In addition to the Jays, I was able to see games featuring Duke, Georgetown and San Diego State and the NBA Draft prospects those teams featured. I also was treated to the show put on by Dunk City (No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast for those that don't follow the tournament), but that's a different story.

In total, I watched about nine potential NBA players play.

Potential First Round Picks in Philly: Otto Porter, Mason Plumlee, Jamaal Franklin, Doug McDermott

Potential Second Round Picks/Summer League Invites: Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, Gregory Echenique, Chase Tapley, Amath M'Baye

Here's my take on the guys that have a chance to go in the mid-to-late portion of the first round.


  • School, Class: San Diego State, Junior
  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
  • Projection: DraftExpress - 21, NBADraftInsider - 25,

Quote: "When the separation was created, I thought Franklin did a good job of getting into the paint and creating opportunities for others as well as scoring himself. He's just a terrific all-around player and a tough match-up. I thought his ability to get in and create good things for his teammates was a big key in the game." - Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger

Franklin is a high-flying guard that I really like. I got two looks at him in Philly and he put up two really solid performances showcasing his all-around game.

Franklin played 73 out of possible 80 minutes between his two games - the first a 70-55 win against Oklahoma and the second an 81-71 loss to FGCU - and racked up 41 points on 14-26 shooting (4-9 from downtown), 11-11 from the free-throw line, 19 rebounds, nine assists, seven turnovers and six steals.

I already knew Franklin was a great rebounder. His average of 9.5 per game as a guard (something that has only been done a handful of times) speaks for itself, but seeing him live, it's easy to understand why. Franklin has excellent athleticism, good length and strong hands, but even more than that, he has a strong motor and an ability to read the ball off the rim. He pulled down eight boards in the first game and followed it up with 11 in the second, figures that aren't the least bit out of the ordinary for him.

Franklin has a good body control and loves to use head fakes to get his defender off balance. He has a good post game for a guard, with solid footwork. There was one play in the second game against Florida Gulf Coast where he faced up from the high post, pump-faked, drop-stepped, then spun to the basket and finished. It was a brilliantly advanced move to see from a college guard, showcasing his balance, footwork, composure in traffic and strength to finish. It was one of the most impressive plays of the game for me, which is saying something considering he was playing against Dunk City.

One thing that I hadn't noticed before but that really stuck out to me is that Franklin is a capable, but more importantly, willing passer. He played well in the flow of the offense, looking to move the ball and find open teammates. In fact, he was almost too passive at times. At one point in the second game, the Eagles went on a big run and Franklin basically disappeared (although to be fair, most of that were his teammates taking bad shots). He needed to be more assertive with his teammates struggling; 13 shots was not enough.

Franklin's biggest problem as a prospect is his shooting. He only shot 40.4 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from 3-point range during the season. His jumpshot form looks decent enough; no hitches or anything like that. I think he can easily improve his shot and in fact has already done so throughout his college career. A lot of it is due to his shot selection as well, but I don't think it's bad enough to really be an issue moving forward if he is given a more defined role.

After losing to FGCU, Franklin remained out on the court to watch the Eagles celebrate. He just stood there and stared for a two or three minutes. This is a man who wants to win badly, and is willing to do the work necessary to do so.

Franklin is another versatile, athletic wing. I would compare him to a young Jason Richardson, Evan Turner or Terrence Williams.

Final Thoughts: I am a big fan of Franklin's game and how much he's grown from his freshman year. When it's all said and done, he'll probably end up in the middle of the first round and out of the Suns' draft range, but depending on what happens, the Suns should definitely consider him with their second pick (either at the end of the lottery from the Lakers or at the end of the first round from the Heat).


  • School, Class: Creighton, Junior
  • Position: Forward
  • Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
  • Projection: DX - 37

Quote: "If you have a 6-8 guy that can really almost do everything, like he can make threes, he can take you off the block and everything, it's kind of tough because we're not used to like 6-8 guys, especially in our league, doing things like that." - Cincinnati sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick.

Doug McDermott is a National Player of the Year Finalist, a two-time All-American and, for my money, the best scorer in college basketball. I may be a tad bit biased considering that he plays for my school, but that also means I've been able to see almost every game he has played in a Bluejay uniform.

I'm not really sure where McDermott's stock is right now. Some places have him in the second round, others have him going in the latter part of the first. What I do know is that he knows how to play basketball.

McDermott is first and foremost a knockdown shooter. He has proven the ability to shoot the three at a high rate all the way out to NBA range (49 percent this season), both spotting up and running off of screens. He has also developed a very reliable face-up mid-range jumper that has really rounded out his game this season. McDermott's shooting touch will be his number one asset in the NBA.

