When Phoenix traded Boris Diaw to Charlotte for Jason Richardson back in 2008, it received Jared Dudley as an extra throw-in as part of the deal. What the Suns didn’t know: they were getting...

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Solar-flare

It's lotto week!

The last couple of weeks have provided Suns fans with next to zero news, despite this being one of the Suns' most important offseasons in franchise history. Clearly, new GM Ryan McDonough is not all about flash and sound bytes. He'd rather just pick the right people - coaches and players - to move this franchise forward.

Lotto

Tuesday night, Suns fans will finally find out what all this angst for the past few years has brought on the Suns franchise. While it's just about random bouncing balls, fans will undoubtedly apply the results to some version of 'karma'. If the Suns lose ground (ie. pick 5-7), then the franchise is now cursed. If the Suns gain ground (ie. 1-3) then it's the basketball gods laughing at us since this is the worst Top-3 draft in years. This draft is heavy on depth but lacks any surefire superstars at the top.

For luck, the Suns are sending Lon Babby to the show.

Coach

In another lottery, the Suns are soon going to pick from a pile of up-and-coming assistant coaches to lead this team into the next few years. Expect the hire to be a guy who embraces analytics and is willing to take a job likely to produce 50-60 losses in the next 12 months. The coach will be growing with the team, much like Monty Williams in New Orleans (still respected despite horrific loss counts) and hopefully not like Mike Dunlap in Charlotte (fired after one season).

Rumor has it that the Suns want a coach in place for individual player workouts in prep for the draft, and the sooner the better. The problem with that is some of the best options - Brian Shaw (Indiana), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger (Grizzlies) - are all coaching for at least 1-2 more weeks and possible right up until mere days before the draft.

An inquiry to Lon Babby about the timing of a hiring went unanswered, so we don't know if the Suns are willing to wait until mid-June to hire their next coach.

The hot assistants available at this moment include J.B. Bickerstaff and Kelvin Sampson (Rockets), Jeff Hornacek (Jazz), Quin Snyder (Russia/Lakers) and Steve Clifford (Lakers). Suns GM Ryan McDonough used to work with Rockets GM Daryl Morey, so you can expect some real talk between them about the two Rockets guys.

Will the Suns choose from that letter group, or wait patiently for the playoffs to end?

Will they surprise us with someone we haven't heard of?

Or will they keep Lindsey Hunter, who got an interview last week?

Stay tuned.

Draft

No word yet on the profile of pick the Suns want in June.

Smart money says that's because there's not a single untouchable position on the roster, leaving every prospect still on the Suns' board. And that likely won't change with the lottery on Tuesday night. The top picks are so interchangeable that we won't know who "won" the draft for at least a year, if not three.

If McDonough can pick out a future star like he did Rajon Rondo in 2006 (was drafted 21st but Celtics had him in the top 2), then we are in good shape. That's the real key to the draft. Have the draft position and player-evaluation talent to pick the best of the bunch.

No word of workouts in Phoenix, or even of favorites from the Combine last weekend. Heck, we don't even know who the Suns interviewed among the top talents.

Ok, I'm done rambling about absolutely nothing. No news is no news.

Your turn!

Stability hasn’t been there for the Phoenix Suns. The franchise has essentially required turnstyles just to keep their coaching and front office staffs in relative order. And for Michael...

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Centers/Power Forwards:

Measurements:

Name Height W/O Shoes Height With Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width

Gorgui Dieng

6' 9.75'' 6' 10.75'' 229.6 7' 3.5'' 9' 3.5'' 5.35 9 10

Rudy Gobert

7' 0.5''

7' 2''

237.6

7' 8.5''

9' 7''

4.4

9.75

10
Alex Len
NULL NULL NULL 7' 3.5'' NULL 6.4 9

10.75

Nerlens Noel

6' 10'' 6' 11.75'' 206.4 7' 3.75'' 9' 2''

4.15

9.5 10

Kelly Olynyk

6' 10.75'' 7' 0'' 234 6' 9.75'' 9' 0'' 6.65 8.5 10

Mason Plumlee

6' 11.25'' 7' 0.5''

