAdoo has so much potential that he makes for a very intriguing prospect, especially in the late first round.  Most mocks have him pegged to be a second round pick, but with his raw physical talent and his attributes I could definitely see him as a late first round pick for a team willing to take a chance on him.   Could the Suns be that team?


Patric Young

6'9", 245lbs, 22 years old, Florida

Strengths: Athletic, NBA-Ready Frame, Super Strong, Good Rebounder, 7'1" Wingspan

Weaknesses: Very Limited Offense, Undersized (height), No Jump Shot, Inconsistent, Not Dominant

Patric Young has to be the most physically impressive basketball player I've ever seen...certainly at the college level.  Seriously, the guy is jacked.  He has muscles on top of muscles and looks more like a tight end than a center...In fact, rumor had it the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was interested in Young for the NFL...but that's a story for another day.

However, once you get past just how amazing a physical specimen he is...you start to wonder what else is there?  A guy with Young's size, strength, and athleticism should be absolutely dominating at the college level.  He looks like a man among boys out there...but his play is mostly underwhelming.  Sure, his stats aren't bad, and he's done a pretty good job as the starting center for Florida.  But what about in the NBA?

Regardless of his limitations, Young should have no problem carving out a spot on someone's roster as a back-up center, or possibly a low post power forward, if he can ever develop some sort of offensive game.  His size and rebounding alone is enough to almost guarantee that he can be successful in some role.  Although Young is currently mocked to go in the early to mid second round, I think there's a good chance he'll slip into the end of the first.  Could the Suns use a strong post player like Young to help fortify their front court?


What's Next?

So there you have it, the first batch of players to watch for in the coming NBA Draft Combine. I'll be posting another position group soon full of other players that the Suns will be looking at soon to follow.

With as many as three first round picks available, the Suns have a lot of choices to make.  Who do you like out of this group, if anyone, and what pick do you think the Suns will use on them?  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Poll
Which of these players most intrigues you, if any, for either the 18th or 27th pick?

  430 votes | Results

The Phoenix Suns have not had an MVP candidate since Steve Nash left town, but now have Goran Dragic joining the list in 2014.

Goran Dragic had a great season for the resurgent Phoenix Suns. He won the Most Improved Player Award last week, and he was one of only three players in twenty years to finish a season with 20+ points, 5+ assists, 50+% field goal shooting and 41+% three-point shooting.

Dragic did not make the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, but he seems a lock for an All-NBA bid and now at least showed up on a list of the top 17 most valuable players in the NBA.

Screen_shot_2014-05-06_at_8.15.05_am_medium

The top three rookies in the Rookie of the year voting this season played for some of the worst teams in the NBA, while five of the 14 lottery picks languished on the bench for winning teams.

The NBA announced on Monday that Michael Carter-Williams won the Kia Rookie of the Year Award for the 2013-14 season.

Carter-Williams averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds, joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and [the Phoenix Suns'] Alvan Adams (1975-76) as the only players since 1950-51 to pace all rookies in those three categories. He also joined Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Carter-Williams also led all rookies in steals (1.86 spg, sixth in NBA).

Coming in second was #2 overall pick Victor Oladipo, and third was #9 overall pick Trey Burke. All three players were primary ball handlers on some of the worst teams in the NBA.

These three players fit within the normal NBA profile - lottery picks are most likely to play big minutes because their teams are rebuilding. Later picks don't play as much as rookies because their team is trying to win games.

The two Phoenix Suns draft picks, #5 overall Alex Len and #29 overall Archie Goodwin, barely played this year for one of the best teams in the NBA.

There are exceptions, but by and large winning teams have no room in their rotation for a rookie. I'm not talking about 10-15 minutes a game here. I'm not even necessarily talking about MCW, Burke and Oladipo contributions, who played 30+ minutes a night.

Over 210 draft picks in the last four seasons, only EIGHT draft picks have played 20+ minutes per game for a winning team. That's a 3.5% chance for a rookie to play 20+ minutes for a winner.

Here is the exhaustive list of draft picks (any spot 1-60) who got 20+ minutes per game on winning or playoff team in last 4 seasons

*Some players are included because they made the playoffs, despite not having a winning record.

If you're counting, that's three players from the 2010 Draftfour players from the 2011 Draft (lockout year), one player from the 2012 Draft and none from last year. You could say that 2011 stands out as a good draft, but you could also say that those guys only got minutes because the free agent period lasted just 5 seconds or so after the new CBA was signed.

But that's it. Eight guys in four years. Eight of 210 draft picks.

Damian Lillard is not mentioned because the 2012-13 Blazers finished with just 34 wins on the season after a hot start. Mason Plumlee is not mentioned because he still didn't get to 20+ minutes on the Nets, even though the center position was decimated with Lopez and Garnett injures all season. Pablo Prigioni is not mentioned because he was 35 years old at the time he was a rookie. Gary Neal is not mentioned because he was in his fourth professional season when he signed with the Spurs.

On the flipside, there have not been many lottery picks in the past four years who even played on winning teams. Generally, lottery teams are losing teams.

Here is the list of recent lottery picks (taken 1-14) who struggled to get rotation time because they were on a winning team in their rookie season:

This list is quite telling as well. Only 10 lottery-picking teams in the past four seasons, since 2010, have either made the playoffs or finished with a winning record in that same year. Three of those 10 played their lottery pick 20+ minutes per game that year. Seven did not.

Five of those 10 winning/playoff teams who had lotto picks occurred in 2013-14 season alone.

Where am I going with all of this?

I guess when I saw the Rookie of the Year list yesterday, I thought to myself that Suns rookies Alex Len and Archie Goodwin never had a chance.

I gave Len a "grade" on the season of D-, which was meant to simply say he didn't have a good year. Even Alex would have to agree. But if you factor in how little a chance he got, maybe he deserved a bit more consideration.

The only other team in recent memory to win 48+ games and have a lotto pick even on their roster was the Oklahoma City Thunder thanks to trades that netted the #12 pick twice in the past four years while they gobbled up wins.

Sure the 2013 Draft was a downer. Not many stars to be had. Only eight players out of 60 even cracked the 20 mpg mark this season.

But remember that complicating the matter was the number of winning basketball teams who just couldn't give the time to their raw rookies while they tried to make the playoffs.

Once the Suns started winning, Len and Goodwin didn't have a chance to shine. So cut the rookies some slack, especially Alex Len, and let them grow at a pace that contributes to winning at the same time they are developing.

For a little more than three years, Steve Kerr was the general manager of the Suns, and the experience included a small slice of the life-long list of obstacles that makes him the seemingly perfect...

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Welcome to the Madhouse! Bright Side of the Sun is an amazing and diverse community and it deserves a place where the tyranny of topicality does not rule. And that's what The Madhouse is. It's Bright Side of the Sun's place to talk about whatever you want, whenever you want: favorite TV shows, news from around the league or how the Suns would have fared in the first round compared to #fullsquad. It's all fair game here.

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