In the past week, the Phoenix Suns have had a lot of players come through US Airways Arena. New coach Jeff Hornacek has run all the healthy ones through demanding conditioning and full-court drills to test how prepared they are for the rigors of the NBA.
"If you see a guy who dogs it in this, that probably knocks him right off the radar for me," Hornacek said after day one.
The injured guys (Anthony Bennett and Alex Len) came in for interviews.
Among the top ten ranked players on Kris' Big Board, all but Otto Porter (2) and Nerlens Noel (1) have flown to Phoenix, interviewed and/or worked out in recent days. But don't fret. The Suns have two more workouts this weekend, so don't be surprised if at least Porter attends one of them. Only Noel is holding out from any teams outside the top two.
But after the top ten, most the rest of the attendees have been no better than second-round and free agent talents.
Among the 11th-20th ranked players on Kris' Big Board, just three have been here so far: Shabazz Muhammad (12), C.J. McCollum (14) and Shane Larkin (20). Big Boards vary at this time of year, but a review of draftexpress.com's top-100 ups that only to 4 of the middle 10.
Among the 21st-30th ranked players on Kris' Big Board, just one has visited: Archie Goodwin (21). Draftexpress.com also lists Suns visitors Nate Wolters and Erick Green in their top 30.
Notably absent from visits so far are many of the first-round center prospects. Just Rudy Gobert (7 on Kris' Board) and Alex Len (4th) have been in the hallowed halls. Cody Zeller visited as well, though he projects as a forward/center in the pros.
Two big workouts remain on the pre-planned slate - Sunday and Monday. Don't be surprised to see more mid-first picks come waltzing through the door.
"We've talked to a few teams about getting in the draft at different ranges," McDonough said. "We have good assets to do that. We have to evaluate all of these guys, figure out where they're going to go. And then if we can get in at a particular range where a guy is undervalued, we'll try to get in and get him there."
A better indication of the Suns plans, however, would be to bring in the prospects currently ranked 11-30 in the Draft. I highly doubt the Suns would draft a player based solely on film. There are nearly three weeks remaining until the Draft though, so there's plenty of time to bring more kids in.
Stay tuned on Sunday and Monday for the last two days of the initial round of participants to work out in front of Jeff Hornacek and interview with the Suns front office. After that, the workouts will be a result of zeroing in on certain players, inviting last-minute risers for a visit or circling back around for the guys who couldn't attend week one due to other commitments.
It would be thrilling to the Suns fan base to bring in two of the top ten talents, like Oladipo/Gobert or McLemore/McCollum. Even a draft of Len/Franklin would be great, or Bennett/Muhammad. Or some combination thereof.
As far as assets are concerned, the Suns have picks 5, 30 and 57 in this draft; the mostly non-guaranteed contracts of Shannon Brown, Hamed Haddadi and P.J. Tucker (good for salary matching as needed); four more first-round picks in the next two years, including three of them potentially in the lottery; and four second round picks in the next two years, all four likely near the top of the round.
On top of that, players like Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall have varying degrees of trade value. With the Suns not projected to win more than 25 with the current roster, there's no reason not to explore every single player's trade value.
Only the trade chips of Goran Dragic and the #5 overall pick would appear to be stuffed in a back pocket, unless the team is completely bowled over.
I, for one, implore the Suns to do whatever they can to acquire another lottery pick and even move up from #30 as well. The more talent you bring in, the better. Youth is paramount at this point. Veterans cannot be kept for nostalgic reasons. The Suns are already at the bottom of the West. Getting younger won't make it any worse.
One of the more frequently mentioned names attached to the Phoenix Suns during the draft process has been Anthony Bennett. The former UNLV star came in to interview with the team today concluding the process of interviews for the No. 5 pick, on the surface.
With Bennett (No. 7 on the Big Board) still recovering from left shoulder surgery he was not able to workout, but was interviewed by the team, measured, and then taken out to lunch. Like all the other top prospects he will get the full service to see if he fits the teams future. He had rotator cuff surgery in May that successfully repaired a "SLAP tear" in his left shoulder. The surgery will sideline him through Summer League, but should not effect his attendance at Training Camp.
As a versatile forward Bennett can play the three and the four, but is more suited for the four with his strength. The team is not concerned with him being "undersized" because he has adequate length and reach.
In this group Bennett was the only option for the No. 5 pick so far the only prospects that have not been brought into town are Nerlens Noel (unlikely according to reports) and Otto Porter Jr. who has been quiet on the workout front.
The rest of the group was rounded out with some interesting options for the No. 30 pick in Archie Goodwin (21), Jackie Carmichael (33), Erick Green (46), and Nate Wolters (47). Over the past three days the Suns have exhausted the point guard options bringing in eight in over the last three days. Green is a scorer, combo guard, and the team seemed to really like what he provides as a threat from the perimeter. Wolters is an elite shooter, but lacks top end athleticism for the position.
The really intriguing prospects today were Goodwin and Carmichael.
After the workout the praise of Goodwin was being sung by the entire staff. He impressed them with his shooting and he told me that he has shot the ball really well his last two workouts. Goodwin has the potential to be a very good NBA player with his athleticism and raw ability, but he has not learned how to put it together just yet. Like most 18 year old prospects. A future backcourt (if Goodwin reaches his potential) of Goran Dragic and Goodwin is about as athletic as they come with tremendous potential defensively.
The other side of the spectrum is where Carmichael lies. He is a polished four that will have a very defined role at the next level. As a rebounder and energy player there are not many prospects at the four better than Carmichael at No. 30 or in general. He is a talented and polished four, but where does he fit in long term?
Here is a scouting take on the prospects:
***The team has now had in Ben McLemore, Alex Len, Victor Oladipo, Rudy Gobert, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, C.J. McCollum, Cody Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad, and now Bennett in for workouts as options at No. 5
***The direction the team goes with the No. 5 pick will likely dictate the direction they go with the No. 30 pick. "I think it is tough to bring in two rookies at the same position, there can be times where they stunt each others growth," GM Ryan McDonough
***There will be workouts schedules for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday