Phoenix Suns select Tristan Thompson in TrueHoop Network mock draft

Tristan Thompson was the Suns' pick in the TrueHoop Network mock draft.

Tristan Thompson was the Suns' pick in the TrueHoop Network mock draft.

With the 13th overall pick in the 2011 TrueHoop Network mock draft, the Phoenix Suns select ……..

Tristan Thompson, forward out of the University of Texas.

The Suns could go a number of ways in this draft, be it a point guard of the future, high-scoring wing or quality big man, but if they had their druthers they certainly seem to prefer the post guy.

Thompson is the best of the bunch that may be available in this range, and KTAR’s John Gambadoro has tweeted that Thompson is likely a Sun if he falls to No. 13.

Tristan would aid the Suns’ critical offseason goal of improving defensively, and as Lance Blanks said a couple weeks ago the Suns need to get better upfront, a priority that seems to dwarf all others on the Suns’ draft need list.

For those who worship at the temple of advanced stats, John Hollinger’s Player Rater blesses this selection, with Thompson rating higher than any other prospect this season and ninth of all big men since 2002.

For those who prefer the eye test he’s a physical, athletic forward who could combine with Marcin Gortat in a superb defensive front court.

One of my bigger questions with Thompson is whether he will develop into the kind of rebounder on the defensive glass that he was on the offensive glass at Texas. Thompson was an elite offensive rebounder but his defensive rebound rate was merely average, and his post game and free-throw shooting could use some work as well.

Still, Thompson oozes with talent and brings enough to the table that Phoenix lacks to warrant this pick.

While I would also be pleased by selections of Jordan Hamilton or Bismack Biyombo, Thompson’s combination of upside, athleticism, defense, energy and offensive rebounding make him the best choice for the Suns’ lottery selection.

I also got to play GM in Slam Dunk Central’s mock draft. Guess who fell to me at No. 13…..

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