163780259

There is always the argument every year for teams to draft the best available player (BPA) or take the best player at a position of need. Most lottery teams have needs across the board leading to the concept of BPA and then other teams, playoff teams, are privy to drafting a need to continue along their current success.

The Phoenix Suns are in the position of the former.

Last season the Suns were not a particularly talented bunch which is what led to the second worst season in the franchises history. The group was falsely labeled as a playoff threat with the additions of Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, and Michael Beasley. Those three were supposed to replace the production lost leading the team back to contention. Instead they faltered at nearly every position.

According to data collected via 82games.com the Suns were not particularity strong at any position last year.

The net production for point guard (-2.6) was good for 26th best in the NBA with Dragic leading the way and Sebastian Telfair, Kendall Marshall, and Diante Garrett shouldering the load. With Dragic and Marshall both young and before their prime that is a position with potential to grow in house.

At the shooting guard position (-3.3) was the worst position on the team led by Shannon Brown, Wesley Johnson, and others filling in the position that was good for 28th in the league. Only three teams had worse overall units at the two.

Adding help in the backcourt is a major need and an option in this years draft class with Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum, and others showing strong promise as prospects. All are options at No. 5 for the Suns if they go with the concept of BPA this year. That is a clear and popular option among experts as well as the fans.

The front-court was a strong point for the team last season from the small forward, power forward, and center positions.

Jared Dudley, P.J. Tucker, and Beasley were the primary threes last year year (+0.3) good for 12th in the league. At power forward Scola, Markieff Morris, and Marcus Morris were capable (-1.2), combining to be the 19th best unit in the league.

Looking at prospects such as Otto Porter Jr, Anthony Bennett, and even Cody Zeller would provide an upgrade at the forward positions.

Odds are that the consensus Top Four players to NBA teams will be gone before the Suns are on the clock. If Nerlens Noel, McLemore, Porter Jr, and Oladipo are all gone, which direction does the team go?

Center becomes the most intruiging position for the Suns as they were about average (+0.3) good for 13th in the league. Marcin Gortat, Jermaine O'Neal, and Hamed Haddadi were a good unit defensively, but to be frank, there is not much potential for that group to grow as a whole. O'Neal is on his last legs while Haddadi is very limited as a player.

Here is the theory. Gortat is a very good center, but the odds of him remaining a member of the Suns long-term at the age of 29 is far-fetched.

Gortat is a part of the present, but not likely the future of the organization so bringing in a suitable "replacement" for the team going forward has to be an attractive option with the talent in this years draft. The NBA Draft is about projecting the team two to three years out and how the pieces would fit in contending in conference and for a championship. This years crop of centers all have potential to be build with.

Whether it be a potential all-around talent like Alex Len of Maryland or a raw defensive talent like Rudy Gobert of France the centers are as good this year as any other year.

With the potential of the 2014 NBA Draft in the distance adding a center now (next years class is average so far) to learn the ropes from Gortat for a year while building the proper strength for the paint at the next level is ideal. Both Len and Gobert are projects and will require patience as they get stronger and learn the NBA game, but each have the potential to be game changers in this league.

As we saw this year the league still has room for the throw-back centers that over the years had become a "dying breed." Three of the final four teams in this years playoffs all have a center that dictates the pace of the game in the paint. Can Len or Gobert become as effective as Roy Hibbert, Tiago Splitter, or Marc Gasol? Time will tell, but the potential is there.

With the lure of the 2014 NBA Draft in the air and potential superstars on the horizon adding a piece like Len or Gobert allows the team to continue the slow, methodical rebuild towards contention.

Winning a lottery is a crap shoot as the team with the best odds also has a 75% chance of losing as well. Banking on the lottery to get Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker is the logic of a video game general manager.

Banking on the logic of being a bottom five team again next season however is not. Building piece-by-piece with a center now and a great wing next year is a route to consider. Is this the avenue the team will take, potentially, but regardless it is a viable Plan B if all four of the top prospects are gone. Does the team go BPA or add a position of need that may at the end of the day be the best building block for the future?

Solar-flare-3

During an NBA off season, news comes out in fits and spurts and it's not always easy to get a separate story up on BSotS as fast as we want. So, let's keep this open thread to discuss news as it breaks.

