Tristan Thompson the big winner on John Hollinger's Draft Rater, Suns rumors flying as draft approaches

Although Tristan Thompson’s PAWS 40 numbers do not impress, John Hollinger’s Player Rater ranks him as perhaps the steal of the draft.

Hollinger slots Thompson third overall on his big board thanks to a 16.21 rating that bettered any other prospect in the class (Hollinger still has Irving and D-Will above him, though).

Hollinger notes that his system has not been perfect at selecting elite post players:

The Draft Rater has been really solid on perimeter players. On interior players, the results have been a bit more scattered. The problem has been “false positives.” It has picked out all the guys who could play; it has just picked out a lot of other guys a long with them.

By that Hollinger means Blake Griffin and Kevin Love ranked very highly, but so did Michael Sweetney, Curtis Borchardt and Greg Oden. An elite college wing must truly be a special player, but a big man can dominate in college without the kind of skill set it takes to develop into a great NBA post player.

Still, Thompson ranks as the ninth-best big man since 2002 by Hollinger’s formula and is a player Jared Dudley would like to see become his teammate as JMZ picked him in ESPN The Magazine’s players-only mock draft.

“Thompson is tough and athletic,” Dudley told The Mag. “I see him bringing energy, pick-and-rolling, dunking. He still has to develop an outside shot and work on his post moves, but a kid who can block shots and rebound you can’t keep on the bench.”

On the flip side, this system ranks the Morris twins as career backups, interesting because PAWS40 thought so highly of them.

Jordan Hamilton at No. 10 is also a riser in Hollinger’s rankings, as is Tyler Honeycutt all the way up at No. 13 thanks to a UCLA adjustment.

Finally, Jimmer Fredette projects as a “third guard or marginal starter” and thus is ranked No. 22 by Hollinger.

Suns-Golden State talking Lopez?

John Gambadoro scurried up a slew of commotion by tweeting that the Suns have discussed scenarios in which Robin Lopez would go to Golden State and 2010 No. 6 pick Ekpe Udoh and the Warriors’ No. 11 selection come to Phoenix.

Unless Steve Nash was the other consideration in this deal, Lon Babby would be embarrassed to even present such a lopsided trade.

Many on this site speculated Lopez would barely be worth a high second-rounder, so to get a recent No. 6 pick and a lottery selection for the underachieving center sounds like Babby’s fantasy.

Lopez’s former agent is part of the Golden State front office and he did play his college ball at nearby Stanford, so the Warriors’ interest certainly makes sense, especially as they attempt to become a more defensive-oriented team (but apparently not a more rebounding-oriented team if they want Robin). A change of scenery would also do Lopez well.

Perhaps the Warriors want out of this draft a la the Clippers and thus value Robin over their selection, but I could not imagine Golden State giving up on Udoh so soon as well.

The $18.3 million trade chip

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “the Suns have been willing to take back a so-so contract for Vince Carter, if it included a first-round pick in the 2012 draft,” citing league sources.

Since that hasn’t happened the team is expected to buy out Carter’s $18.3 million deal for $4 million by the end of the month.

Carter’s deal can provide immediate relief for a team looking to shed a big contract like the Suns did with Shaq two Junes ago. The 2012 draft is looking to be so strong that Babby would be very wise to leverage the ability to offer immediate cap relief for an extra selection.

A contract constituted like Carter’s can be immensely valuable to the right team, but apparently no team finds it valuable enough to part with a potentially attractive pick.

And 1

  • Ian Levy’s Draft Similarity Scores at Hickory-High are certainly interesting. Levy’s tool sees Tristan Thompson as a similar player to Josh Boone, Taj Gibson, Gani Lawal, Jason Maxiell and Derrick Favors. Jordan Hamilton is similar to Kareem Rush, Terrico White, Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Rush and Randy Foye. Jimmer Fredette, meanwhile, compares to J.J. Redick (shocking), Quincy Douby, Jerryd Bayless, Troy Bell, Toney Douglas and Stephen Curry. Check out Hickory-High for more comparisons.
  • Paul Coro squashing the ridiculous Gortat rumors: “They surely are not pushing to trade center Marcin Gortat to Minnesota, a rumor that got so out of hand that Gortat received a call to assure him it was not happening.”
  • Gambo tweeted that the Suns want a second first-rounder so they can add a power forward and a point guard, echoing what the Suns’ brass told Jimmer at his workout. The radio personality also said that Thompson will be the selection if he’s there and if not it will be Markieff Morris or Iman Shumpert.

Tags: Jordan Hamilton Robin Lopez Tristan Thompson Vince Carter

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