One of the best pure shooters in the 2013 draft class, California Golden Bears guard Allen Crabbe played three years of efficient ball for well-respected head coach Mike Montgomery. At 6-foot-6 in shoes and with a near 7-foot wingspan, Crabbe could remind Suns fans of Wes Johnson, take away an inch in height and all the expectations that came with Johnson being a fourth overall pick. As a shooter, though, he has the same attributes with an arguably sweeter stroke.
Deadly in catch-and-shoot situations, Crabbe can pour it in even with a hand in his face. As the focal point in Cal’s offense, his shooting percentage of 45.9 was impressive. Though his three-point stroke dipped to 34.8 percent during his final season, it likely was due to adjusted defenses, and he will be in a better position as a spot-up shooter a la J.J. Redick in the NBA.
Considering his slim frame, Crabbe was also a very good rebounder, grabbing more than six per game. The length of Crabbe projects him as a solid NBA defender from a physical standpoint as well.
Editor’s note: This is the first entry in our 2013 NBA Draft prospect profile series. We’ll be focusing on all three of the Suns’ draft picks by alternating between in-depth prospect profiles for players that could be selected at the fifth and 30th picks and on all posts throwing out second-round options that could make sense for Phoenix.
Noel’s best attributes come in his length, athleticism and defensive instincts. He should immediately be able to contribute as a rim-protecting big man who uses his explosiveness and timing to block shots – he averaged 4.4 per game as a college freshman – and rebound the ball. Averaging 10.5 points and 9.9 rebounds in 24 games for the Kentucky Wildcats, Noel proved in a decent enough amount of college minutes that he has a consistent motor and basic fundamentals to grow into the elite defender that many people expect.
Already, Noel should be the counter to the pick-and-roll heavy offenses of the NBA; he can hedge and recover because of his fluid mobility on the perimeter. And because he’s an excellent rebounder and shot blocker, the 19-year-old will be able to use his speed to run the floor and score easy buckets in transition.
Noel could also be a decent pick-and-roll finisher off the bat, and his ability to put the ball on the deck once could be a tad underrated at this point. He’s also already a very good offensive rebounder who like Tyson Chandler can get many of his points in that way.
UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Suns have been granted permission to interview Houston Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford. They will also look into Jeff Hornacek and CSKA Moscow coach Quin Snyder.
PHOENIX — The head coaching search for the Phoenix Suns is mightily complicated, moreso than expected. Newly-appointed general manager Ryan McDonough’s chops in the NBA world will truly need to be on display in the next month or so, when he’ll continue to sort out the many NBA coaching candidates that could become leaders of the rebuilding Suns.
“I feel like (the list) narrows and expands at the same time,” McDonough said Tuesday, after the Suns learned they would select fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
He said that it’s been difficult to shuffle his list — once he prioritizes his favorites, others have reached out. Still, McDonough remained confident that the Suns can get the coach they want once the research is done.
Asked if he was any closer to finding the next coach, McDonough could only say that “closer is a relative term.” There are several reasons why the Suns aren’t in a rush.
The timing while continuing to work the draft
The Suns must also juggle draft duties with finding a head coach. This also goes back to talking with candidates currently working for other NBA teams, as they could be deep into the process of evaluating prospects for June. Teams might not want to let them go — after all, they’ve spent years evaluating prospects and to lose that knowledge to another team could be hurtful.
Then comes the issue of having a coach in time for the Suns’ own draft preparations.
“I’m not going to rush the process just to have a guy for the draft workouts,” McDonough said, adding that it would, however, be ideal.
McDonough said he and the rest of the front office staff can help to conduct draft workouts if the head coach isn’t selected in the near future. In addition, some of the assistant coaching staff is still around despite the unclear status of interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. Most notably, assistant Ralph Sampson was present for the Suns’ draft lottery watching event on Tuesday (as an aside, the highlight of the event was Sampson turning up the volume on the highly-mounted flatscreens). Corey Gaines is also in U.S. Airways while running the Phoenix Mercury — though he’s probably a tad busy teaching first overall pick Brittney Griner.
PHOENIX — The most likely odds had Phoenix Suns choosing fifth in the 2013 NBA Draft — that was at 35 percent — and that’s where they fell on Tuesday in the draft lottery.
The Suns came into the day with an 11.9 percent shot of selecting first, a 12.6 percent shot of picking second and a 13.3 percent chance of being third, but the Washington Wizards made a leap up the draft board. With a 70.3 percent shot of selecting eighth, the Wizards jumped to the third slot. Cleveland, which came in with the third-best chances of winning the lottery won while the Orlando Magic came in second.
At fifth, the Suns will see the second-tier level of talent and miss out on Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter and Ben McLemore, who are three players expected to be atop most mock drafts. But the talent dropoff isn’t that big of a gap with only Noel a lock to be selected in the top-three. Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum and Shabazz Muhammad are all in the mix and could do some damage to increase their value with team workouts.
“I think there are more than five good players in this draft,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “I think the grouping is pretty close. One of the difficult things … is figuring who’s going to be at the five-slot. We’ll prepare for everybody.”
McDonough said the Suns will make a list of eight to 10 players to focus upon regarding their first pick. His draft philosophy is simple: take the best player.
“Ideally, you have a pretty complete player,” he said.
While the Suns are in the fifth slot, they do have enough picks piled up and assets to have a great deal of flexibility. A decipal of the always tinkering Danny Ainge, McDonough said he will explore all possibilities.
“It depends what the price is, what the teams up ahead of us want,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable in the fifth slot. It depends on what the teams ahead of us are going to do.”
Check back in a bit for a Valley of the Suns Google Hangout show. Here’s a look at the full order of picks.
Instead Marshall struggled, to the point journeyman Sebastian Telfair beat him out for the job. Outside shooting, it turned out, wasn’t the only item on Marshall’s “needs to improve” list. Energy and defense were there too.
Intent on letting Marshall develop all those qualities on the floor and not the bench, the Suns sent the North Carolina standout to the D-League.
Marshall wasn’t the only rookie to get such an assignment. Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones were others. That didn’t stem the disappointment, however, for UNC’s all-time best player in terms of assists-per-game average (9.8 apg). While his outside shooting stroke and athleticism were known question marks when the Suns acquired him, Marshall’s inability to provide an immediate impact followed that other mid-first round picks, such as Robin Lopez and Earl Clark.
In his nine-game stint in the D-League, Marshall confirmed the concerns about his game, shooting just 31.3 percent from the floor, including 22.2 percent from deep. Other than his predictably good passing numbers (7.6 apg), Marshall showed little, if any, tangible improvement.
His saving grace ended up being the awkward coaching regime shift from Alvin Gentry to Lindsey Hunter. The former Director of Player Development, Hunter was one of the few within the organization who had invested significantly into Marshall after his being drafted. This was reinforced shortly after Hunter’s hiring, when the Suns traded Telfair to Toronto for Hamed Haddadi and a draft pick.