However, what separates McDermott from a Matt Bonner or Steve Novak is his high basketball IQ and his ability to play in the post. McDermott has a terrific feel for the game and this allows him to be a pretty good rebounder on both ends. He doesn't have great physical tools, but his mental ones are top-notch. He has great touch on shots around the basket. He's not going to be able to play the same way he did in college - as a post-up power forward - but that ability to finish in the post and around the basket will certainly help him at the next level.

Against a really tough Cincinnati defense, McDermott was still able to get his and lead his team to a win. He finished with 27 and 11. He struggled mightily against Duke, shooting just 4-16 from the field, but he also went 12-12 from the line for 21 points. That would be more troubling, but McDermott is not going to be facing the same kind of defense (double-teaming and switching every screen) that forced that performance in the NBA.

McDermott is too good of a shooter and too smart of a player not to find a role offensively in the NBA. The big question mark with him is on the other end. Can he guard anyone? He's too small to defend most power forwards and he's too slow laterally to slow down quick or athletic wings.

McDermott should become a good role player at the next level if he ends up on a team that can put him in position to use his strengths while covering for his weaknesses. Comparable players would be Kyle Korver, Jared Dudley and Mike Dunleavy.

Final Thoughts: I'm as big of a Dougie fan as you'll find. I want him to go as high as possible and I want him to be very successful. However, with the disarray the team is in now and with Jared Dudley already on the roster, I don't think Phoenix is the right place for Doug. That doesn't mean I won't hope the Suns get him, either with that Heat pick or with the Suns' second rounder, though, as I can't help but want a Bluejay on the Suns.

Lon Babby has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Phoenix Suns, the team announced on Tuesday. Owner Robert Sarver has put his eggs in the Blanks-Babby basket, and just as the Suns...

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Babby's contract was set to expire after this season, but the Suns and owner Robert Sarver decided to lock him up before it got to that point.

Arizona Republic beat writer Paul Coro broke the news on Twitter.

#Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby agreed to a two-year extension to remain at the team's helm. More to come at azcentral.

— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) April 2, 2013

Now the team has sent out a press release confirming the extension including an official statement from Sarver:

"Lon has led our front office during this important transition period for the organization and he has my full support as we continue to rebuild," said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver.

The release goes on to mention how Babby has placed on emphasis on the draft by citing the selections of Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall as well as the numerous draft picks the Suns have acquired, and also mentions a focus on getting younger by listing the acquisitions of Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat, Wesley Johnson, P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris and Michael Beasley.

Babby himself put forth a statement in the release:

"I greatly appreciate the faith that Robert Sarver and the entire Suns organization have demonstrated with this new contract," said Babby. "We have begun the heavy lifting needed to rebuild our team. While the transition is often painful, I am entirely confident that we are taking the necessary steps to regain elite NBA status. I fully embrace the opportunity to continue on that path."

It appears from both quotes that Sarver is giving Babby the chance to finish what he started. There is some merit to this approach, as the Suns might as well let Babby attempt to get the team out of the hole he (and his predecessors) dug. The Suns chose to go with a (somewhat) full rebuild, and most times that involves getting worse before getting better. Well, the Suns got worse. Now it's time for the getting better part.

However, the examples of Babby's moves given above do not inspire confidence. Of those, I consider the acquisitions of Dragic, Gortat and Tucker good moves. The rest are at best neutral moves and at worst big mistakes. Based on the Twitter reaction from Suns fans, this is not a popular decision.

But none of that matters now. The Suns are moving forward with Babby at the helm and his version of the rebuild will continue.

Next on the agenda are the decisions on the futures of general manager Lance Blanks and interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. Dave has already written on this topic in depth, so check it out (just ignore the parts about Babby not being extended).

PHOENIX – The remaining portion of the Phoenix Suns’ 2012-13 season dictates two things clearly. It will dictate development to young players like Kendall Marshall, who the team drafted in the...

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Fans want absolutes. Is Lindsey Hunter the coach or not? Is Lon Babby the President/GM or not? Is Lance Blanks coming back to run the draft another time or two, or not?

The players want to know, too, but they are more focused on the summer break at this point or upcoming free agency.

I'm sure the ones most interested in knowing are Lindsey, Lon and Lance. But they can't afford to spend any time thinking about it (though you know they do anyway).

It's the fans who think about it way more than is probably healthy.

