Analyzing the lottery picks in the NCAA Tournament

Posted by on March 25th, 12:30 pm

March Madness is in full effect, and the Phoenix Suns have lost seven of their last eight games. It’s officially time to start looking toward the NBA draft.

As of today, the Suns own the fourth worst record in the NBA. With 11 games left, they could realistically end up with anywhere from the third to the 10th pick. No matter how the Suns finish, it will be the highest Phoenix has selected since before Steve Nash came to the desert. Though this has been a lost season, there is potentially a pot of gold at the end of this dreary rainbow, depending on who the Suns select in June.

To kick off the draft conversation, we watched eight of the projected Top 10 picks (according to Chad Ford’s Top 100) and analyzed their performances in the second and third round of the NCAA tournament. Each of the players we’ve broken down is listed below along with his season averages and individual game lines.

Now, obviously it is quite subjective to judge a player based on his performance in one or two games. But Tournament games, with their heightened competition, coverage and stakes, aren’t normal contests. They are far and away the closest thing to an NBA game that any of these young men have played in up to this point in their career. Thus, their performances in these big games carry more than the usual weight. How they play in the pressure environment that is the Big Dance says a lot about how they will play in the NBA and how much they will or will not be able to contribute as rookies. ESPN’s Peter Keating wrote about this subject in the most recent issue of ESPN the Magazine (Insider Only.) Here’s how these eight sure-fire lottery picks performed on the big stage.

Ben McLemore

Freshman – SG – Kansas

Season Averages: 15.8 pts, 49% FG, 41% 3PT, 87% FT, 5.3 reb, 1.0 stl, PER 24.24

Game 1 vs. Western Kentucky: 32 min, 11 points, 2-5 FG, 7-8 FT, 6 reb, 4 TO

Game 2 vs. North Carolina: 24 min, 2 pts, 0-9 FG, 0-6 3PT, 5 reb, 2 TO

The dead guy in Weekend at Bernie’s had a better weekend than Ben McLemore. The Jayhawks’ freshman phenom was a no-show in both of Kansas’ wins over the weekend. Right now he’s projected as the No. 2 pick behind the injured Nerlens Noel, but he’ll have to redeem himself in a huge way during the upcoming rounds if he hopes to maintain that projection. In both matchups, McLemore was tight and tentative. His jumper was a mess, and he missed several easy layups. He did put his tremendous leaping ability on display a few times, but otherwise there was nothing spectacular about his performance. Defensively, he turned his back on his man and left the job of defending the opponent’s best perimeter player to his teammates. He is incredibly quick which allows him to recover when he makes a mistake, but that speed won’t help him in the NBA when everyone he guards is just as quick. It was disappointing to see him fail to contribute in other areas when it became clear his shot wasn’t falling. McLemore has talent – just look at his season averages – but as a freshman about to enter the NBA draft (albeit a 20-year-old freshman) he may not have the requisite maturity to put that talent to use.

Marcus Smart

Freshman – PG – Oklahoma State

Season Averages: 15.4 pts, 40% FG, 29% 3PT, 78% FT, 5.8 reb, 4.2 ast, 3.0 stl, 3.4 TO, PER 24.23

Game 1 vs. Oregon: 37 min, 14 pts, 5-13 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-8 FT, 9 reb, 4 ast, 5 stl, 5 TO

Analysis (by Dave Dulberg):

In spite of Oklahoma State’s 13-point loss to Oregon in the second round of the NCAA tournament, freshman Marcus Smart proved that he’s one of the more intriguing lottery candidates in June’s draft. Smart filled up the stat sheet against the Ducks, showed off his impressive lateral quickness on the defensive end, and did a decent job of containing Oregon’s speedy guards on the perimeter.

The concern is what position does the six-foot-four Smart play? Coach Travis Ford had Smart off the ball for most of the first half until the Cowboys fell behind by double digits. Ironically, it felt like Smart was less of a playmaker with the ball in his hands in the second half, and often forced shots that weren’t there. Rarely do you see a point guard excel off the ball, but Smart certainly fits in that category.

