Draft-pic

The Phoenix Suns hold the 5th and 30th pick in the NBA Draft. The Suns need help at every position, but for years they have been lacking in scoring on the wing. The Suns don't boast a starting caliber player at either position, and don't have a secondary playmaking threat to score or pass to help Goran Dragic break down defenses.

While the Suns are holding their cards close to the vest, a theme is emerging in workouts and interviews with Suns staffers. It's not rocket science where the Suns lack the most in terms of talent.

"You guys [the media, and fans by extension] know our team, we need some help on the wing."

Only two first-round centers have been to US Airways Center of the 39 players who have worked out or visited. In a draft deep on "average center" talent and almost devoid of starting-potential traditional power forwards, the Suns emphasis has been on wing players.

The Suns have been widely rumored to be interested in SG Victor Oladipo and would love to see SG Ben McLemore drop to them at #5. If both are gone, the Suns could go big (Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, Nerlens Noel) but that wouldn't solve their biggest problem area.

If the Suns get a guard with the #5 pick, would they take another guard at 30? For example, if they take Victor Oladipo at 5, would they then take Archie Goodwin at 30? Or Jamaal Franklin?

"I think it can be difficult to bring in multiple guys at the same time position or similar position as rookies," Ryan McDonough said over the weekend. "Sometimes I think they stunt each other's growth. Depending on what we do at 5, that could affect what we do at 30."

McDonough was asked if that applied just to exact position, or role in the offense.

"Even if guys play similar position but their games are different, it's tough," he replied. "We ran into this one year in Boston. I'm not going to name names, but other teams have as well, where they draft guys who are similar and then neither one of them get a chance, in my opinion."

He did allow for players who are versatile, that could slide to different positions to be on the floor together at the same time.

"It's hard to develop both of them, if they can only play the same position," he said. "Now if they are versatile (multiple positions) then you might be able to develop both of them. But that's what I'm trying to avoid, even if you like both of them and they are the best player at that range its hard to develop both of them at the same time."

The Suns need a long-term answer at every single position on the court. Even point guard might need a further look. As Kris pointed out, the Suns PG position ranked 26th in the league in efficiency differential last season (per 82games.com).

Going with McDonough's theme, look for the Suns to take a big with the 30th pick if the 5th was used on a guard. Yet, the Suns have only brought in (so far) one big who likely goes at the #30 slot: Mouhammadou Jaiteh.

Jaiteh is an 18 year old center prospect from France. Not as highly regarded as Rudy Gobert, who also visited last week but would be drafted in the teens, Jaiteh definitely looks the part: 6'11", 7'4" wingspan, 249 pounds. He plays hard, but has no offensive game and looks stiff in traffic.

But he's only 18 years old (the second-youngest player in the draft), and that's something on which to hang your hat at the 30th pick.

Alternately, if the Suns take Alex Len, Nerlens Noel or Anthony Bennett, look for them to shore up the shooting guard spot with their second pick. 18-year old Archie Goodwin would be a nice fit there, as would 19-year old Ricky Ledo. Both players visited over the weekend.

"Where we are, we need to build this," McDonough said. "If there's a guy you think could be a good starter some day, if he's 18, 19 years old, that might be a risk you have to take."

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Next year the Phoenix Suns clearly need to move in the direction of becoming more athletic overall and add more versatility to the roster. That is on full display in the workouts as the team has now had in 34 total participants, most in the range of their second first round pick.

The No. 30 pick is showing its value as Ricky Ledo (No. 24 on the Big Board), Tony Snell (27), Ray McCallum (45), James Ennis (76), Will Clyburn (NA), and Dwayne Davis (NA) all worked out for the team today.

Of that group the three big talents were Ledo, Snell, and McCallum. Last year Ledo did not play at Providence, but he came in as a Top 20 recruit according to Rivals and ESPN. He can flat out shoot the ball and was compared favorably to Kevin Durant in high school. Not playing as a freshman and then declaring for the draft is a risk, but new GM Ryan McDonough feels this team can take a risk with their late first round pick.

It depends on the player, I am not opposed to it. During my career we have had good success with guys like that in Boston. My first three years with the Celtics we drafted high school guys in Kendrick Perkins, Al Jefferson, and Gerald Green who were obviously younger than these guys here. I am not opposed to it if I feel like the guy has special ability. -- Ryan McDonough on drafting projects or high risk players

Ledo, as talented as he is, does fall into that range as a project or high risk talent, but he is talented indeed. That is not the case with Snell and McCallum.

As the season progressed last year Snell became one of the better, more versatile, players in the country. He shoots the ball very well and has the athletic potential to defend both perimeter positions. Then there is the coaches son McCallum who is expected to be smart and run a team, but is capable of getting above the rim for explosive plays.

This draft gives the team a lot of options and new head coach Jeff Hornacek is starting to see the value of this pick. "The guys we have had through here and Ryan says are in that range, you can begin to envision them playing a role on the team."

