Kansas forward Marcus Morris (22) dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Longwood in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. Marcus Morris scored 18 points in the game. Kansas defeated Longwood 113-75. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Reliving the recent Phoenix Suns draft history of say the past 10 years or so would only be an exercise in heartbreak and slashing open old salty wounds that leave many of us in the mood to go pick up a machete and walk the streets wild eyed and drooling like some purple and orange zombie. So let us get down to brass tacks about the Suns choice at #13 this season. Smart men often say "there are no sure things," but if there is one, you can be sure the Suns FO will do the best to find him.

Facts:

  • The Phoenix Suns are not in the position to make a risky choice at #13. The team is aging, in transition, and has a hole to fill everywhere with the exception of the 5, depending on the way you look at it.
  • The Suns have made it public they are looking for a PG or a front line player. Other than Channing Frye, no one played even decent at the PF spot.
  • While we all may be over Amare, the fact is, he has yet to be replaced. The Suns need front line scoring and rebounding that he provided. Defense is highly desired as well.

The Suns could have hit the nuke button after last season's mess, but what we are hearing from the FO, trusted local media, and the man himself, Steve Nash will most likely be extended. The slow reconstruction will continue with the proabable resigning of Grant Hill. To the point:  the Suns are not going to gut the squad and risk a ten year rebuilding process. That would put much less $ into Robert Sarver's hands via many less wins and of course playoff appearances. So, expect the Suns to take the most polished, low risk/high reward PF in the draft that can help but PHX back in the playoff hunt.

Prediction:

The Suns will take Marcus Morris at the 13. Morris provides the Suns with 3 vital attributes of a draft pick for the franchise: 1. He is a fairly polished player. 2. He is a scorer, and 3. He projects as an NBA PF. Further, Morris isn't a one dimensional player. He can take it to the rack, and he can also step out and hit a 15 footer.

He is not yet the defender or rebounder the Suns desperately need down low, but he's go the tools, desire, and athleticism to develop into that guy who helps we in the desert forget about the void left by Amare Stoudemire.

Some positive blurbs from Draft Express about Morris:

Morris ranked as the most effective back to the basket threats in this group of prospects, and in all of college basketball for that matter, scoring an incredible 1.18 points in post-up situations.

Marcus Morris is not an elite physical specimen, but he did register a positive wingspan to height ratio (6-10:6-7) at a solid 230 pounds.

Morris ranks as one of the most efficient at 1.12 PPP (3rd), behind just Derrick Williams and Justin Harper, despite turning the ball over on just 10.5% of his possessions (5th).

Morris ranked as the most effective back to the basket threats in this group of prospects, and in all of college basketball for that matter, scoring an incredible 1.18 points in post-up situations.

Negative:

 The biggest question-marks regarding Morris's NBA potential are based on his ability to compete on the glass at the NBA level and effectively mix it up with the bigger, stronger, and more athletic matchups he'd be facing on a nightly basis defensively. Pulling down just 6.6 defensive rebounds per-40 (a career high), Morris provides just an average presence on the glass, lacking the size, length and explosiveness to go out of his area regularly for extra possessions.

Not many draft picks make the jump for the collegiate ranks to the starting lineup of any team. Marcus Morris most likely is included in this assumption. But the encouraging fact about Morris is he is athletic, and has a pretty good basketball IQ. The result should be the anti-Earl Clark:  Skills accompanied with motivation and desire. Morris is a guy that the coaches will be able to reach psychologically. In turn he can adapt his game to the NBA level. Size? yeah he could use 10+ pounds of muscle to fight the big boys down below. But the most important key to Morris is that he wants to D it up and hit the boards.

Here's are man in action:

Marcus Morris dunks all over pitt state (via lukeginobili)

The Highlight Reel (Warning the music could be offensive to some, so I urge you to mute if necessary)

Marcus Morris Kansas Highlights (via TheDraftReview)

The Pre Draft Workout and Interview

DraftExpress - Marcus Morris Pre-Draft Workout & Interview (via DraftExpress)

At the college level, Morris could do nearly anything a big man would be asked to do: take the ball to the rim, work with his back to the basket and post up, pop out for a midrange jumper, and we even saw some range further than that; and most importantly for the Suns, the desire to play some defense.