238.2

6' 11'' 9' 0'' 6.15

9.75

9.5

Cody Zeller

6' 10.75'' 7' 0.25'' 230 6' 10.75'' 8' 10'' 4.75 8.5 10.5

The seven bigs listed above all have a chance of being lottery picks (along with Anthony Bennett who didn't attend), though some of their performances may have hurt those chances. Judging by the measurables alone, Rudy Gobert from France was by far the most impressive. Gobert has a massive standing reach of 9'7" and a 7'8.5" wingspan. However, when speaking of players you've actually heard of, Gorgui Dieng, Alex Len, and Nerlens Noel measured out the best. Dieng and Len edged out Noel in the standing reach category, but Noel has a slightly longer wingspan than Dieng. It's also worth noting that Alex Len only participated in a couple of these events because of a freshly repaired stress fracture, so with his wingspan and height, his standing reach would have been second only to Gobert.

Kelly Olynyk and Cody Zeller were the least impressive of the group, with shorter arms/reaches compared to other players their height. We knew Zeller's reach wasn't that great, but an 8'10" standing reach for a 7-footer is pretty low. The same can be said for Olynyk and his reach which is actually one inch shorter than his height. Therefore, Olynyk earns the T-Rex distinction of the group for this year's group of prospects.

Results:
Name 3/4 Court Sprint Time
Lane Agility Time
Modified Time
Standing Vertical
Max Vertical

Gorgui Dieng

NULL NULL NULL NULL NULL

Rudy Gobert

3.57 12.85
3.19
25 29

Alex Len

NULL NULL NULL NULL NULL

Nerlens Noel


NULL

NULL

NULL


NULL

NULL

Kelly Olynyk

3.59 11.42 2.99 24.5 29.5

Mason Plumlee

3.29 10.89 2.76 30.5 36

Cody Zeller

3.15

10.82

2.69

35.5

37.5

Just when you thought Cody Zeller was finished, he comes storming back to relevance by showing just how underrated his athleticism was this year. Everyone knew how skilled he was offensively, but super athletic?

I have mentioned it many times before...Zeller is a much better athlete than his brother and was very underrated in that respect, but even I was surprised by his results. Zeller not only had the best standing vertical of any big at the combine, it's the highest standing vertical by any player over 6'9" in the history of the NBA Combine. If you don't think this is important, ask yourself how many times bigs have to jump straight up from a stand still to grab rebounds or putbacks. Not only that, but his speed at running the floor and his lane agility were all tops as well...very impressive numbers overall for a big. Although Zeller lacks in wingspan and reach, his agility and hops help to make up for it...which could really help his case among scouts and front offices who may have been leery of him otherwise.

Mason Plumlee also showed off his expected agility and athleticism which could possibly help him to become a late lottery pick as well. As for Gobert who was highly touted as being very athletic for a man his size, well...maybe not so much. Gobert came crashing back down to earth on the second day with some less than impressive numbers across all categories. I still think he moves well for a big and seems to play more athletically than he tested at the combine, but I think these numbers significantly hurt his chances of rising up the mocks into the lottery.

Conclusion:

The bigs were far less telling than the guards, because of the number of top prospects who were injured and not participating. While Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee probably did the most to help their cases of being lottery picks, the real winners here were still Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, and Anthony Bennett, who although missed many, or all, of the categories, were still able to retain their top rankings...due to none of the other prospects doing enough to unseat them.

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Shooting Guards/Small Forwards:

Measurements:

Name Height W/O Shoes Height With Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width
Shooting Guards
C.J. McCollum (SG) 6' 2.25'' 6' 3.25'' 197 6' 6.25'' 8' 0.5'' 8.6 8 9.5
Ben McLemore (SG) 6' 3.5'' 6' 4.75'' 189.2 6' 7.75'' 8' 4.5'' 5 8.75 9.5
Victor Oladipo (SG) 6' 3.25'' 6' 4.25'' 213.2 6' 9.25'' 8' 4.5'' 6.55 8.75 9.25
Small Forwards
Shabazz Muhammad (SF) 6' 4.75'' 6' 6.25'' 221.8 6' 11'' 8' 8.5'' 9 9 10
Otto Porter (SF) 6' 7.5'' 6' 8.5'' 197.6 7' 1.5'' 8' 9.5'' 6.65 8.75 9.25

