PHOENIX — “I’m just trying to be myself, the best version of me. You can’t recreate yourself before the end of these workouts.” – Mason Plumlee on his approach going into the draft Strengths...

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Phoenix sports talk radio dude and well-connected Suns leaker of non-classified franchise secrets, John Gambadoro, tweeted the following about the new additions to the Hornacek staff:

The Phoenix Suns will add Jerry Sichting and former Sun Mark West to Jeff Hornacek's coaching staff.

— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) June 11, 2013

Mark West, you know very well. He played for the Suns for eight-ish seasons and finished his life in the NBA with a career average six points and five rebounds per game. West has been with the Suns since 2001 and since 2006 as the VP of Player Programs (aka Official Big Brother).

Jerry Sichting has about ten years experience as an NBA assistant coach, including last season with the Washington Wizards where he apparently worked with the Washington big men(?). He played about 10 season in the NBA as a guard where he averaged 12 points and six assists for his career.

As our own Kris Habbas pointed out, Sichting famously fought with Suns player development coach Ralph Sampson in Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Finals.


The further the mock drafts go, the more difficult it is to accurately predict the players who could be in play. When it comes to the Suns 57th pick overall in the second round, there is little consensus about which players will still be available, or which players will even be drafted at all.

One hint we have available to us are players that the Suns have brought in for workouts. Another clue is the players who have been mocked in and around the end of the second round who could have attributes or skill sets that the Suns could be interested in.

But make no mistake about it, it's a complete crap shoot this deep in the draft.

With that in mind, I've compiled a list of seven players that constitute my best guess of who the Suns could be looking at with their final pick the coming NBA Draft.

1. Vander Blue, SG, 6'5" 197 lbs, Marquette:

Vander Blue is a fast, quick slashing type of player who can also be an effective playmaker and defender. He's not a great shooter though and has a tendency to take poor shots at times, but his defense, ability to score, and versatility as a combo guard makes him an attractive option in the second round.

2. Solomon Hill, SF, 6'7", 226 lb, Arizona :

Hill is a college hometown favorite from UofA who has been one of the most consistent and productive players on the Wildcats over the past few seasons. He's the most versatile player on this list and did a little bit of everything last season, averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The biggest drawback for Hill is that while he did everything pretty well in college, he doesn't have any one area that he really excels at which can help him translate his game to the next level.

3. Grant Jarrett, PF, 6'10", 232 lbs, Arizona :

Sticking with our local prospects, Jarrett is another Wildcat who could be a realistic option for the Suns' 57th pick. Unlike his teammate Hill who is a senior, Jarrett was a freshman last season who although struggled off the bench last season, still showed some NBA potential during his short stint at UofA. Jarrett is a stretch four who is an excellent shooter, a very good passer for a big man, and reportedly has a high basketball I.Q.

4. Kenny Kadji, PF, 6'10", 242 lbs, Miami:

If he's still available, Kadji will likely be the most talented big man left in the draft by the time the Suns choose their last pick. There's no doubting his talent, measurables, and leaping ability. He's a good shooter for a big man and a pretty good defender. His biggest drawback is that he's already 25 years old and probably has very limited upside at this point. Still, his measurables and frame make him NBA ready, and he could be a nice option in the second round if the Suns are looking for another big man.

5. Ryan Kelly, PF, 7'0", 228 lbs, Duke:

Kelly is what he is, a three-point specialist in a 7-foot frame. While it may be tempting to compare him to our own Channing Frye, you have to remember that Frye was a much more versatile player in college and a high draft pick, and even now Channing is a fairly decent defender and rebounder for a stretch four. Kelly is none of those things. He literally has one skill, and that is shooting lights out from beyond the arc. Still, he is exceptional at that one skill, and his height should help him ensure that he is still able to get off quality shots even at the next level as a catch and shoot player.

6. Phil Pressey, PG, 6'0", 177 lb, Missouri:

Pressey is an interesting prospect for a second round pick. He is a very athletic, explosive, and fast player who is also a good floor general and an excellent passer. If the story ended here, you're looking at a potential lottery pick...but it doesn't. The problem with Pressey is that he's undersized, and has a tendency to take a lot of bad shots, and he's not a very good jump shooter to begin with. He is also a questionable defender, even more so when projecting him at the next level. He has the ability to be one of the best point guards in this draft class and all the tools to make it in the NBA, but can he learn to play within himself?

7. Peyton Siva, PG, 6'1", 181 lb, Louisville:

Peyton is probably the most recognizable name on the list as the starting point guard on the team who just won the NCAA National Championship. He is extremely quick and athletic, a great defender with excellent lateral quickness, and a good distributor. However, he is not a good shooter, and like Pressey, has a tendency to believe he is. While Siva is often referred to as being undersized, I think this is much less of a concern than his perimeter shooting. If Siva can develop a consistent jump shot and be more selective with his shot selection, he could be an absolute steal in the second round for a team looking for a young point guard.