Yes Morris isn't a sexy pick. He doesn't have that raw athleticism and explosiveness of Derrick Williams, he isn't the high risk/reward of a Tristan Thompson, and for that matter, our old friend whose now enjoying life in NYC. But a squad needs the versatility of Morris. With some more thickness, he has the mindset to be a battler on the boards. As DE points out, Morris projects as David West meets Al Harrington, or, in the worst case, Udonis Haslem.

Of late, many mocks have Morris going earlier than 13, but if he's available, and barring any other deals to move up, the Suns could do a lot worse than Morris.

What say you about the "better brother?"

Poll
If Marcus Morris was available at 13, would you draft him?

  364 votes | Results


Although Tristan Thompson’s PAWS 40 numbers do not impress, John Hollinger’s Player Rater ranks him as perhaps the steal of the draft. Hollinger slots Thompson third overall on his big...

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Is this guy even an upgrade from Zabian Dowdell? (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

With the NBA Draft just 3 days away and right on cue, the rumors are flying around the web and spreading like the Wallow Fire.  Now even the new-look no-talk Front Office of the Phoenix Suns has seemed to open up a bit as to what they plan to do come draft night...  or have they?

The word on Twitter and on local sports talk radio is that the Phoenix  Suns are looking to acquire a second 1st round pick so they can secure both a point guard and a forward on Thursday night.  Here's the catch - the supposed point guard of choice - it's the late first round to second round projected prospect Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech.

Wait... WHAT THE?

Jump it to find out more, suckers.

So when I say 'local sports talk' radio - you all should know by now I'm talking about John Gambadoro of Sports620, he's been the public voice of Robert Sarver for the past many years now as the two of them share an interesting relationship.   I'm not a big Gambo fan - but he's given information to disseminate to the public for a reason, whether it's to sincerely give the fans an inside scoop or whether it's to smear the desert skies with cloaking smoke screens. That's what makes our job as plotting fanatics fun - we get to play Perry Mason and try to piece together the mystery and figure out why the heck the Front Office wants us to believe Iman Shumpert.

Here's what he said via his Twitter

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Furthermore on his radio show he expressed his 'feelings' about the draft a little more, 

"What player are they going to pick at 13," John Gambadoro said on Sports 620 KTAR's Gambo and Ash show. "I think they lean towards Markieff Morris.

"If Markieff Morris is off the board at 13 then I think the player they pick is Shumpert."

When Gambo says "Shumpert" he is talking about Iman Shumpert, a 6-5 guard from Georgia Tech.

"I'll tell you right now, that I think if it came down to Shumpert or Jimmer Fredette they will take Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech over Jimmer Fredette from BYU."

Iman Shumpert? 

  • Height/Weight: 6'6"/220
  • 20 years old - entering the draft after 3 years at Georgia Tech
  • 2010-11 = 32.0 MPG, 17.3 PPG, 40.6 FG%, 27.8 3P%, 80.6 FT%, 5.9 REB, 3.5 ASTS. 

From DraftExpress.com,

As we've stated in past reports, the intrigue around Shumpert as a potential NBA player revolves around his exceptional physical profile for a player seeing time at the point guard position. Standing 6'4 with an extremely rangy frame, Shumpert is fluid, agile, deceptively quick, and an explosive two-foot leaper.

...

Still a streaky perimeter scorer, Shumpert is far too reliant on his jump shooting ability, and often looks to pull-up when he puts the ball on the floor. 68% of his shot attempts are of the jump-shot variety, but he knocks down just 28.4% of them, and gets even worse when pulling up off the dribble, making 19.5% of his pull-up attempts. While he's hitting his free throws at a very respectable rate, Shumpert's shooting still haven't caught up with his solid mechanics and remain by far his biggest weakness, especially when you look at the way he operates on the floor sometimes—usually taking the first shot available to him, regardless of whether it's a good or bad attempt.