Daily Draft Workouts

For the first time in years, the Phoenix Suns are making draft workouts available to the media. We can get in to the last ten minutes of the workout, and then speak to players, Hornacek and front office folks. Either Kris (from SB Nation NBA and nbadraftinsider.com) or I will be there most every day.

The Suns will hold pre-draft workouts with 4 to 6 players every day between now and Monday.

The team is not advertising participants in each workout until we arrive, so we can't preview the daily activities. But once the practice is over and interviews are done, we'll tweet out the participants and maybe even some pics. And then each night, we'll recap what went down.

Based on twitter, it appears that Shabazz Muhammad, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Rudy Gobert are already in town. Not sure if they are all working out today, together, but it will be soon.

UPDATE: Confirmed by Habbas and Coro: Guards Ben McLemore, Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad squaring off TODAY (Wed, June 5), with Gobert and Zeller the bigs. All are listed in the top-15 of just about every Big Board. I love it when the top players agree to work out against each other!

CORRECTION: MCW not working out today. The other 5 are good to go, plus EJ Singler and Jared Berggren. Alex Len is also in town, but not working out (injury) and suns.com just posted a piece on Anthony Bennett who is also injured and not working out for teams before the draft.

The Suns currently hold the #5, #30 and #57 picks - a range wide enough to attract just about every prospect to Phoenix.

Horny's assistants

McDonough mentioned the other day that Jeff Hornacek may have finalize his assistants by the end of this week. Hornacek ran the first draft workout on Monday with the help of Suns staffers, but it sure seems like he'd prefer to have his whole staff there with him over these next six days. I'll keep an eye out for new faces.

I would love it if Hornacek would keep Noel Gillespie on staff from last year, and bring in an old face of the franchise (Grant Hill and/or Eddie Johnson).

But even more important than those feel-good hires, I hope Hornacek hires a solid veteran coach as his lead assistant to help Horny transition into being a real head coach. Someone needs to help him learn how to run a team, and a solid vet (like Mark Jackson did with hiring Mike Malone two years ago, for example) would go a long way in that regard.

Draft promises

Some guys are already cancelling their workouts, likely due to draft promises. Don't expect to see Sergey Karasev (projected mid-first) in Phoenix, since he just flew back to Russia till the draft. The Greek freak - 6'9" PG Giannis Adetokunbo - has already left the country, as has Dennis Schroeder (PG, Germany). All are projected as mid-to-late first rounders.

Strengths If you only look at his junior year statistics at New Mexico (12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 rebounds per game), Tony Snell appears to be nothing more than a nice pickup in the early...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
20130324_pjc_sv4_083

Chad Ford's most recent Mock Draft 4.0 released just today has some interesting changes from his prior picks. While the entire article can only be seen by those who have access to ESPN insider, the top three picks are freely listed along with an explanation for each of them. Here is a look at his latest picks.

Ford still has Nerlens Noel going #1 overall to Cleveland. This is no surprise, although Otto Porter and Ben McLemore have both had their names tossed around recently as potential first picks as well. Ford has this to say about why he believes Noel will remain the top player in the draft:

Until we hear otherwise, Noel is the default pick here. General manager Chris Grant has been a fan of Noel's all year and even recommended his doctor. Assuming the rehab is going well (his doctor, James Andrews, insists Noel is ahead of schedule while other NBA team doctors are wringing their hands a little), Noel should come out on top.

While this isn't exactly a convincing point, it does make sense that Noel will remain the top candidate by default unless someone else proves otherwise. Porter and McLemore will no doubt have their opportunities to win over the front office and coaching staff, but I can't see Cleveland passing up on a player like Noel with so much potential as long as no red flags arise in his rehab process.

So no surprises there, but the second pick is where things start to get a little interesting. In Chad Ford's previous mock draft, he had Trey Burke as the 2nd pick to the Orlando Magic. Although the Magic certainly need help at the point guard position, Ford's most recent mock draft now suggests the Magic will select none other than Victor Oladipo with the #2 pick. Here is some of what he had to say about it:

According to sources, the Magic are still wide open. They say they have nine (gulp) players who they are considering. Michigan's Trey Burke was in this slot in Mock 3.0, but I'm hearing the Magic aren't sold on him as the second-best player in the draft.

and

The Magic are eyeing other young point guards such as Eric Bledsoe. If they make a trade, starting 2-guard Arron Afflalo will be the bait...If Afflalo goes, the 2-guard position opens up. Both Oladipo and McLemore would be upgrades long-term anyway. While McLemore is a better shooter, Oladipo's toughness, defense and leadership might be more appealing to a rebuilding team.

