Typically after a draft, the team sends out its General Manager. The Suns sent Alvin Gentry out to talk to the media about the Suns' picks. We've beat the Kerr departure thing to death, so let's get right to it.
In Lawal and Collins, the Suns essentially drafted the same guy. Both right around the same height and both are physical, long defensive players with raw offensive skills. You'd think the Suns are worried about losing Lou Amundson to free agency while facing the potential of losing Amare, as well.
Neither of these guys will come close to replacing Amare's offense, but at least they are big bodies who will be hungry to play in the NBA.
"One of the things we have to continue to do is get better defensively here and I think the way that you do that is get good defensive players. It's pretty simple," Gentry said about the picks.
We'll get a good look at them in Summer League. Or at least at Lawal. Collins had his knee scoped on June 18th to fix a slight meniscus tear, which may prevent him from fully participating in the Vegas workouts.
The Suns likely won't decide until after training camp whether either player will make the roster for next season.
"I think both of those guys have an opportunity to maybe do something. I just think they're very competitive, they play really hard, they'll be great guys to have in practice," Gentry said about their chances before adding, "We expect for them to come in and participate in Summer League and we'll see what happens from there. But we're excited about these two guys. I don't think you can ever have too much size in this league."
"Sporting an excellent physical profile highlighted by a 7'0 wingspan, Lawal has always been lauded for his athleticism and tremendous work ethic. While those two attributes have afforded him quite a bit of success on the NCAA level, Lawal's post footwork, jump shooting, and passing lagged behind his ability to impose his will on lesser athletes in the paint.
"Away from the block, Lawal remains limited. He rarely attempts a jump-shot, taking less than one per game according to our data. He has improved from the foul line, upping his percentages more than 10% from last season. Continuing to improve his range will be a key for him as he moves forward in his career."
So the Suns go with a pretty raw, big bodied guy who can't shoot free throws. I'll admit, I know nothing about Gani, but he looks to me to be a guy who could be a beast, a defensive specialist. But he came out of GT early, and with his deficiencies....Well Gani, enjoy the D-League if you get that far, welcome to Planet Orange.
According to Chad Ford, Collins has the largest differential between wingspan (7' 4") and height. He also has the largest hands I've ever personally seen. Bigger than Amare's and probably as big as Shaq's. He said they measure roughly 10 inches from thumb to pinky and about about 9.5 from palm to tip of middle finger. His standing reach is 9' 1.5". For comparison, DeJuan Blair's standing reach is 8' 10.5" and Lou Amundson is 8' 7.5".
Todd Quinter calls him a physical paint player, a good rebounder and post defender with underdeveloped offensive skills. He loves to attack the rim and dunk the ball. He sees himself as a Ben Wallace-type player who takes pride in defense and rebounding, though there are some questions about his motor.
Collins had his knee scoped on June 18th to repair a slightly torn meniscus. He thinks he will be ready to play in the latter part of Vegas Summer League (mid-July). He was in Phoenix for interviews and meet-and-greets. Before having his knee scoped, he worked out for New Jersey, New York, Miami, and Oklahoma and expects to be drafted in the middle of the second round.
At 6’8 with a chiseled 232-pound frame, Collins has adequate height for an NBA power forward, but is severely undersized for his natural position of center. He is able to compensate somewhat with a tremendous wingspan (rumored to be 7’3), terrific frame and solid athleticism. Though he does not possess elite explosiveness or quickness, he is clearly above average and has the length and aggressiveness to compete at the next level.
On the offensive end, Collins has progressed slowly throughout his time at Miami, even if he still has a raw post game. He shows average footwork but looks more comfortable receiving the ball with his back to the basket these days, able to resort to a drop-step, a variety of hook shots, and even, at times, a turnaround jump shot. He is shooting a spectacular 60.4% from the field, which ranks him tenth among prospects in our database. This is indicative of the excellent position he’s often able to establish around the basket, as well as his very good finishing ability. Similarly, he continues to get to the line at a nice rate, averaging 8.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and ranking in the top 20 of our database in free throw attempts per possession, even if he shoots just 56.9% from the line.
As you probably heard, Robert Sarver was on KTAR bravely speaking to callers and otherwise defending and or explaining the recent front office developments among other Suns issues. As Sarver and Co. prepare for a formal offer to Amare next week, Bob had this to say about the max contract issue:
"When you look at who your highest paid player on your team is going to be and you look at a long term contract and you're looking at - now I've given Amare a max contract before, he already had a max contract before, he's finishing that up. I think when you look at a second max contract for a player you need to look at ability on the court, you need to look at leadership and you need to look at health and all those things play a factor. And so, I am prepared to give Amare a max contract, it's going to be a question of for how long. I think that's the biggest issue to be honest with you."
So, if you believe his words, Sarver is prepared to go the max money route. Obviously, the issue is how far does he want to go. What do you all think?