Editor’s Note: ValleyoftheSuns’ Michael Schwartz, Tyler Lockman and Mike Schmitz each select a sleeper who could be available for the Suns in the second round in this feature. Michael...

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Nash Reacts To Kerr News And Drops Budget Bomb While Sarver Attempts To Soothe Angry Fans

Reaction from Nash on Kerr's departure along with key bits of Sarver's hour + long appearance on KTAR today (audio also posted)


There's been a lot of guys that have come through the USAC practice court. By my count, that's a total of 31, in fact. Here's the full list.

Today's group included a french point guard, relatively unknown power forward with huge wing span and massive hands and one Jon Scheyer, formerly of Duke Unversity. Oh, and another freakish athlete in Marquez Haynes.

  • Jon Scheyer, 6' 6", PG/SG, Duke
  • Marquez Haines, 6' 2", PG, Texas Arlington
  • Dwayne Collins, 6' 8", PF, Miami (interview only due to knee injury)
  • Thomas Huertel, 6' 2", PG, France
  • Kyle Gibson, 6' 5", SG, Louisiana Tech (third workout for local kid)

Suns Director of Player Personnel Todd Quinter talked about what the Suns hope to find in this draft.

"We really believe that at 46, with the way this draft is set up, that we can get a player that could make our team, possibly and actually maybe contribute a little bit. Obviously, with free agency the way it is, it depends on the position and if we can get all our guys back, there wouldn't be quite as big a need for another player."

Best player vs. positional need?

"I don't know that you can ever say one or the other. I think when the time comes, we're going to have to look how good of a player the guy is to maybe the position we're looking for to see which way we want to go. At 46, that's what we're going to have to do."

Why work out so many players?

"I think when you have this pick, so many things can happen that you have to bring in a lot of players to look at and that's pretty much what we've done, trying to cover all of our bases. And we also went to the camp in Minnesota, which had 48 players, so we were able to see a lot of the guys there."

Thomas Huertel, 6' 2", PG, France

Described as a pure point guard with flashy skills and a good assist-to-turnover ratio. If he should fall to the Suns, he's a good candidate to stash overseas. Partly for that reason, Huertel's stock is rising and he's listed on mock drafts ahead of the Suns at 60.

Suns saw him at Eurocamp in Treviso three weeks ago and thought he was going to pull his name from the draft, but he stayed in.

Draft Express says:

A quite solid ball handler with good passing skills, he was the one in charge of organizing things on offense and controlling the game’s rhythm. He has decent size for his position to go along with decent athleticism, quickness and overall speed. He also shows to be also a more than reasonable shooter, as he sports good range, nice lift and a pretty quick release, enabling him to create his own shot off the dribble too. Sometimes he tends to get carried away with his shot selection, in the many run and gun plays of his team. He can also slash to the basket, making use of a great cross-over to change his rhythm and surpass his defender. And last but not least he’s also very active defensively, intense and aware on the weak side to help.



Dwayne Collins, 6, 8", PF, Miami

According to Chad Ford, Collins has the largest differential between wingspan (7' 4") and height. He also has the largest hands I've ever personally seen. Bigger than Amare's and probably as big as Shaq's. He said they measure roughly 10 inches from thumb to pinky and about about 9.5 from palm to tip of middle finger. His standing reach is 9' 1.5". For comparison, DeJuan Blair's standing reach is 8' 10.5" and Lou Amundson is 8' 7.5".

Todd Quinter calls him a physical paint player, a good rebounder and post defender with underdeveloped offensive skills. He loves to attack the rim and dunk the ball. He sees himself as a Ben Wallace-type player who takes pride in defense and rebounding, though there are some questions about his motor.

Collins had his knee scoped on June 18th to repair a slightly torn meniscus. He thinks he will be ready to play in the latter part of Vegas Summer League (mid-July). He was in Phoenix for interviews and meet-and-greets. Before having his knee scoped, he worked out for New Jersey, New York, Miami, and Oklahoma and expects to be drafted in the middle of the second round.