So it seems this has less to do with Oladipo's rise as it does Burke's potential fall along with Orlando looking to make a trade. The Magic are no doubt in need of a point guard, but they may not feel comfortable reaching for Burke who is clearly not one of the top three consensus players in the draft. And while Oladipo has been mocked going later in prior drafts, he stock has been rising like crazy lately, and at least in Ford's opinion, has eclipsed Ben McLemore as the best wing player overall.

The third pick in Ford's mock draft remains consistent with his previous mock. Ford has Otto Porter as the #3 pick to the Washington Wizards. This isn't a surprise by any means, as it certainly makes sense based on team needs and hometown college status at Georgetown. Here's what Ford had to say about Porter:

The Wizards are sitting pretty at No. 3. The two players they really like -- Porter and UNLV's Anthony Bennett -- are both on the board here. The need help at both the 3 and the 4, and sources say their front office is split between them. Porter's versatility and his ability to affect the game without shooting the ball are major pluses on a team that already has several starters who like to score the ball.

This seems like the most likely pick in my opinion as well. While the Wizards may like Bennett, I believe they are more inclined to go with Porter as not only a more versatile player overall, but as a potential draw to the same fanbase who cheered him on in college. If Porter does indeed make it to the 3rd pick, it just makes sense that the Wizards will take him.

While the rest of the first round picks aren't given for free on the ESPN website, I can tell you that Ford has the Suns taking Ben McLemore with the 5th pick. If the first three picks shape up the way Ford predicts then I agree that this will also be the most likely outcome, as the Charlotte Bobcats will likely select Anthony Bennett or Alex Len at #4.

If this happens, the Suns will get tremendous value by selecting McLemore with the fifth pick, and while he may not be a fan favorite like Oladipo, he has proven to be a very proficient scorer/shooter in college and still has loads of potential on top of his proven abilities.

The second and fourth picks will be the ones to watch if you're a Suns' fan. Noel and Porter may be out of reach, but if Phoenix wants Oladipo or McLemore at #5, they will need Burke, Bennett, or Len to crack the top five.

Poll
Who Do You Think The Suns Will End Up Drafting With The Fifth Pick?

  774 votes | Results

20130124_mjr_su5_340

What is a team to do? Do they go for the quick solution that might bring some mediocre short-term success or do they suck it up and take the long road.

The Suns have been criticized for trying to shortcut the rebuilding process by hanging on to Steve Nash and signing the likes of Michael Beasley. While I happen to think there's independent justification for both of those decisions, there's no denying that the Suns considered themselves a playoff team at the beginning of each of the last three lottery-bound seasons.

Most distressing about that mindset was the knowledge that "being a playoff team" was a desirable goal even if it came with a low ceiling. I think this phrase used in another context applies to that thinking: The tyranny of low expectations.

Well, those days appear to be officially over. The final nail put in the coffin by carpenter-in-chief, Robert Sarver via an interview in the Arizona Republic.

Phoenix Suns' Robert Sarver says drafting game changer unlikely but rebuilding on ‘small successes’ key
"From a business standpoint, it’s more painful to rebuild slower. It costs more money than to rebuild quickly. Many franchises try to remain in the playoffs for financial purposes. It’s not a path we’ve taken. We’re prepared to absorb the hits we have to take in the short term to get us into position so that when we do get good, we are at a high level."

Patience will be required from all involved. There will be some minor successes but they will come slow and won't be measured in ways we are used to. There will also be setbacks. But if the balance of decisions from the glass offices at the US Airways Center remain positive, Phoenix will rise again.

Oh, and how can you not love this quote from Sarver firing back at Charles Barkley who likened the Suns franchise to the Titanic.

"I've got a seat for him on the Titanic," Sarver said. "I've got an open bar. I've got a blackjack table with a lot of big-dollar chips. I've got a low-calorie chef and a stationary bike in his room. So he's welcome any time."

Drinking! Gambling! Food!

Way to take some shots at Chuck's soft underbelly, Bob!

Page 1046 of 2038

1046

Web Links

Sponsored Ads