Today was upper classmen day. All but Reggie Bullock was a senior in college last year, and Bullock just finished his junior year. None of them were younger than 22, which some people consider old for an NBA draftee.
The headliner of this workout was Reggie Bullock and lucky for the media on a Saturday he didn't demand a solo workout.
"Top to bottom, this might be the deepest group we had," Ryan McDonough said after the workout. "No weak links."
If the Suns want a 3-and-D guy at 30, Reggie Bullock might be the guy. The 22-year old junior is a swingman who's biggest attribute is shooting. He is the 11th-best 3-point shooter in UNC history at .387, making 188 of them (good for eighth in school history).
"I think the guys who can defend and shoot with size are becoming more and more valuable in the NBA now," McDonough said. Reggie fits that mold as a high percentage three-point shooter. He can also defend some twos and threes.
McDonough got good intel on the UNC guys from Kendall Marshall. Bullock and Marshall were roommates even.
Carrick Felix made a name for himself last year at ASU by playing scrappy D and improving his shooting stroke. He is a high-energy player loved by coaches thanks to his good effort and high IQ. At the workout, Felix ran the most lines in the end-of-workout drill of anyone this month.
Felix just might be a second-rounder this year, much like Solomon Hill of UofA. Hill played all four years at UofA just like Felix did for ASU, usually a bad sign for NBA potential. But both guys may have gotten themselves into the second round consideration. He makes his money on 3-pointers from the SF position.
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate College/Country Year
Reggie Bullock F 6-7 200 03/16/1991 North Carolina Junior
Carrick Felix F 6-6 203 08/17/1990 Arizona State Senior
Elias Harris F 6-8 238 07/06/1989 Gonzaga Senior
Solomon Hill F 6-7 226 03/18/1991 Arizona Senior
James Southerland F 6-8 221 04/28/1990 Syracuse Senior
Brandon Triche G 6-4 215 02/01/1991 Syracuse Senior
None of the players has changed their stock significantly since the end of the college season. "These workouts help, as a supplement, but I go more on film from the season."
Regarding mock drafts: "The guys that do them have a tough job. If the guys at the top of the draft don't know who they're picking, how can the later teams? There's no subset of players, even at 5, that you can say 'that guy won't be there'."
Planning for #5 being difficult: "The teams in the top 4 won't definitively decide what they're doing until they are on the clock."
Regarding injuries in the top 5-10: "We have the medical on all the guys, and if we had some questions we did some additional work. There are obviously guy who have had injuries and may be considered higher risk than others, so we have our medical team on it. Dr. Carter and Aaron Nelson are very thorough."
"Not every team will see the same medical records the same way."
"It is unique this year that three of the top 6, 8, 10, however you rank them, have been injured. But at least they played this year."
With the 2013 Bright Side of the Sun Community Mock Draft just two days away, plenty of mock GMs are in a flurry to move their assets around to try and secure a roster of their liking before the draft goes live. It's been crazy how much of a response we've had to this mock draft - getting through all the emails I've received and verifying the feasibility and financial validity of dozens of mock trades is a great deal of fun and also quite exhausting. I've received a great number of trade proposals between teams, many of which I've approved and a few that I've rejected. Since tons of pieces from teams are on totally different rosters now, I decided to make an update to reveal all the trades that have been approved and completed entirely.
But first, the following are a couple other updates that I'd like to cover.
1) We still need at least four more GMs to take over the remaining drafting teams (Wizards, Pistons, Bulls, and Spurs). Please sign up in the comments below or email me (
2) If you've been assigned a second team with a pick (one of the four above), there has been a rule change concerning you: I think it might be a little unfair to have one person in control of multiple teams' picks. As GM of the Suns, I've tried to make moves to improve Phoenix's assets. However, as commissioner, I've maintained control of some of the teams without any first round draft picks (Lakers, Miami, etc). My plan with them is to do nothing - I will not pursue any moves and have only listened to potential offers. Therefore, I propose one of the following options:
a) People can only be in charge of one team with a pick.
b) People who have been assigned multiple teams WITH PICKS cannot pursue trades using their second teams. I think it just gets to be too complicated to have guys wheeling and dealing with multiple teams at their disposal. If you picked up a second team on top of your first drafting team, you cannot make trades with the second.
And in all honesty, for the sake of the mock draft, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to have a few teams (Washington, Detroit, Chicago, and San Antonio) just make their picks in a straightforward manner and not rearrange their entire rosters.
3) One other update on the rules: No trading future picks. I think if we start adding 2015 or 2017 first round picks into the mix, it sort of defeats the purpose of this mock draft. It's complicated because a future first rounder is a significant asset, however, it is worthless in this mock. Therefore, it's just easier if we leave them out of the equation entirely.
With those updates out of the way, let's now go over all of the trades that have transpired over the last couple days.
Already Transpired Trades
NOTE: The rationale for each of these moves will be explained by each GM during the live mock draft on Monday. All numbers in the following trades are draft picks.
Following the recent models of Houston and Orlando, the mock Phoenix Suns took full advantage of the SB Nation mock draft to acquire as much youth as possible while clearing the necessary cap space for future maneuverings.
Going into the mock draft, the Phoenix Suns boasted the league's second-oldest non-playoff rotation (26 years old, second only to Dallas) and nine guaranteed 2013-14 contracts with only one of those contracted players younger than 24 years old.
Truly, the 2013 NBA Draft is going to be the opening bell of a new era of Phoenix Suns basketball. It has to be.
Going into the draft, the Suns have the #5 and #30 overall picks (and #57, but that one unlikely to make the playing rotation). If the Suns draft only those two spots, that leaves just three roster positions under 24 next season. Three.