For the shooting guards, Oladipo stood out the most overall with his 6"9.25" reach, making him the longest guard in this group. While McLemore is technically the tallest, it's hard to call that a win for him being that he is only one-quarter of an inch taller than Oladipo, when many scouts thought he was 1"-2" inches taller. McLemore is the leanest with only 5% body fat, but Oladipo isn't much more at 6.55%, and when you couple that with his weight of 213 lbs, it shows that he has the strongest, most NBA-ready body by far.

As for the small forwards, it's a two-man competition for the prospective lottery players with Dario Saric not participating in the NBA Combine. Porter wins the measurabes with ease as he registers nearly three inches taller than Shabazz without shoes. Although Muhammad's 6'11" wingspan is very impressive, Porter still manages to one-up him here registering a 7'1.5" measurement. Muhammad does win the size contest weighing in at 221lbs compared to Porter at a svelte 197.6, but he's also at 9% body fat compared to Porter at only 6.65%. Still, Shabazz calculates to around 20lbs of total body fat compared to Porter at around 13lbs....only a 7lb difference. So Muhammad's weight advantage is still mostly muscle...which is good.

Results:
Name 3/4 Court Sprint Time
Lane Agility Time
Modified Time
Standing Vertical
Max Vertical
Shooting Guards


C.J. McCollum (SG) 3.32 11.02 2.91 (14th overall)
32 (15th overall)
38.5 (14th overall)
Ben McLemore (SG) 3.27 (20th overall)
11.87 3.11 32.5 (13th overall)
42 (Tied 2nd overall)
Victor Oladipo (SG) 3.25 (17th overall)
10.69 (11th overall)
3.14 33 (11th overall)
42 (Tied 2nd overall)
Small Forwards
Shabazz Muhammad (SF) 3.32 10.99 2.93 29.5 37
Otto Porter (SF) 3.4 11.25 3.06 27 36

The story here for the guards is Oladipo's athleticism. While McLemore proved he is no doubt an elite athlete, Oladipo proved he is even more so. McLemore and Oladipo tied for 2nd place overall with 42" max verticals (only PG Shane Larkin registered higher at 44"). While Oladipo registered slightly higher in the standing vertical and 3/4 court sprint, the difference was very minor, so they are both fairly comparable in these regards. The biggest difference was in the lane agility drill, where Oladipo showed his lateral quickness and ability to move side-to-side, forward, and backwards with a substantial advantage over McLemore...who actually fell down at the conclusion of the drill by losing his balance. In contrast, Oladipo stayed very low to the court and showed terrific agility and body control...this was apparent just by watching him.

As for the small forwards, Muhammad ran the table on Porter here, but didn't really set himself apart from the rest of the pack in any substantial way. Porter is not an elite athlete, and while Muhammad is more athletic, he isn't considered high-level or elite by any means either. Tim Hardaway Jr. was actually the most impressive small forward in this regard, but is not considered a lottery pick by most accounts, so he was not part of this comparison.

Conclusion:

If the Suns are going to draft a wing with their first round pick, which will fall somewhere between 1-7, there's a 99% chance it will be one of these five players. For the shooting guards, Oladipo showed he was the fastest, strongest, quickest, and most athletic, as well as the longest of the potential lottery SGs. As for the small forwards, in my opinion, Porter was slightly more impressive overall by virtue of his measurables. Although Muhammad showed he is the more athletic of the two, even his scores were mediocre, so I wouldn't really call that a win in his favor.

One thing to keep in mind is that these measurements and skills are only a small part of the total package of what constitutes a great basketball player. However, in a league where relatively small differences separate the cream from the crop, these metrics are important to many scouts and front office personnel who are trying to find the best indicators of potential and productivity. In other words, this isn't the be-all-end-all by any means, but it can certainly help or hurt your draft stock.

*All officially recorded stats from NBA.com

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