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Alex Len

Len has had a meteoric rise to the top after impressive combine measurements and pre-draft workouts... or not. Despite being hobbled by a stress fracture in his left ankle that precluded him from participating in these events there is murmuring that Len might be the #1 overall pick. Maybe he interviews well? The Suns had a chance to figure that out firsthand when Len was among the highest profile workout group that came to Phoenix on June 5th as documented in this BSotS workout update.

Measurables

*Len's injury prevented him from regular combine measurements.

Height: 7' 1" (reported to be every inch of this)

Weight: 255 (Len entered last season at 255, but lost weight during the season... then had an adverse reaction to anesthesia which caused additional weight loss. Right now his weight is in the 240-250 range.)

Wingspan: 7' 3.5" (confirmed)

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Len may be capitalizing on falling stock from other players, then again he just might be the best player in the draft. His combination of size, mobility and physical tools make him a coveted specimen at the NBA level. Although his game is still somewhat raw he seared it a little around the edges last season by improving across the board. Unlike his counterparts among the draft class pantheon, no bad news has been good news for Len.

There is no posse. There is nobody trying to puppet his actions with questionable advice. He didn't decline an interview with the Suns because the fifth pick was beneath him. He doesn't have people questioning his heart and effort. With a slew of pros and an absence of cons it's not hard to be enamored with the young man.

Having just turned 20 (June 16th) his growth propitiates an upside that could make him an elite big at the NBA level. All recent indications suggest that Len will likely be gone when the Suns are on the clock, but if he falls to five I'm guessing he won't fall further.



Tony Mitchell

I know what you're thinking. Why the hell would the Suns draft another power forward? There's already a surfeit of fours on the roster. Well, maybe because they're hoping to get one that can actually play.

With Scola hopefully possibly gone this summer and an underwhelming cast behind him maybe a dice roll on a player with a better NBA body and athleticism is worth another look.

Measurables

Age: 21

Height: 6' 8.75" with shoes (since players don't play barefoot... except for Mike Miller draining threes)

Weight: 236

Standing Reach: 8' 10.5" (more important than height since players don't rebound or defend with the top of their heads)

Wingspan: 7' 2.5"

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How do these numbers compare to Markieff Morris coming out of college? They're actually pretty similar... except that Mitchell is younger, leaner, stronger and beats Morris by about 4" on wingspan and 6" on vertical jump. So what gives with the late first/early second projection?

Despite his body, athleticism, rebounding and shot blocking, Mitchell went through a significant regression his sophomore season (which a coaching change may have contributed to) and lacks offensive polish. Another area of concern is his questionable work ethic. He would be a work in progress, but at least the foundation isn't quicksand.

Mitchell visited the Suns for a workout on June 10th, as documented by Brightside's own Kris Habbas. Check out Kris's input and why he agrees with me that Mitchell would be a steal at #30.



C.J. McCollum

McCollum is on my wish list if the Suns acquire a second lottery pick in this year's draft. Before explaining why, here's the most likely scenario for him to don the (do we still have any) purple and orange.

Suns acquire Joel Freeland and #10 for Marcin Gortat (handshake deal). A combination (two out of three) of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Carter-Williams and/or Steven Adams jumps ahead of McCollum so that he falls to this selection. My vision may be doomed to failure, a la savagely beating monkeys with wrenches, due to the fact that the Suns have been rumored to have interest in multiple players from the above list. At least if the Suns pick #10 they should get one of their men.

Measurables

Age: 21

Height: 6' 3.25" with shoes

Weight: 197

Standing Reach: 8' 0.5"

Wingspan: 6' 6.25"

McCollum's combine measurements are eerily similar to last year's phenom Damian Lillard. Despite the matching physical profile, though, they are different players. McCollum lacks blow by speed, though he does have a quick first step, and has to use more body control and craftiness to attack the rim. McCollum is also not a prolific passer, having averaged just 2.9 assists per game last season.

What the two do have in common is an ability to put the biscuit in the basket. Not only is McCollum a pure scorer with the ability to create his own offense, but his shooting percentages are higher across the board than Lillard's were entering the draft. McCollum is a plus rebounder and has a high basketball IQ. In a draft class lacking skilled offensive players it is possible that McCollum may ascend to the top in that respect. The recent success of players from small schools who have made it big in the NBA, such as the aforementioned Lillard and Stephen Curry, have allayed some of the taboo associated with using lottery picks on small school gambles.

Hit this link for Dave King's quips about McCollum's workout for the Suns, including his stance on competing in workouts...

"I'm not running from anybody," C.J. McCollum said when asked about playing against the other point guards. "I'm working out against whoever. We're all basketball players, so there should be nothing to hide."

Except for players at the top of the big board who avoid competition like cockroaches scurrying away when the lights are turned on...



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So there you go, three players who would probably make fine additions to the Phoenix Suns, but probably won't end up on the team. If Len goes top four, McCollum top eight and Mitchell top 25 it will take some maneuvering for them to be sporting a Suns' cap on Thursday night.