But whether Hunter is coming back next season matters not, at least not yet. First, the front office has to be in place with new contracts. Otherwise, why go through a coaching search that might have to be done all over again? No new GM or President is going to want to be saddled with a head coach he/she didn't pick.

Lindsey Hunter's interim head coaching contract most likely expires on the last day of the season, before Lon Babby's, and certainly before Lance Blanks. What happens to Hunter on April 18? Does he revert to player development coordinator again, pending a coaching search? Or is he released entirely from Suns employment? That call is Robert Sarver's to make, and it almost certainly won't be a decision to make Hunter the permanent coach with a brand new contract before a lot of other decisions are made.

Not if Sarver is still considering making changes in the front office.

Babby's contract does not expire until after the draft and the first month of free agency. Blanks' contract goes for another year beyond that, but we all know that only matters in context of paychecks. If Babby is gone, Blanks is certainly gone. If Babby stays, it's still possible that Blanks is out. I mean, just look at this roster he's assembled. The second-worst winning percentage in franchise history, folks.

"Every player on this team is a guy we wanted to be here," Babby said in preseason. He felt (and I felt as well, showing how much I know about chemistry and talent) that this team was more talented than last year's.

Blanks and Babby brought in NINE new players this season, returning only one guy given full starter's minutes all season long (Marcin Gortat). The others - Jared Dudley, Markieff Morris and Sebastian Telfair - all saw their minutes cut over the course of the season (Channing Frye missed the entire season with a heart condition).

This truly is Blanks and Babby's team. And Hunter is truly Blanks and Babby's coach.

"You've got to have that leadership," Lon Babby told KTAR/Arizonasports last week in a radio interview. "You're looking for that coach [to lead the team]."

"I don't want to speak prematurely," he admitted further, when prodded. "But I think we're getting some of that from Lindsey Hunter. We can talk about that at the appropriate time, but I do think we've made progress in some of that area.

"Is the leadership at the same level as it was before [with Nash and Hill]? No. We are constantly keeping our eye on that. You cannot have a rudderless ship, and we've got to make sure we don't have a rudderless ship. From right up here with me and Robert, on down to the locker room."

It's up to Robert Sarver to decide how strong and true the rudder named "Babby and Blanks" has become. Lon is careful to use "we" in any context of team evaluation. He is not alone on his island, and doesn't want to be portrayed that way. Blanks made the call on Hunter and the last two draft picks (Morris and Marshall). According to Babby, all of them made the call on Gentry and on the team itself last summer and for the past three years.

But if it's a question of bringing in new talent evaluators or losing his job, will he break ties from Blanks and Hunter? Will he care about the job enough to compromise character and integrity? Who knows.

It's also unknown WHEN the decisions will start being made, beginning with Lon Babby.

It's certainly possible that Sarver rides out this current front office through July since they are already under contract, but is that likely? Is it likely he has a new staff inherit the work of the prior regime without the opportunity to shape the roster before their first season in power?

Sounds crazy, but he's done it twice before. He did it in the disastrous summer of 2010, when Babby and Blanks were not hired until the heavy lifting had been done already, absolving them of any blame but also castrating them for 1/3 of their contracts. He also kind of did it in 2006 when Bryan Colangelo went to Toronto. Sarver simply promoted D'Antoni to GM without engaging in a GM search.

The only time he hired a President/GM in a timely fashion (ie. before the draft and free agency) was in 2007, when he hired minority owner and broadcaster Steve Kerr to run the front office ahead of longtime assistant GM Dave Griffin. But that wasn't under the gun. He simply stripped the tag from Mike D'Antoni and put a rookie in place.

So sure, it's possible that Sarver won't hire a new permanent front office until late summer, after the heavy lifting once again. He clearly doesn't (or, at least, didn't) think a permanent, veteran GM is vitally important during the draft and free agency.

We can assume Sarver and Babby will have a heart to heart on Babby's next contract when the season ends, and not much beyond it. The smart play is to decompress a bit and wait a couple weeks before sitting back down to discuss their future. That way, you're not working on adrenaline. That's what got Mike D'Antoni in trouble. He quit before stepping back a bit.

But if it's Lon's decision, he will have them collect their thoughts a bit before making any decisions.

"I have made some notes in a journal that I keep," Babby told me two weeks ago. "So that when I sit down with Robert I'm not going on what happened that day but on what happened all along. And hopefully Robert will do the same."

If the two decide to part ways, though, don't put it past them to keep Babby in the office until his contract ends. Babby is a man of integrity who values honoring contracts. It's certainly possible he and Blanks remain in their positions until Babby's ends.

Which just delays the hiring of the new President, new GM and new coach until late summer.

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