Draft Express says:

At 6’8 with a chiseled 232-pound frame, Collins has adequate height for an NBA power forward, but is severely undersized for his natural position of center. He is able to compensate somewhat with a tremendous wingspan (rumored to be 7’3), terrific frame and solid athleticism. Though he does not possess elite explosiveness or quickness, he is clearly above average and has the length and aggressiveness to compete at the next level.

On the offensive end, Collins has progressed slowly throughout his time at Miami, even if he still has a raw post game. He shows average footwork but looks more comfortable receiving the ball with his back to the basket these days, able to resort to a drop-step, a variety of hook shots, and even, at times, a turnaround jump shot. He is shooting a spectacular 60.4% from the field, which ranks him tenth among prospects in our database. This is indicative of the excellent position he’s often able to establish around the basket, as well as his very good finishing ability. Similarly, he continues to get to the line at a nice rate, averaging 8.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and ranking in the top 20 of our database in free throw attempts per possession, even if he shoots just 56.9% from the line.

 


 

Jon Scheyer, 6' 6", PG/SG, Duke

With a wing span of only 6' 3" and considered not strong or athletic enough to defend NBA shooting guards, Scheyer will be banking on his Duke championship pedigree, shot-making and high basketball IQ to get drafted. He's compared to a combo guard like Jeff Hornacek, who was also a second round (46th) pick. Scheyer has skills and knows how to play, but has to adjust to the speed of the NBA and improve his shooting.

Scheyer said he won't watch the draft, but is having some friends and family over to celebrate his year and thinks he will go in the late 1st to middle 2nd round.

NBA Draft.net says

Strengths: Real tough competitor, Jon is your typical productive, ultra-efficient Duke guard ... High basketball IQ, can play the 1 or the 2 in college, but will need to work at playing the 1 to prepare for the next level ... Has a great outside stroke with the ability to spot up from 3, as well as pull up from 3 ... Strong mid-range game, very comfortable shooting off the dribble... uses picks well on and off the ball ...

Weaknesses: He's simply not strong enough ... at 6'5, 180lbs, he would get pushed around guarding NBA 2guards, and he's not quick enough to guard NBA point guards ... Lacks athleticism, explosiveness and does not have that quick first step that NBA point guards need ... His lack of upper body strength and poor leaping ability will really hurt when trying to finish in traffic in the pros ... His below average first step will prevent him from getting the open looks he sees in college, as well as potentially hurt his ability to get over screens defensively when you combine it with his lack of strength ... You wouldn't call him a pure 3 point specialist, he's not a pure point guard, and he's just not built enough to be a pure 2-guard, so it's obvious that he lacks a true position at the next level ...

Marquez Haynes, 6' 2", PG, Texas Arlington

Super athlete with 41" vertical, he played with Jared Dudley at Boston College and then transfered to Texas Arlington to get more floor time and showcase his offense. Haynes is compared to an Aaron Brooks-type of scoring point guard, but was known for his defense in Boston.

Draft Express says:

A quality role player for the Eagles in his two seasons in the ACC, the 6-3 guard wasn’t valued for his offensive contributions as much as he was his propensity for shutting down opposing players. But while defense was his ticket to playing time in Chestnut Hill, Haynes had aspirations of playing in the NBA, and knew he wasn’t going to turn any heads as a specialist coming off the bench. In the spring of 2007, the Texas native decided it was time for a change.

Putting the ball in the basket may be an understatement of his ability with a basketball. Now a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington, Haynes ranks second in the nation in scoring as of Wednesday, averaging a box score busting and highly efficient 24.7 points, while often times serving as the Mavericks first and second scoring option.



Fropez went from dud to stud this season.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

More photos » Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Fropez went from dud to stud this season. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Welcome to the 6th installment of the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns player report cards. We're still using the A-F system, but to make it a bit more definitive we have eliminated plus or minuses...
Today we look at Robin Lopez.


