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.