Here is a scouting take on the prospects:

  • Ricky Ledo -- Providence -- Freshman shooting guard: Full Scouting Report
  • Tony Snell -- New Mexico -- Junior wing: Full Scouting Report
  • Ray McCallum -- Detroit Mercy -- Junior point guard: Full Scouting Report
  • James Ennis -- Long Beach State -- Senior forward: Full Scouting Report
  • Will Clyburn -- Iowa State -- Senior forward: An effective inside-outside scorer from the forward position with his ability to shoot the ball and take on the physicality down low. He is a tweener, but more suited for the three at the next level.
  • Dwayne Davis -- Southern Mississippi -- Senior wing: He can shoot the ball from deep and score in bunches. In college that was his primary role, but he also did a good job of filling up the stat-sheet nightly rebounding, distributing, and shooting a high percentage.

***McCallum said he got in at least three big dunks in practice and the team said Ledo shot the ball very, very well.

***Clyburn hurt his ankle playing 3-on-3 and had to sit out the rest of the workout

***The Suns are starting to get a reputation around the league with the prospects. According to Snell he received a few texts from other prospects about a specific running drill that is tough. He was prepared and said finished ahead of the pack.

***The team will hold another workout tomorrow.

Suns_gorilla

Hey there, Suns Fans. My name is Richard Parker and I am a newly appointed writer on BSotS. It gives me great pleasure to join the site's excellent staff that works to put out the amazing content produced on such a regular basis. Seriously, this place is awesome and I'm glad I can now contribute my share of knowledge, perspective, and occasional mindless drivel.

What's that, you're dying to know everything about me??? Well, I guess I can't deny the masses what the desire.

Let's start with the most important part - my history with the Phoenix Suns.

On May 20, 2005, at the age of 13, I witnessed an event that changed my life forever. Flipping through the mundane choices on my television, I stopped on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network channel (with which I would maintain a love-hate relationship with throughout the years), and fixed my eyes on an NBA game. A team named the Phoenix Suns was playing against the Dallas Mavericks in what was apparently the sixth game of a playoff series.

I fixed my eyes completely on my screen, amazed by the team in purple. As the game continued, I unknowingly caught myself cheering for the Suns, a team which I had no prior affiliation with. I still remember the adrenaline rush I felt when a skinny, short (on my TV, at least), and long-haired white dude made a three-point shot to send the game into overtime, a feeling I would come to be quite familiar with over the years. I was suddenly enchanted by a sport I was barely familiar with, a league I knew nothing about, and a team that I didn't even know existed prior to that night.

I am not at all exaggerating when I proclaim that game 6 of the Suns-Mavs series in the 2005 playoffs changed my life. Since then, the levels of my Suns fanhood have continuously increased over the years, culminating in my authorship on this blog. My interest in basketball as a sport can also be credited almost entirely to Steve Nash and the Suns. Without them, I probably wouldn't be playing recreational basketball as much as I do and I probably wouldn't have a sprained ankle right now. Therefore, screw you Nash (just wanted to get that in there).

Much to the chagrin of the people around me, I am now an obsessed Suns fan. I have been a long-time reader of BSotS (since the 2007 playoffs). I was here when we had a moron meter for Steve Kerr (which, in retrospect, we probably should have saved for the GM that followed him). I was here when Robin Lopez did a Q&A session with readers. I was here for MUST START AND FINISH WITH BARBOSA. Now, I am happy to be here as a writer.

I guess I should share a bit about my life outside the Suns (what, that exists?). I'm originally from California's east bay area -

I was going to make my user name "East Bay Richard" but I didn't want to be labeled a poser/stalker of East Bay Ray - and I have been living in Atlanta for the last four years for college. I just graduated with a BA in Economics and will start working (a real job) in August, so expect my writing output to be at its maximum this summer.

So why start posting now? Everyone knows the old adage, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." Well, when things get tough for real Suns fans, real Suns fans get on BSotS. The team is arguably at its lowest point (success-wise) since I've been a fan. However, my love for and interest in the team is honestly as high as it has ever been. I find that quality in a lot of fans on this blog, which is what not only makes the Bright Side by far the best source of Suns-related news and content, but also the greatest collection of the classiest fans in the world.

In conclusion, I'll do my best to contribute to the brilliant work that the rest of the BSotS staff has shared with fans for many years now. Thanks for welcoming me.

And yes, Richard Parker is a pseudonym. Deal with it.

PHOENIX – “This is my seventh one. I got about six or seven more to go. Living out of a big bag and just washing my clothes when I get to another hotel and using my change up.” – Erick Green on the...

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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.

Note: Luis Scola cannot be traded until well after the draft, and expiring contracts are off-limits as well (Jermaine O'Neal, Diante Garrett).

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.

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