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The Phoenix Suns recently hired Ryan McDonough away from the Boston Celtic front office to lead them into a new era. That new era has to be based on quality draft picks, so we can only hope that McDonough is better than the last ten years of guys who drafted for the Suns.

Yesterday, we saw how the Boston Celtics used one #5 overall pick and a bevy of players not drafted any higher than 15 to acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2007. Those acquisitions were a perfect storm of genius, luck and timing to turn a flagging franchise into a title winner overnight. And the draft picks were the key to the deal.

At the same time, the Phoenix Suns were riding a talented young core already in place to contend for championships themselves, while using the draft for money-making (or, cost avoidance) while they young players were getting extensions left and right.

By 2008, both teams experienced change in their draft philosophies. The Celtics, regularly drafting in the twenties, were looking for gems while the Phoenix Suns were trying to supplement their remaining players with "need-based" picks rather than Best Player Available.

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The Celtics bombed this draft, for sure. They missed on a half-dozen better players when they chose J.R Giddens at the bottom of the first round.

But the Suns did even worse because they were picking 15 spots higher, and thus missed on more than a dozen players who were either more talented than Robin Lopez or had better NBA careers, or both.

The Suns were filling needs in 2008. They still saw themselves as potential title contenders but they knew Nash wasn't going to last forever. They drafted for need in both rounds - taking Lopez to be a mobile center in an up tempo offense, and a point-guard-of-the-future in Goran Dragic. Dragic was a steal where he was taken, but Lopez was most definitely not.

Note: #24 had previously been traded in the KT dump, and was used by OKC to Serge Ibaka. Ugh.

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Boston had already traded their 2009 pick to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett, who helped them win a title and dominate the eastern airwaves for years. I'd say that's a better use of a late-first pick than Phoenix did in the KT trade.

For the Suns, this was a coulda shoulda woulda draft. The Suns almost acquired Steph Curry in this draft, and thought they had acquired him so they took a big man at 14. But Curry fell through and the Suns were stuck with a huge BUST in Earl Clark.

Again, Clark was a pick of need - the Suns needed a do-it-all big man and they thought Clark was the best fit. To their credit, only Taj Gibson became a big man worthy of having been taken at 15 overall. What they absolutely did NOT need was a PG because they had the veteran (Nash) and the second-year backup (Dragic). No less than 4 starting PGs were drafted after Clark.

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2010 was another banner year for the Celtics front office. In what turned out to be a bad draft for late-first rounders to succeed in the NBA, Avery Bradley was the best possible player for them at 19 when they picked. It is common knowledge that McDonough was the one who pegged Bradley for that pick.

For the Suns, the best part of the 2010 Draft was making the playoffs and not having to give a LOTTO PICK to OKC as final payment for taking KT off their hands. The 2010 pick had been unprotected.

As it turned out, OKC only got pick #24, which was used for Quincy Pondexter.

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Boston traded down two spots to pick up a future second rounder, taking JaJuan Johnson at 27. Johnson has done little in the NBA, though Etwan Moore has been okay. The Celtics missed bigtime in this draft, where the could have taken Jimmy Butler or Chandler Parsons at that spot and been much better off.

The Suns once again drafted for need. They openly wanted to get tougher, add rebounding, etc. They wanted a prototypically-sized PF. When you slot for one profile, your options dwindle. The Suns passed on a handful of better players who would be a better option than Morris at the 4 for the future. This is a "what might have been" draft, for sure.

Note: the Suns had acquired and traded #23 within three months, and could have taken someone like Brooks, Butler or Parsons if they'd kept the pick. Also, they had previously traded the second rounder for Hakim Warrick.

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Now we come to last season. The Suns, again, drafted for need and took a point guard knowing they were going to let Steve Nash go. Again, options dwindle when you pick for one position. Marshall was the highest-rated remaining point guard, so they took him. Just like Lopez was a mobile center they wanted in 2008, Clark was the highest-rated remaining big man in 2009, and Morris looked like the best pure 4 in 2011. But in each of those drafts, there were better players available at different positions.

Boston drafted for need here as well, and got good value in Sullinger... that is, until his feared back condition became reality and he went down for the season. Melo was a need as a defensive center, but has not yet developed into that.

Where these two teams are picking, the winners of the 2012 draft are still completely up in the air.

Summary

In summary, there are four takeaways for me:

  1. Boston has drafted better than the Suns with worse picks
  2. Don't trade away future unprotected assets unless you're going to replace them in other deals later!
  3. Don't draft for need if it makes you "reach" for the player. That almost never, ever works out
  4. Take the best player available, regardless of position
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Not much to report on this, other than a fairly plugged-in Cavaliers beat reporter who does a lot of twitter chats mentioning that he says the Phoenix Suns are the most likely to take Minnesota's offer to trade down.

Reportedly, Minnesota is willing to trade the #9, #26 and Derrick Williams for the rights to Victor Oladipo, whoever drafts him.

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Now this is twitter, so there's no attribution, no reasoning, no extra info at all.

