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.
The second round is a crap shoot, and one of the better gambles out there is Latavious Williams.
Williams is only 21 years old after going straight to the D-League out of high school, becoming the first American high school drafted by the D-League in the process. He is an inexperienced and long 6-foot-8, 205 pounder, but he’s one of the few guys likely to be available late who has the potential to make it.
Sure, he’s incredibly raw and would need a few years to become a contributor, but what I like about him is he’s such an unknown. All we really know is that he’s skinny and a great athlete. Although he needs to develop his skills in nearly ever facet, he’s got the speed, athleticism, leaping ability and rebounding ability to one day be a quality hustle player off the bench.
When you’re talking about the 46th pick in the draft, you’re not going to hit a home run. Taking a chance on a guy like Williams who has the tools to develop into a productive role player is the way to go.
Not a huge sleeper in the sense that the Suns worked the former Stanford forward out this week, but a sleeper in the sense that Landry Fields isn’t showing up on many mock drafts. That doesn’t mean he isn’t on a number of team’s radar, but the most informed experts tend to get a pretty good sense of guys that are and aren’t getting picked.
While the expectation is that the Suns will draft for size with the possible departures of Amare Stoudemire, Channing Frye and Louis Amundson, Fields would be a solid future move. Jason Richardson could be gone after next year and Grant Hill isn’t getting any younger. Fields also brings a versatile style that would fit the Suns’ system well. He can switch to guard if needed and has respectable three-point shooting ability, and he also has size and can rebound (8.8 boards per game in his senior season). But most importantly, the guy can score. He averaged 22.0 points per game last year for the Cardinal, though college scoring doesn’t always translate in the pros.
Maybe the Suns do go for size and maybe they go after Fields as an undrafted free agent, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear David Stern call his name right after “the Phoenix Suns select.”
Drafting in the second round is all about selecting the best available player, and if the Suns can land Da’Sean Butler with the 46th pick there’s no question they’d be doing exactly that.
Butler was a sure-fire first round pick before he tore his ACL in the Final Four against Duke, and the senior small forward out of West Virginia is the definition of an injury sleeper.
He averaged at least double figures in each of his four seasons at West Virginia including eclipsing the 17-point mark his junior and senior seasons. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound swingman, doesn’t have very many holes in his game, as he’s a solid passer, penetrator, shooter and rebounder.
Butler isn’t the most dominant athlete, but he has good size for his position and thrives off his basketball IQ, toughness and will to win. He still needs to become a more well-rounded jump shooter, but Butler has all of the tools to develop into a mainstay as an NBA small forward.
It is alarming that he wasn’t able to participate in workouts and will probably miss summer league, but with the Suns’ medical staff and Phoenix’s already-potent roster, they can certainly afford to take a risk on Butler.