Top it off with only $8.5 million in cap space, after factoring in releases of all non-guaranteed players, the Suns did not have a lot of wiggle room this summer to eat salary in trades in order to get youth after the draft.
Quite simply, it's not good enough just to draft those two spots and wait for free agency.
Mock Draft Results
This was my mantra going into the SB Nation Mock Draft:
get as young as possible
collect tradeable assets
make even more cap space available for later trades
This mock draft was not going to complete "the team of the future" for Suns. Rather, the draft would create even more assets for future trades. I was not going for veterans. Just kids. I wanted to preserve the Suns chances at a cornerstone player in the 2014 draft. There are no quick fixes with this team.
Remember that Houston took three first-rounders last year, turning one of them into James Harden. Orlando spent the entire year acquiring kids after Dwight left, ending the year with several rookies (Vucevic, Nicholson, Harris, Harkless) that will someday be used to acquire a star.
That was my mantra. Do whatever I could to collect youth and assets.
Recap of Draft
1) Take Victor Oladipo at 5th overall
First, the mock front office and I decided that we would take the best available player at #5, rather than move up or down. There are 5-6 players all jockeying for top 5 positions, all fairly equal in talent and upside.
When Oladipo fell, it was a slam dunk. But if any of the other 4 (Noel, Len, McLemore, Porter in that order) had dropped, I'd have taken whoever it was.
After taking a guard at #5, we wanted to take a big man at #10. You can debate the name of that big man all you want, and so would I, but at the time of this draft the 20-year old Rudy Gobert was the top-rated remaining big man in the draft. Two weeks later, that's more of a question.
The trade itself is one of value. Gortat was leaving in a year. He's not here to babysit a young team, he wants to play for a playoff team. His $7.75 million expiring contract needed to be turned into youth sooner or later, lest the Suns lose him for nothing. The #10 pick was a valuable asset. And Joel Freeland is a quality backup big man too.
3) Trade Jared Dudley for #20 and Rip Hamilton, draft Jamaal Franklin
Here's another debatable pick, because of the relative value of Dudley vs. Gortat and the duplication involved in taking Jamaal Franklin. Yet I wasn't building the roster of the future here. I was collecting assets. Franklin will have the same/similar value as Jeremy Lamb had last year - a projectable young player for inclusion in a trade. Or, if he blows the Suns socks off, he makes Oladipo expendable in a bigger deal for an even bigger star. It's all about collecting assets.
Yet more duplication here. But realize that Brandon Knight is the same age as Kendall Marshall but he is more accomplished as an NBA player and can get his shot when he wants it. He's a 37% 3-point shooter on 4+ attempts per game and can play combo guard with Dragic. If Knight develops into the star the league thought it was getting in 2011, he gives the Suns yet another tradeable asset (Dragic or Knight) without destroying the team.
I am hoping the Suns would be able to use the #37 on someone like C.J. Leslie, but it would most likely be used on a draft-and-stash of a Euro player. Same for the #57 - draft and stash. The picks could also be used to acquire a veteran 3-point shooter for the nights the kids aren't playing well.
With these moves, the Suns now have $14.9 million in cap room this year.
The $14.9 million assumes the release of all non-guaranteed deals except P.J. Tucker.
I realize this roster might not win 20 games next year as currently constructed, but at least it's got some potential. Remember the Suns won 25 excruciating games last year with an old lineup boasting little future.
The Morrises still might develop, and will now get to share the stretch-4 role.
Further moves I would make, once July 1 hits:
release Michael Beasley. With Franklin playing a lot of SF in a three-guard lineup and the bigger Morrises available for backup SF (Marcus) and stretch-4 (Markieff and Marcus), along with Channing Frye returning to play some 4 and 5, there's no room for SuperCool
trade Luis Scola for a future asset, ANY future asset. That poor guy had such a hard time on a loser last year. I really felt bad for him. He took that losing harder than most anyone on the roster. His contract will be easy to trade. Like Beasley, the Suns have more than enough bodies to play his minutes.
Sign a stop-gap center who can rebound, block shots
Trade duplicative assets (Franklin, Morrii) for SF/PF big with a future
PG Dragic, Knight
SG Oladipo, Franklin
SF Tucker, Franklin, Mook Morris
PF Kieff Morris, Mook Morris, Frye
C Frye (or free agent, if Frye not healthy), Gobert, Freeland
Highlighted are the team's veterans. I realize this roster is a hodgepodge (some might call it a sh!* sandwich) and not likely anything the Suns would want to enter the 2013-14 season with.
But I wasn't going for that. I was going for assets. Assets to be used for something much bigger. "When" that something happens, I don't know. But the Suns are primed when it does.
The best building lock of the future is Victor Oladipo.
I got what I wanted out of this draft. Was it the best the Suns could have done? Heck no. But doing this all in real time, not knowing who was going to fall where and which trade proposals were going to work out, I found out quickly that there's no blueprint to follow. You think you're doing the right thing and then, bam, the picks don't go as expected.
If Noel or Len had fallen to 5, and the trades went as they did, we could have ended up with Noel(Len)/Muhammad/Franklin/Knight. That would have been a nice distribution of talent, one for each position, but is Len a better prospect overall than Oladipo? Who knows. And, unless you duplicate positions with youth, you can't really afford to trade any of them unless you're getting a better player back at that same position. The way the draft unfolded, both Knight and Franklin can be dealt from a position of strength.
As the draft went on, after the top 6-7 picks, there was basically only a choice of future backup center or rotational wing player with high upside. With the Morrises and Frye already filling the potential stretch-4 roles, I didn't think a young PF would get any playing time to up his trade value. And the Morris value is at an all-time low right now. They need playing time to prove their worth to the Suns and/or in trade.