This could all be conjecture, in that Oladipo is projected in many mocks to go 5th overall and Minnesota has previously done deals with the Suns.

People also know the Suns need a reboot. And, the Suns just brought PG Michael Carter-Williams back for a second workout this week. MCW is projected to go in the 9-14 range on Draft night.

What if Ryan McDonough has decided that Oladipo - who a year ago was projected as a second-round pick - isn't worth all the hype?

And what if McD thinks he can get his man AND a couple extra assets by trading down a few spots? Remember that McD had Rajon Rondo pegged as one of the two best players in the 2006 draft before watching him fall down to 21 before Boston bought the Suns pick to grab him. Maybe he thinks someone, like MCW for example, is better than Oladipo as an NBA player?

If that's the case, and the Suns' favorite player makes it to 9 while the lesser Oladipo is in their grasp, why not add more picks and assets?

Amin Elhassan, a professional scout, former Suns front office guy and now a writer for ESPN, chose MCW in the mothership's mock for the Suns at 5 just a few days ago. And there are questions about Oladipo's ability to score enough in the NBA to be more than Tony Allen.

I'm not saying you should start the suicide watch just yet, but maybe you should start thinking about the logistics. I kid. I kid.

95% of what we hear ahead of the draft is just rumor. Nothing more. Someone picked up a phone, someone else answered, and BOOM there's trade discussions going on. The Suns are likely in on a dozen or more trade "discussions" as we speak, almost none of which will come to fruition.

Breath easy, and wait a couple more days.

We’re live at 6 p.m. MST talking everything about the Suns’ 2013 draft projections.

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Amare-stoudemire-draft

Welcome to the live thread for the 2013 BSotS Community Mock Draft. The draft will begin sharp at 10 pm EST/7 pm PT (that's 7pm in Arizona, 4am in France, 2pm Tuesday in New Zealand, etc.). Don't be late!

RULES:

1) Each team will have 5 minutes to make each of their picks. So the team with the #1 pick will be on the clock right at 10pm ET/7pm PT. After a team makes a pick, the 5 minutes for the following team begin immediately.

NOTE: Just because you have a full 5 minutes doesn't mean you should use it all. If you know who you want, PLEASE announce your selection as soon as you can so we can get through the draft in a timely manner.

2) To make their selections GMs must post a comment stating their team and pick in the subject line. For example, I would post "Suns select Rudy Gobert with the #2 pick." as my subject line when the Suns are on the clock.

3) Draft-day trades are allowed. However, you must agree to a trade AND have it approved by me before your 5 minutes for that particular pick expire (remember, all trades must include a current first round pick).

4) You are allowed to trade AFTER you make your pick as well, up until the 30th pick has been made. However, the "first round draft pick must be included" rule still applies, meaning every trade must include a pick that hasn't been used yet, or a player just drafted with a pick.

5) If you cannot be here for the live draft, PLEASE email me a list of possible selections for your draft picks. I will choose the highest ranked player on your list that is available at your pick. If a team's GM is absent and he hasn't emailed me his picks, I will select for them based on DraftExpress rankings.


OTHER INFORMATION:


I will update this post throughout the night as picks are made. At the end of the night or sometime tomorrow, I will make a post dsiplaying the complete results of the draft and including GMs' explanations for their moves (the ones I've received, at least).

Jim Coughenour will also write a piece grading all the teams' moves - look for it to be published sometime Wednesday morning.

Please feel free to use the comments below from now through the end of the draft for any possible discussions/negotiations/analysis of picks or trades. If you have any questions, post a comment or shoot me an email.

For reference, trades that have already been made are listed here. Contact info for each of the GMs can also be found in that post.

(CURRENT) MOCK DRAFT ORDER:

***will be continuously updated throughout the live draft***

Team Team GM SELECTION
1 Cleveland Cavaliers Suns Fan For Life
2 Phoenix Suns Richard Parker
3 Sacramento Kings brawadis
4 Charlotte Bobcats sunfromunder
5 Phoenix Suns Richard Parker
6 Washington Wizards blank_38
7 Orlando Magic Eric Fong
8 Detroit Pistons nateman48
9 Minnesota Timberwolves STUPID KERR
10 Utah Jazz Air Deke
11 Philadelphia 76ers phxpurple
12 New Orleans Pelicans hoiberg
13 Milwaukee Bucks gallen89
14 Portland Trail Blazers PanameZoo
15 Milwaukee Bucks gallen89
16 Boston Celtics arvin123
17 San Antonio Spurs y2kctiger
18 Houston Rockets jc79
19 Phoenix Suns Richard Parker
20 Chicago Bulls babypa
21 Atlanta Hawks stevedavis_
22 Brooklyn Nets Richard Bowman
23 Indiana Pacers khalid.h
24 New York Knicks The Solution
25 Boston Celtics arvin123
26 Minnesota Timberwolves STUPID KERR
27 Brooklyn Nets Richard Bowman
28 San Antonio Spurs y2kctiger
29 Oklahoma City Thunder jack.kremer22
30 Oklahoma City Thunder jack.kremer22

Good luck and have fun!

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