With the recent dismantling of the Phoenix Suns’ front office, there hasn’t been much time to focus on the draft, which is now less than 48 hours away. The Suns aren’t expected to add any cornerstones to the franchise with the 46th and 60th picks, but every year there is some talent that slips into the second round and Phoenix needs to be prepared to pounce.
The Suns could use some big bodies down low with the potential pending departures of free agents Amare Stoudemire, Channing Frye and Lou Amundson. They also are in need of a big and athletic swingman as Jason Richardson comes off the books after next season and Grant Hill’s career is winding down.
It is always a crapshoot who will be around late in the second round, and the Suns may very well sell off their picks like they’ve been notorious for in years past. But assuming they do keep their selections, here are a few names that could be some of the best available when the Suns are on the clock Wednesday night.
Junior PF — Derrick Caracter (UTEP)
2009-10 stats — 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 58.5 FG%, 67.2 FT%
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 7-foot wingspan, 280 pounds, 12.8% body fat, 30.5-inch vertical
Caracter has struggled with his weight and attitude at times, but his talent in the post is unquestioned. In fact, before he transferred from Louisville to UTEP, coach Rick Pitino called Caracter the best low-post player he’d ever coached, which says a lot from a coach with that much mileage.
But he was suspended for a total of 17 games in his two seasons at Louisville and was often criticized for his work ethic. He stayed out of trouble in his one season at UTEP, however, and showcased his tremendous low-post talent that was the talk of the nation before he even hit the high school ranks.
He is an absolute load in the paint and has terrific skills with his back to the basket. He doesn’t have much of a jump shot, which is a bit concerning in the Suns’ offense, but his low-post presence certainly makes up for it. Caracter has the skill-set to be an easy first-round pick, but his questionable attitude and work ethic has him projected as a late second-round selection.
Sophomore PF — Samardo Samuels (Louisville)
2009-10 stats — 15.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 52.4 FG%, 70.6 FT%
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 7-foot-4 wingspan, 260 pounds
Samuels is nothing flashy offensively, but he has the frame and strength to develop into a nice NBA big man. He is a bit undersized and one-dimensional, but he’s impressed in workouts and could be a great value pick at No. 46 for the Suns.
He isn’t that explosive of an athlete and lacks an outside shot, but he has a solid post game to go along with his ridiculous wingspan. He went into his freshman year at Louisville ranked ahead of guys like Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and DeMar DeRozan, so the talent is certainly there. It may have served him best to stay at Louisville for another year or two, but the potential is certainly there.
Senior SG — Jon Scheyer (Duke)
2009-10 stats — 18.2 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 39.9 FG%, 87.8 FT%
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 6-foot-3 inch vertical, 180 pounds, 5.4% body fat
The Suns can never use enough shooters, and Scheyer is the definition of exactly that. He dominated from downtown in his four years at Duke and there is no reason that shouldn’t continue in the league. He’s an extremely intelligent player and can play the point or shooting guard.
There is no way he will ever develop into a superstar due to his limited quickness, inability to create his own shot and lack of defense, but he has the shooting stroke and smarts to be a perfect NBA role player.
Senior SF — Da’Sean Butler (West Virginia)
2009-10 stats — 17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 41.4 FG%, 78.9 FT%
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 230 pounds
Butler would be a sure-fire first-round pick if it wasn’t for the torn ACL that he suffered in his left knee in the Final Four against Duke. He gave West Virginia four years of terrific basketball and has unquestioned NBA talent.
He is a great isolation player who can create his own shot and has a nice post-up game to go with it. He can really do it all on the court, but the question is: How will his knee be able to hold up? He hasn’t been able to participate in workouts but is expected to be ready by training camp. If he were to fall to the Suns late in the second round, they should seriously consider taking Butler regardless of the state of his knee. He’s worth the risk.
Senior PG/SG — Greivis Vasquez (Maryland)
2009-10 stats — 19.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 42.9 FG%, 85.7 FT%
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7 wingspan, 211 pounds, 8.6% body fat
Like many of the aforementioned prospects, Vasquez has the talent of a first-round guy. He can play point guard through small forward and has an extremely unique and versatile skill-set. He’s a terrific passer and play maker and would most likely thrive in an up-tempo system like the Suns’. He has range out to three-point land, plays extremely hard and has the mentality of a go-to-guy.
There are questions about his defense, toughness and shot selection, but Vasquez’s total package is extremely impressive, and he would be a steal for the Suns late in the second round.
List of players who worked out with the Suns
As the second-round is often a crap shoot, none of the aforementioned players actually worked out with the Suns. So here is the list of prospects who spent a few hours working out in Phoenix:
Guards: Nic Wise (Arizona), Reggie Delk (Louisville), Ryan Thompson (Rider), Mikhail Torrance (Alabama), Matt Janning (Northeastern), AJ Slaughter (Western Kentucky), Jeremy Wise (D-League)
Forwards: Deon Thompson (UNC), Latavious Williams (D-League), Anthony Mason Jr. (St. John’s), Tyren Johnson (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Centers: Hamady N’Diaye (Rutgers), Art Parakhouski (Radford), Jerome Jordan (Tulsa)