Here is a look at how this group fared in the NBA Combine last month:


Name Height W/O Shoes Height With Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width

Vander Blue (SG, Marquette)

6' 3.5''
6' 5.25'' 197.4 6' 6'' 8' 4.5'' 4.6 8.5 9.5

Solomon Hill (SF, Arizona)

6' 5.5'' 6' 7'' 226 6' 9'' 8' 7''
9 10.5
Grant Jerrett (PF, Arizona) 6' 8.75'' 6' 10.25'' 232 7' 2'' 9' 1'' 10.05 8.5 9.25
Kenny Kadji (PF, Miami) 6' 8.75'' 6' 10'' 241.6 7' 3'' 8' 10.5'' 7.45 9 10.25

Ryan Kelly (PF, Duke)

6' 9.75'' 6' 11.75'' 228 6' 11.5'' 9' 2'' 14.75 9 10
Phil Pressey (PG, Missouri) 5' 9.5'' 5' 11.5'' 177 6' 2.25'' 7' 8''
7.75 9.75
Peyton Siva (PG, Syracuse) 5' 11.5'' 6' 1'' 180.6 6' 3'' 7' 9'' 6.05 8 9.75


Name 3/4 Court Sprint Time
Lane Agility Time
Modified Time
Standing Vertical
Max Vertical

Vander Blue (SG, Marquette)






Solomon Hill (SF, Arizona)






Grant Jerrett (PF, Arizona)






Kenny Kadji (PF, Miami)






Ryan Kelly (PF, Duke)






Phil Pressey (PG, Missouri)






Peyton Siva (PG, Syracuse)






My Take:

The issue with late second round prospects is that they are extreme long shots. Never mind the highly unlikely chance of finding a starter, even finding a role player who can contribute off the bench would be considered a home run.

For this reason, I would rather the Suns draft players late in the second round with highly specialized skills who can do at least one thing very well. While someone like Solomon Hill may be the best all-around player out of this list, how likely is it that he will be used for all of the things he is pretty good at? On the other hand, a guy like Ryan Kelly who is a very good three point shooter, but does absolutely nothing else, could find a role on the Suns as a Mike Miller-esque type of guy who can knock down open shots in limited minutes on the floor.

Of course, Kelly has yet to workout with the Suns, so perhaps they aren't interested in a one-trick pony at all. They have worked out other big men who can also shoot the ball like Grant Jerrett and Kenny Kadji though, so maybe they are looking for a guy who actually has a chance to not only stretch the floor but also rebound, defend, and score inside a little as well.

Either way, the reality of the situation is that player they pick at #57 will be a stretch to even make the final roster. However, if the Suns' FO and scouting department does their homework, they could certainly land a player who can help the team in some capacity...which is about the most you should even hope for with this pick anyway.


The Phoenix Suns need help at every single position. If you had to pick one position not to bother with at the moment, it might be point guard. But shooting guard, small forward, power forward and even center are major question marks for even the near future of the franchise.

The Suns lineup does boast a starting quality, veteran center in Marcin Gortat. Gortat can give you a double-double and protect the paint with good weak side and help defense. A team can do a lot worse than Gortat.

The problem is that the Suns are rebuilding, while Marcin Gortat is 29 years old and has only one year left on his contract. Re-signing Gortat to a long term contract when he is 30 years old is a ploy by a playoff team, not a rebuilding team. Letting him go next summer without compensation would be folly too.

So it's time to trade Gortat. Either during the draft or during the summer.

But who would replace Gortat in the Phoenix Suns lineup? Of the league-high 45 players who have visited Phoenix in the past nine days, only four have been first-round caliber centers: Alex Len (ranked Top 5), Cody Zeller (lottery), Mason Plumlee (lottery/mid-first) and Rudy Gobert (lottery/mid-first).

Len might be gone by the time the Suns draft at #5 on June 27. Besides Nerlens Noel, Len is the best center prospect in the draft yet has a lot of need to grow his game. He is no finished product, by any means. But he has the frame, the skills and athletic ability to potentially become the best player in the Draft.

Zeller might be better suited at power forward than center. The Suns are still evaluating Markieff Morris at that position, and just might prefer to employ a stretch-four in their offense rather than the traditional power forward anyway. Zeller did very little shooting in college, only displaying his shooting ability in workouts for the first time this spring. It's a stretch for teams to translate that to game action.

However, Zeller is a multi-talented 7-footer who would be hard to pass up. And, he's got the Suns-ian advantage of being one of an NBA brother tandem. Older brother Tyler, a lottery pick in 2012, plays for the Cavaliers while older-older brother Luke is a fringe NBA player ("outside of games, best shooter in the world"). The Suns love them some brothers.

Rudy Gobert has the longest reach in the history of "reach", measuring a wingspan of 7'9" at the Draft Combine. He is very raw, and even himself said he might be ready to play "10-15 minutes a game in January". That's two months into his rookie season, folks. He's a reach. Potentially though, Gobert might just be the best defender of the group and his 7'2", 238 pound frame looks tailor-made to add weight.

That leaves Mason Plumlee, an athletic freak who doesn't have the classic offensive skills needed in the NBA but rebounds like a demon and runs fast.

Mason Plumlee, like Cody Zeller, is one of three brothers on the NBA track. Older brother Miles was drafted a year ago in the first round by the Pacers, while younger brother Marshall still plays at Duke. Last year, all three were on the Duke 12-man roster.

