Suns draft day grades

Posted by on June 26th, 10:01 pm

The talk in Phoenix this week has revolved around the Shaq trade and all the questions about a possible Amar’e trade to Golden State that may or may not happen at this point, but remember or not there was something called the NBA Draft Thursday night on top of all the Amare and Shaq fun.

The Suns, of course, selected Louisville forward Earl Clark at No. 14 and Oklahoma forward Taylor Griffin at No. 48. Here’s our grades on the pick:

14th Pick Earl Clark

Grade: A

The Suns are in dire need of an athletic hybrid SF/PF, and Earl Clark fits that mold. He rebounds, defends, scores and handles; he is the complete package.  He does need some fine tuning in the shooting and strength categories, but that will come with time.

Steve Kerr said it himself, if Clark didn’t drop to the Suns, we would have seen yet another Suns traded draft pick.  So clearly, Clark was the man from day one.  Guys like Jrue Holiday, James Johnson and Austin Daye were still on the board, but luckily Kerr and company made the right choice.

Clark is the perfect addition to the Phoenix Suns, and fans hope that the team may have a Shawn Marion 2.0 with a mid-range game. Whether he is playing next to Robin Lopez, Tyson Chandler, Andris Biedrins, or even Amar’e Stoudemire, Earl Clark is going to have success.

As is evident from the pandemonium at US Airways Center, the Suns’ front office had an extremely busy day, but ultimately they walked away with their guy in Earl Clark.

48th Pick Taylor Griffin

Grade: D

This pick was extremely interesting to me.  Taylor Griffin may bring a lot of hustle and aggression, but the guy is not an NBA player.  He has an NBA body, but outside of that has almost zero skill-set. 

As I wrote last night, David Griffin and Steve Kerr really liked the former Sooners big man. They definitely saw something that other teams didn’t.  Even if the draft was three rounds this year I didn’t expect Griffin to be drafted. 

“I’m not sure what they want to do with me, Griffin told Tulsa World. “I’ll have a chance to show them what I can do on their summer league team. They’ve also talked about possibly sending me overseas. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

The main thing that bothers me is that guys like Jeff Adrien, Tyrese Rice, Robert Dozier, Patty Mills, A.J. Price, etc. were all on the board, but the Suns go with Griffin? It just doesn’t make much sense.  It’s not that I think those guys would come in and get tons of minutes, but at least they have some type of upside that would warrant a roster spot.

Also, with guys like Chase Budinger and DeJuan Blair falling to the second round, I am a little surprised/disappointed the Suns didn’t try to use their two second-rounders to move up. DeJuan Blair sure would have been a nice rebounding big to get on the cheap.

Another pick in the mix?

7th Pick Stephen Curry?

Grade: A+

If there is truth to the Suns-Warriors trade rumors, than it was the Suns who decided on Stephen Curry with the seventh pick.  Curry was an absolute steal at seven and could develop into one of the league’s best point guards very quickly, especially learning from Steve Nash. His basketball IQ, court vision, lights out shooting, and work ethic will make him an All-Star in the NBA for years to come.  

If indeed the Suns do acquire Curry, I would have to give this draft pick an A+.

Overall draft grade: B+

(Overall draft grade with Curry: A+)

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

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Tags: Alvin Gentry · Draft · Earl Clark · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Steve Kerr · Taylor Griffin

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brandon Haraway // Jun 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    F- on Curry. He will not be a good NBA player.

  • 2 xman // Jun 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    The truth is that Suns and Warriors have been talking about Amare for days leading up to draft. Many options were discussed, including the #7 pick which landed Curry. Warriors were shocked to have Curry fall to them and Nelson does not want to give him up. He would have given up the #7 pick because he thought no way he could get Curry.

  • 3 Michael // Jun 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I heard that the warriors are NOT willing to give up stephen curry in that deal. i hope the suns keep amar’e. no one plays pick n roll like him and nash

  • 4 N8lol // Jun 27, 2009 at 8:07 am

    These guys were talking about how Griffin is like Lou with his energy. I think, if this is true, then he could be great. The Suns have been in need for a long time of guys who are quality role players that will play hard despite their deficiencies. I dont think this is a bad pick at all. Especially not a D- pick. Sometimes you gotta take a chance on a guy like this.

  • 5 LArnold // Jun 27, 2009 at 8:28 am

    You are wrong about Taylor Griffin. He is a great basketball player. He understands the game and the role that OU asked him to play. Griffin's father, Tommy, coached Taylor and Blake and both are excellent young men with alot of talent. You will appreciate having Taylor on the Suns' team. He is a hard worker and an intelligent young money that will make the community glad his is part of this team!

  • 6 matt // Jun 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Griffin is garbage. He averaged under ten points a game in college with only five rebounds, thats with his brother dominating the post. Lou is way more athletic and skilled. The suns have been making some poor choices the last several years. If Taylor had a different last name he would be trying out in Turkey right now.
    We need a backup point guard bad. Nash is eventually gonna slow down with all the wear and tear. Will Bynum would be perfect for the system and eventually as a replacement. We did get bigger and more athletic which could help on the defensive end, where the most improvement is needed.

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