Build it Up!
Every day, this draft gets a little weaker. A few weeks back, I was touting this draft as being better than advertised. I did not see a lot of stars necessarily but saw a lot of really solid NBA level talent. With people like Jones, Henson, Sullinger and possibly Barnes pulling out, you may be forced to really push upwards in the draft in order to find the few big time talents. There have been rumors about the Suns potentially blowing it up and if they were to move Nash or Robin Lopez along with their pick, they may be able to move into the early first round. It is not the strongest year to do this but we may be forced to play our hand considering we do not look to be going anywhere any time soon as is. Here are a few players I would love to see the Suns target if they happen to move further up in the lottery. I would list point guards to replace Nash but beyond Irving, I’m not all that impressed with this draft class at that position.
Bismack Biyombo PF Fuenlabrada
Just a few days ago I was writing about Bismack and had him being a sleeper for the Suns to take if they were to stay put. After his Hoop Summit performance, this seems improbable now. I was very intrigued by what I was hearing even prior to this though. I know this sounds like one of those scenarios where somebody discovers a great band before they sign the big record deal but this is absolutely true. He started getting recognition in the ACB league when he started putting up strong shot-blocking and rebounding totals in limited time playing for Fuenlabrada. When the initial buzz started, I couldn’t help but take a peek. I voraciously started scouring the web for any footage I could find. Two things about Bismack jumped out at me immediately: he is a big kid and looks chiseled for being only 18 and he has one of the largest wingspans I’ve ever seen. He puts both to good use planting himself in the paint and finishing strongly at the rim while sending everything else back that comes at him while playing defense. You can see fluidity to him and the beginning of what could be a more robust offensive game. With his coming out party already behind us, it seems that Biyombo will go anywhere from 5-10 now, especially with other big names dropping like flies. He may need time to grow offensively, which makes sense considering his newness to the game, but his shot blocking and rebounding could help a Suns team that is starving on the interior.
Derrick Williams PF University of Arizona
Derrick Williams finished third in college basketball in PER with a ridiculous total of 32.69. Kenneth Faried finished first in PER but Williams has far more potential as a pro. Williams may be a bit undersized but he would provide the Suns with the best offensive power forward they have seen since Amare left for the bright lights of the city. He has range well out to the three point line and I’ve been very impressed with how he attacks the rim off the dribble too. He may not be extremely tall but looks to have a good wing span, is a great leaper and is very fluid in the open court. I like how he competes on defense too and his game saving blocks were just as impressive as his highlight reel throw downs. I could see him potentially struggling with the length of NBA front lines but his overall versatility and basketball IQ will help him overcome this. I don’t know if he will be a super star necessarily but I could see him being a perennial All Star for sure. Mind you, I say this as an Arizona State alum. The kid has to be doing something good for all of this praise.
Jonas Valanciunas PF Lietuvos Rytas
I have been following Jonas for a few years now. I remember watching and reading about him dominating the U 18 tournament for Lithuania in 2010. He ended up finishing that tournament averaging 19.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. He is a tall and long kid and I would not be shocked if his wingspan was not that far off of Biyombo’s. Jonas predominantly lives in the paint and pick and roll situations. He has tremendous touch and finishes with both hands quite well or with an emphatic dunk. Valanciunas is not a freak athlete by any means but his fluidity and overall bounce do remind me of Pau Gasol. He fights and uses his length to rebound extremely well and block shots. Even being so young, he still leads the Euroleague in per-minute rebounding rate, which is astonishing. Being 18, the biggest things that Jonas needs to work on is his weight and face-up game. His touch is amazing from the line when you consider his size and I would not be shocked to see him become a knock down 15-foot jump shooter. As you can tell, I am high on Jonas and I hope that teams fear his buyout so the Suns get a shot at him if they happen to decide to blow it up.