Walter Davis. Sweet D. The player with the silky smooth stroke was also the last player selected by the Suns at the #5 overall spot when he was taken in 1977. It was also the only time the Suns have picked fifth in their draft history. Which means the Suns have a proven track record of hitting on the #5 pick! That propitiates well for tomorrow tonight... barring an unlikely trade to move from the spot.
Walter Davis was my first favorite Sun. Coincidentally, whomever the Suns pick at #5 tomorrow will be my new favorite Sun. Eerie.
Listen in as professional scout Kris Habbas and (insert defamatory remark here) I break it on down before the festivities. And let's all hope the Suns get their new Prince Charming... instead of watching their shiny new player turn into a pumpkin.
Ben McLemore from Kansas University was arguably the best freshman in all of college basketball during the 2012-13 season. Before the start of the season, no one was expecting McLemore to be a lottery talent in the 2013 draft. A year later (and a day before the draft), he is considered to be one of the most talented prospects in his draft class and could go anywhere in the top 5.
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After he was ruled ineligible to play for the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2011-12 season due to issues concerning his multiple transcripts from different high schools, McLemore went on to enjoy a remarkable redshirt freshman year in 2012-13. He posted very remarkably efficient numbers to lead his team to a #1 seed, averaging nearly 16 points per game on 50% shooting from the field, 42% from three, and 87% from the free throw line. He was also a great rebounder for his position, grabbing over 5 per game, and was a solid (albeit a bit inconsistent) defender during his year at Kansas.
Ben McLemore would bring a much needed scoring punch to this Suns roster. Coach Hornacek has commented on the need for three point shooters in the offense he plans to run, and McLemore would bring that in bunches. As a super-athletic shooter (boasts a 42" max vertical), he would be a great complement to Goran Dragic in the backcourt. One thing he would not bring, however, is playmaking ability. Much like the other member of the top two shooting guards in this year's draft, Victor Oladipo (check out Sean Sullivan's preview of Oladipo), he needs to work on his ball-handling skills to get better at creating offense.
McLemore has also faced his fair share of controversy. His former AAU coach recently revealed that he accepted money and benefits from an agent to influence McLemore's decision to commit to Kansas. Moreover, McLemore just signed with the very agent that made those payments to his former coach. On top of this controversy are the academic ineligibility issues he has faced.
However, I really wouldn't put much stock into any of these issues. Ben McLemore dealt with a notoriously tough childhood riddled with poverty and hunger. By all accounts, he seems to be a very humble 20 year old with a good head on his shoulders. He is also a smart basketball player and doesn't make many mistakes, as evidenced by his very efficient playing style.
There have been recent rumblings that McLemore's stock has fallen as a result of poor workouts in Orlando and Phoenix. I have no idea how to interpret this, since it could very well be a play by a team's front office (maybe our own) to lower his draft stock.
All in all, I would be thrilled to see Ben McLemore wearing a Suns hat by the end of Thursday night. OH WAIT.
Tony Snell from New Mexico is another efficient player that the Suns could target, this time with the 30th pick in the draft. Possessing stellar size and length for a wing player, he projects to be a solid small forward prospect for the Suns to target at the end of the first round, if he's still on the board.
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Tony Snell has some of the best measurements of any wing player in this draft. At over 6'7" tall with a wingspan of nearly 7', he has great size for the SG/SF position. On top of that, he displayed amazing quickness at the combine, with a lane agility score higher than both McLemore's and Oladipo's. He also possesses solid athleticism and speed. One area of his physical attributes that he needs to work on however, is his weight. In order to defend NBA small forwards, he will need to gain a decent amount of weight and get stronger.
On top of his stellar physical profile, Snell has another skill that scouts love: his ability to shoot the ball. He is very good in catch-and-shoot situations as well as weaving through screens to get off his jumpshot (he shot 39% from three and 84% from the free throw line). He is also a good playmaker for his position, averaging 2.9 assists during his junior year. On the other side of the court, Snell has proved to be a very solid defender, where he uses his great physical profile to his full capacity.
Even though he is a very good shooter (or perhaps because he is), Snell has a tendency to settle for jumpshots, with a staggering 48% of all of his shots coming from the three point line. Although he is a good athlete, is extremely quick, and has decent ball-handling skills, the biggest knock on Snell has been his lack of aggressiveness. In 2012-13, his junior season at New Mexico, he only averaged a shade over 12 points on just 9 attempts per game. To his credit, he has addressed this perception of him in draft interviews and has vowed to prove critics wrong (and is apparently having great workouts). Another area of weakness is rebounding - he only pulled down 2.6 boards per game, which is a pretty terribly number for someone with his measurables.
Although he sometimes seems to lack a motor (unlike a player he has the potential to be, and that's not just because of the corn rows) and is a poor rebounder, I really like Snell's chances of success at the next level. I think he could be a good "D-and-3" player, much like Brandon Rush, Danny Green, or Dorell Wright, and has the potential to be as good as Kawhi Leonard (minus the rebounding), given that he improves upon his weaknesses.
I think Tony Snell be a great pick for the Suns at 30, but I doubt he lasts that long.
If the Suns obtain an additional late lottery pick, possibly through a Gortat (to Portland or OKC) or Dudley trade, one prospect to look out for is Steven Adams. The 7 footer from New Zealand was limited in his one season at Pitt, but showed enough of his talent and potential to scouts to be considered a mid-first round pick in the 2013 draft.