The scouting report goes on to compliment his defense and his physical tools a little more as well noting that he is very effective in transition with the ball.

It should also be noted (because I said so) that Gani Lawal was a former teammate of Iman Shumpert a year ago and in the video below Shumpert mentions that he's still very close with him (G-Man).


So it's his overall PG skills and his outside shooting that are questionable, but his defense and speed are assets.  You guys be the judge, but to me something is definitely fishy about Gambo saying that he is 'the guy' with a Lottery Pick though he's consistently projected late 1st round to early 2nd round.

Okay -  Let's slow up and break this down a bit.  Here's what we've been smoke screened with today -

  1. Suns talk of trading Robin Lopez to the GSW for Ekpe Udoh and the 11th pick
  2. The Suns would take Iman Shumpert over Jimmer Fredette
  3. The Suns would take Markieff Morris at their pick for Forward (assuming Tristan Thompson is not available)

Here's a little piece of Euty's mind...   The Euty-response

Let's talk about #1 - RoLo to GSW for Udoh and the 11th?  Okay!  Udoh was last year's #6 pick in the draft and you're telling me that we get to pick at 11 and 13?   That means we could snatch up a certain BYU PG (who's name I can't remember) before the Jazz do as well as see if T.Thompson or a Morris falls to 13.   ...  Or we could take Shumpert at 13 and T.Thompson at 11?   That doesn't make sense to me... if we are so anxious to trade up and get the 11th, who are we worried won't be there at 13?  

The Utah Jazz have made no indication that they would take T.Thompson or Markieff Morris if those are our guys... in fact they are looking to pick up a SG or a SF with their 12th pick - assuming they take Brandon Knight with the 3rd.   The opposite is true that if the Jazz elect to go with Kanter at 3 or another big man - then they will in all likelihood take a PG like Walker or Fredette with their 12th pick.. maybe that's what our front office is preparing for.

Or it could be like our very own Justin Burning suggested to me on Twitter - Maybe the Suns are looking to get the 13 and the 11 and package it as a deal to get the # 2 and a possible shot at D.Williams... Eh?  Eh?

Let's move on to #2 - Iman Shumpert in the Lottery?  Really?  This smells of decoy, a mask, a smokescreen, a dirty trick to try and fool somebody for some mysterious reasons?  Any thoughts?  I can't figure it out.  It would be a terrible mistake to draft Iman Shumpert at 13 considering the other relative talent available in the lottery.  That wouldn't be a very pretty tattoo for our Front Office IMHO. 

He's a fast, athletic and a defensively minded guard.. but who can't shoot and doesn't make smart decisions always on the court... is this even an upgrade from Zabian Dowdell?  And we want to use our Lottery pick on him?

Plus - Iman Shumpert is the guard that the Suns brought in to go head to head with Fredette here in Phoenix - and the word from the street is that Fredette held his own and impressed the Suns Front Office heavily.   But according to Gambo - NAH, the Yankees rule and the Suns would take Shumpert over Fredette in a heartbeat.  But what about all that talk from Lance Blanks about "If he's there (Jimmer) it's going to be a really tough decision..."???

Lastly #3 - Markieff?  Really?  I was pretty sure Marcus was the better twin... but maybe we are just destined to try a new lesser-twin each year until we eventually cut or trade them all.

One final thought -

This Front Office has gone to great lengths to NOT disclose predraft workouts (I had to crack the Twitter code and semi-stalk draft prospects to find out the little info that I did) - not make players or coaches immediately available after them - NOT release any word on what the team plans to do at all for the future personnel-wise... yet all of a sudden today Gambo knows that Iman Freaking Shumpert is our guy and Markieff Morris is the better twin?  Something smells foul.

What say ye Bright-Sideiens?  What shall we make of this cannon fodder?!  Speak, Rabble, PREACH!!!


The Phoenix Suns desperately need to hit a home run with the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, not just for the team’s slowly dwindling future, but for its oft-criticized front office as...

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The following contains elements of Draft Express's breakdown of Tristan Thompson in addition to my own thoughts and opinions. Although I'll do my best to educate you about the strengths and weaknesses of the former Longhorn, I still highly recommend checking out Draft Express yourself.