Robin Lopez. Where do you begin when talking about the season Robin Lopez had? I guess the clear place to start would be the beginning...no, not the beginning of the season but the beginning of Robin Lopez as we now know him. It all started during an Alvin Gentry interview after practice. It wasn't anything Gentry said or did but rather an event that occured as the cameras were rolling. As a frustrated Lopez was leaving the court the door leading to the locker room just happened to be sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time and all of Lopez's rage in that moment became focused on that door...CRASH! The door was sent to hell and Robin was sent to timeout.

See up to that point Lopez was who we thought he was. Like the Toys 'R' Us song says, Robin just didn't want to grow up. He wanted to continue to live in a world full of comic books, candy and fun. A world where he was free to throw 'temper tantrums' any time things didn't go his way. Up to that point his childish behavior earned him spotty minutes as he was prone to foul (A LOT), get frustrated, frustrate his coach and teammates and showed little ambition on the offensive end of the floor. He was immature and unreliable. If the season had ended before the crash, he would definitely be getting a D from me.

But the season didn't end and in the moment that glass was shattering all around him (okay it was probably later after a stern scolding from several people but that doesn't make for as good of a story) something happened. Here's how I picture the scene:

ROBIN slams door with amazing force causing the glass to shatter.

WIDE SHOT: Extreme slow motion shot of glass shattering all around Robin

ZOOM (slow) in from WIDE SHOT to extreme CLOSE UP focused on Robin's eyes

ROBIN (inner dialogue): Man I can't do this anymore! I'm not helping my team and I'm definitely not helping myself acting this way. It's time for me to grow up and become a man!

ZOOM (fast) back out to WIDE SHOT and resume actual speed as glass falls to the floor

END SCENE

Okay, I'm not a screen writer (and have absolutely no idea if that's how you even write a script but you get the point. After the crash Robin Lopez emerged a completely different man and ball player. He learned to channel his rage and not pick up stupid fouls for the sake of hitting somebody. He showed enough for Gentry to place him into the starting lineup and quickly became a big part of the Suns new found ability to get stops in crucial moments of close games (contrary to popular belief, I don't think the Suns overall defense was better this year than in years past but their ability to get these stops when they counted was). Not only did he bring it on the defensive end but his offensive game suddenly appeared. Out of nowhere he was decisive with the ball in the post and competent with his midrange jumper.

If it weren't for Lopez's epiphony who knows if the Suns would have had the season they had. Could they have been successful playing Frye at the Center position the entire year? Sure but it would have been a lot tougher without having Lopez's physical presence inside. Truth is Robin Lopez played a HUGE part in the Suns amazing run after the All-Star break. He came into his own as a basketball player and showed a lot of maturity and poise (you know, for the most part). While he does have a lot to work on (he REALLY needs to work on moving the ball when they swing it to him at the top of the key - I watched AK47 pick him apart when we played Utah towards the end of the season) he was very solid for us and a big reason we surprised so many experts with our success.

So here's the tricky part, had he played the way he did in the second half of the season throughout the whole year he would have easily gotten an A from me. But I can't just ignore the part of the season where he was nowhere near that player...you know, where just a few paragraphs up I gave him a D. To me, with the season we had and the part he played, I'm giving him a very solid B. Hopefully he will continue his growth and maturation this summer and come back hungry and ready for more next season...well, either that or a door finds itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Oh, and for those of you that need stats, here are Lopez's from this past season:

FG
3PT
FT
Rebounds
Misc
Year
Team
G
Mi
M
A
Pct
M
A
Pct
M
A
Pct
Off
Def
Tot
Ast
TO
Stl
Blk
PF
PPG
2009 Suns 51 0 3.4 5.7 58.8 0 0 0 1.7 2.5 70.4 2 2.8 4.9 .100 .800 .200 1 0 8.4

Grade: B

Poll
What grade do you give Robin Lopez for the 2009 - 2010 season?

  585 votes | Results


As it turns out, the Phoenix Suns’ past may have been more affected by this draft than their future will be. With just a pair of second-round picks to their name (46th and 60th overall), the...

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