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Steven Adams' main assets as an NBA prospect at this stage are unquestionably his physical attributes. He has one of the best physical profiles of any of the center prospects in the draft. He is a legitimate 7 footer with a great wingspan, solid weight, and good speed and athleticism.
Adams is a defensive center with great size and length. He is very quick for his size and uses his speed and mobility to not only block shots but to also defend quicker players. He runs the floor extremely well and possesses a very high motor.
While Adams' body is NBA-ready, his offensive game is not. He is a very raw prospect and it will take time for him to contribute in the NBA. He was a late bloomer to the sport (he also turns only 20 in a month) and his unpolished offensive game limited him in his lone year at Pitt, where he only played 23 minutes per game, averaging over 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in those minutes. While he was efficient from the field, he shoot an extremely poor 44% from the free throw line.
At Pitt, he was never the focal point of the offense, only responsible for 11% of his team's total possessions. In fact, most of his touches came from offensive rebounds, which he grabbed tenaciously. Adams uses his size, length, motor, and intensity to corral misses at a high rate. However, he is not a great finisher, lacks touch, and needs to improve his footwork and post moves.
Although Steven Adams is a very raw talent and will be a long-term project, I believe his potential as an NBA center, coupled with his great physical profile, makes him a good prospect to target with a mid-first round pick. While his offensive game will take time to develop, he will be able to contribute on the defensive end immediately. Furthermore, he apparently had some great workouts in the last month.
If the Suns acquire a late lottery or mid-first round pick, Steven Adams could be a solid candidate to consider. Also, he has a cool accent and is one of the best interviewees in the draft.
A draft that nets the Suns Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, and Steven Adams in Phoenix would have to be considered a success. In the first two, the Suns would get talent, athleticism, shooting, and depth at the wing positions and in the latter, they would get a great big man to groom for the future.
On the day that Jason Richardson was traded to the Orlando Magic, the Suns' perennial top need shifted from Center to Shooting Guard. That day was about 30 months ago. 2.5 NBA seasons ago. A long time.
For years in the mid-2000s, the Suns' only weakness was at the pivot position. The Suns regularly were outrebounded, and tended to lose big games due, in part, to lack of talent in the pivot.
In December of 2010, new Suns President of Basketball Operations made the first bold move of his tenure when he traded SG Jason Richardson, SF Hedo Turkoglu and PF Earl Clark to Orlando for C Marcin Gortat, SG Vince Carter and SG Mikael Pietrus.
With Carter and Pietrus disappointing their Suns stints and set to become free agents the next summer while young-ish Marcin Gortat was under contract for three more seasons, the Suns effectively moved their "biggest hole" from center to shooting guard.
That spring, then head coach Alvin Gentry said the Suns biggest need in the draft and free agency was at shooting guard. Alvin Gentry, spring 2011: "We've got to be little better from the standpoint of being able to have a go-to guy where we don't count on Steve (Nash) to create every play at the end of the game and to make every shot in situations like that."
But the Suns needed size at the power forward position too, and they drafted Markieff Morris when there wasn't a better shooting guard available at the 13th spot.
Last spring, it was all about drafting one of the four best shooting guard prospects in the 2012 draft. But when all four were gone by the 12th pick, the Suns shifted focus to Steve Nash's potential replacement.
Nearly two and a half years after trading Richardson, the Suns still need a shooting guard.
Mock drafts are shifting on a daily basis, but it does look like the Suns could finally fill that position with either Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo.
Unfortunately, there are needs at a lot more than one position these days. The Suns also need a center of the future (Gortat is a free agent in a year), a power forward of the future (Morris has not shown he is starting quality for a good team) and small forward of the future (SuperCool's spot, along with another Morris), and even have a need at point guard (Marshall's future is questionable at this time).
Yet the Suns should not be swayed by offers to fill multiple positions at once by trading down from 5th overall.
The Suns need to draft the best possible player at 5th overall with one of the following, in THIS order:
That's it. That should be the Suns' big board for 5th position. Anthony Bennett would be 6th on that list, but he is not more talented than Otto Porter so he should not be considered.
All the Suns need is a top-5 list for that first pick. The Suns may have those five in a different order, and that's their prerogative. But it should still be THOSE FIVE GUYS.
If the Suns like up to 8 guys, which has been hinted by McDonough and later re-iterated by Robert Sarver, then trade for another top-10 pick to take a second player from that top-8 too. But don't trade down, and don't leave this draft without one of those 5 guys in your back pocket.
Please, Suns. Don't over think that first selection.
On Thursday, June 27, the Phoenix Suns will participate in the 2013 NBA Draft. Just four days later, the summer free agency period begins in earnest, though no deals can be signed for up to two weeks later.
This is a huge week for the Suns franchise, and lots of fake rumors and not-yet-fizzled trade "negotiations" will be rumored in that time with almost nothing coming to fruition.
So far, the Suns are apparently...
1) if you see a rumor, post it here
2) if you get it off twitter, BE CAREFUL. A lot of fake accounts are made this time of year. Already, the JR Smith rumor was proliferated by a fake Stein account. The real account: ESPNSteinLine. The fake account: ESPNStienLine. The same will be done in various ways to every major journalist that breaks stories. BE CAREFUL!
That's it. That's all the rules!