TRISTAN THOMPSON

  • Position - Power Foward
  • School - Texas (1 season)
  • Important Measurables - Height: 6'9"; Weight: 227 lbs; Wingspan: 7'1.25"; Standing Reach: 9'0.5"
  • 2010-2011 Stats - 13.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg (3.8 orpg), 2.4 bpg, 54.6 fg%, 48.7 ft%

FIRST WORD

Tristan Thompson is probably the name that is most commonly linked to Phoenix in mock drafts. All the signs are pointing to the Suns drafting a big man, and Thompson could be the high-potential power forward the Suns desperately need. Hit the jump for a breakdown of his game.

OFFENSE

Thompson is a high-motor player who scores many of his points on hustle plays. He's very quick and is an excellent offensive rebounder which leads to a lot of easy put-backs and close looks. But outside of his offensive rebounding prowess, he is extremely raw offensively. While watching some clips of him, I was reminded of a young Amar'e Stoudemire. Thompson does not have any sort of a developed back-to-the-basket game and often resorted to crazy fall-away shots if he couldn't get close enough to dunk it. He also is not a particularly gifted passer. However, he did show signs of becoming a good face-up player as the season rolled on, preferring to use his quickness to blow by his man and finish at the rim. You may be saying to yourself at this point, "A young Amar'e? Draft that kid!" But the problem in that he's not Amar'e. STAT is bigger, more explosive, and has a uniquely soft touch around the basket that I just don't see with Thompson. This lack of touch and his raw skillset really manifest themselves in his mid-range jumper, which is virtually non-existent. With his quickness, he could develop into a nice pick-and-roll finisher, and this might be one area on offense where he can contribute.

DEFENSE

Where Thompson has a long way to go on offense, he is much more ready to contribute defensively. His quick feet and length mean he can be a real disruptive force in the paint. Although a bit under-sized, Thompson has a strong lower body and will hopefully be able to hold his own in the post. His game against Arizona's Derrick Williams, where he held the top pick to just 4-14 shooting, shows that he has what it takes to lock down the best of the best. DX suggests that he may even be able to stay with some small forwards, which is a testament to his defensive versatility. Considering how good the Texas big man is at cleaning up the offensive glass, it may surprise you to learn that his defensive rebounding fundamentals are not quite up to snuff. He is often caught out of position and can frequently be seen watching the ball rather than looking for a man to box out. This is an area he must improve, although with the effort he shows in the rest of his game this should be easily corrected.

PERSONALITY/CHARACTER

Here's his interview with DX so you can judge this category for yourself. I will say this though: Earl Clark he is not.

Tristan Thompson Draft Combine Interview (via DraftExpress)

Oh, and he's Canadian.


BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

Tristan Thompson has a lot of potential, but he has a long way to go. He will likely be more ready to play right away than last year's draft pick Gani Lawal, and he could challenge Lawal and Hakim Warrick for the back-up PF spot as a rookie. But if he's taken, don't expect much more than Lou Amundson production.

If you don't believe me, here's DX's conclusion:

Thompson's potential, at this point at least, far outweighs his ability to contribute in the NBA and any team looking to draft him should be patient. It would be ideal for Thompson to develop alongside of a skilled center and a creative point guard, as his energy and athleticism are by far his most attractive attributes at this stage and he will likely struggle to create or produce on his own much initially. It is far more likely, however, that he will begin his career coming off of the bench and that playing time will depend on his energy level and defensive effectiveness.

I'm not sure how much of his potential Thompson will be able to realize, but judging by this paragraph Phoenix seems to be an excellent team for him to begin his career with. Marcin Gortat anchoring the middle means he can be free to move around off the ball, and Steve Nash will always get him the ball where he can be successful with it. While he's not my favorite prospect in this draft, I wouldn't mind if he's the pick at #13 (assuming players like Biyombo, etc. are already gone).

So what do you think my fellow Bright-Siders?

Poll
Do we want the Texas big man at #13?

  154 votes | Results


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