Will Mason Plumlee be the better brother?

Ryan McDonough sang Plumlee's praises after Mason's workout yesterday in Phoenix.

"I know Mason in the NBA right away will be able to rebound," McDonough said. "He will be one of the better bigs running the floor. He plays above the rim. He rebounds above the rim. There were a number of times today where he got loose and the guards threw the ball up to the rim and he caught it and dunked it."

Plumlee is active, that's for sure. Check out the Draft Express scouting report on Mason, including the video. On offense, Plumlee lives without plays being called for him. He dives and cuts to shake defenders, gobbles up putbacks and lobs. He would be good diving to the basket on pick and rolls. But he does have weaknesses.

"Areas of improvement - he's worked on his shooting and he will keep working on it," McDonough said. "But he's ready to play. Coming out of that Duke system, with his age and his body, he's a guy I can see sliding in and being on the floor pretty quickly in the NBA game."

Plumlee is extremely active, but has limited lateral quickness to defend the pick and roll - a staple in the NBA. But he's a worker, and this team needs workers.

"As far as centers in this draft, he's up there. That's a tough position to find a guy who can rebound the ball like that is attractive to me. A guy who runs the floor. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he went in the lottery somewhere."

Too bad the Suns don't have a late lottery pick to use on him. Right?

Then again, the Suns do have assets. Such as a veteran center ready to help a team make the playoffs as their fourth or fifth best player. A team like Portland, with the 10th pick, or Oklahoma City, with the 12th, could really use a guy like Gortat.

Plumlee is the kind of guy McDonough might want, in a trade for the 10th or 12th pick in the draft. So is Cody Zeller. Or even Rudy Gobert, whose potential is greater than either Zeller or Plumlee at the 5, but may never reach even the level these two already possess.

Whether its Gobert, Zeller or Plumlee, if the Suns take a perimeter player at #5 it would behoove them to take a center with a second lottery pick, using Gortat as the bait. Two top picks at separate need positions seems to be the way the Suns are leaning.

"For a guy like him, what is that range?" he says of the decision-making process with Plumlee. "And if we're interested in him, what pick do we have to get to get him?

"He's one of the more ready-made guys in the draft who can come in and play as a rookie."


The Phoenix Suns seem to be outworking the competition so far getting in more players than any team for group and individual workouts. When all is said and done they may know more about the 2013 NBA Draft then any individual on the planet.

Not every workout is going to draw in the top level talent for the Phoenix Suns as they continue to prepare for the 2013 NBA Draft later this month. Today, for example, the team was looking at six prospects that could be options for their late second round pick this year.

The Suns have two picks in the first round (5 and 30) as well as one in the second round (57) to work with.

All six of the prospects brought in are more realistic as late second round picks. The big names were Grant Jerrett (former Arizona forward) and Vander Blue (Marquette). Both have the potential to be quality NBA players, but are coming from very different situations. Last year, as a freshman, Jerrett was not utilized like he could have been in a deep Arizona front-court. He had to share time which led to a reduced role and a decision to leave early for the NBA Draft. On the other hand Blue is a junior that saw his stock soar after a very quality showing in the NCAA Tournament.

Jerrett played ball here in Tucson, but former Hamilton High School star Ryan Evans was also in this workout creating a very hometown feel. He played four years for the Wisconsin Badgers on an unassuming team with an unassuming role. Working out for his hometown team for a spot in the NBA Draft had to be a dream fulfilled.

The rest of the group included Kenny Kadji, Durand Scott, and Scott Woods. Here is a quick breakdown of the workout participants from a scouting perspective:

  • Grant Jerrett -- Arizona -- Freshman power forward: A good shooter and translates immediately as a stretch-four. Jerrett has the talent to be a very good prospect, but didn't show it consistently at Arizona this year and looked out of shape in Chicago for the Combine.
  • Vander Blue -- Marquette -- Junior shooting guard: Not a scorer, but when forced into that role proved to be resourceful. Has the physical tools to be a great defender on the perimeter with a terrific athletic profile.
  • Kenny Kadji -- Miami -- Senior forward/center: He can stretch the floor as a shooter, but with his size Kadji can forget that he belongs in the paint. Not a great athlete, but solid. Today, Kadji is 25 years old.
  • Ryan Evans -- Wisconsin -- Senior wing: The best athlete in a long time for the Badgers, but the last player with that distinction was former Sun Alando Tucker. Evans is a better basketball player with the ability to be an impact defender and has improved each year on the offensive end, as a ball-handler, and as a shooter.
  • Durand Scott -- Miami -- Senior combo guard: Another undersized two guard that plays the one. More of a scorer that had his most efficient year as a senior scoring and shooting the ball.
  • Scott Wood -- N.C. State -- Senior wing: Great shooter, but other than that Wood is not an NBA level athlete. He is very smart and played his role well for the Wolfpack, but he is not an NBA athlete, lacks strength, and ball-skills to play on the perimeter. For his career Wood shot 809 threes (41.3%) and 256 twos (45.3%).

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday.

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