Otto Porter

Sophmore – SF – Georgetown

Season Averages: 16.2 pts, 48% FG, 42% 3PT, 77% FT, 7.5 reb, 1.8 stl, PER 27.88

Game 1 vs. Florida Gulf Coast: 38 min, 13 pts, 5-17 FG, 2-6 3PT, 11 reb, 3 ast

Georgetown’s loss was the Cinderella story of the second round, and much of the responsibility for it should fall on Otto Porter’s shoulders. Despite posting a double-double, the Big East Player of the Year was invisible for much of this game and never really found his shot. Porter went scoreless for a 25 minute stretch. It wasn’t just that his shots weren’t falling, it’s that by the end, he wasn’t even squaring up. Every time he caught the ball, he looked to pass immediately. The only reason Georgetown was in this game was because Porter’s teammate Markel Starks was incredible.

Porter reminds me a lot of Rudy Gay. He’s got great size and a good looking jump shot. He’s still very skinny and gets pushed around down low, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from getting boards. Defensively, he was the Hoyas’ floor general, calling out assignments and helping. He found ways to contribute even though his shot wasn’t falling. That said, him winning POY in the Big East is more an indictment of the Big East than an endorsement of Porter. I’m not sure he’s ready to be as substantial a contributor as his draft projection might suggest. He could be Jeremy Lamb 2.0.

Anthony Bennett

Freshman – PF – UNLV

Season Averages: 16.1 pts, 53%, 37% 3PT, 70% FT, 8.0 ast, 1.2 blk, PER 28.24

Game 1 vs. California: 37 min, 15 pts, 4-11 FG, 7-10 FT, 11 reb, 2 blk

Analysis (by Dave Dulberg):

Anthony Bennett is a physical specimen. That much was known even before the Running Rebels entered the NCAA tournament. In UNLV’s 64-61 loss to California in the second round, Bennett was not at his best, yet still managed to put up a double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds). He reminds me a lot of Derrick Favors when he came out of Georgia Tech after one year.

Bennett commands a double team in the post, has decent foot work in the paint and a nice touch around the rim. The problem for the 20-year-old, is that he also has an affinity for the 15-foot jump shot. Against the Golden Bears, Bennett seemed rather content firing up jumper after jumper.  While his shot is above average for a player of his size, it felt like he began every possession either facing up or catching passes well outside the lane.  At 240 pounds, I’m not sure Bennett fully recognizes yet how to best utilize his body.

Victor Oladipo

Junior – SG – Indiana

Season Averages: 13.6 pts, 59% FG, 43% 3PT, 75% FT, 6.4 reb, 2.1 stl, PER 29.09

Game 1 vs. James Madison: 26 min, 11 points, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-4 FT, 6 reb, 3 ast

Game 2 vs. Temple: 32 min, 16 points, 7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 8 reb

Oladipo played the best of any player on this list, and it wasn’t really that close. The junior shooting guard has been rising up the draft board all season, and recently surpassed his own teammate Cody Zeller as a possible Top 5 pick. Oladipo flies under the radar a bit because he doesn’t score over 15 points a game, but his scoring is just one of the many ways he can contribute.

Oladipo looks and plays like a shorter Luol Deng. He’s a tenacious defender with an incredibly high motor. He’s a highly efficient shooter and can get to the basket and finish against almost anyone. His first step is very quick and his lengthy stride allows him to get to the hoop with just one dribble. He rebounds as well as any guard in the draft and is incredibly fast in the open court. Down the stretch against Temple, he guarded the Owls’ best player (Khalif Wyatt went off for 31 points but many of those points came with Oladipo guarding other players) and nailed the dagger three to put the game out of reach. He can handle the ball like a point guard, but he’s much better off the ball. The only knock on his game I can see is that he may not have much of a left hand. After the first weekend of Tourney, he looks like the most NBA ready player in the draft.

Shabazz Muhammad

Freshman – SF – UCLA

Season Averages: 17.9 ppg, 44% FG, 38% 3PT, 71% FT, 5.2 reb, PER 21.99

Game 1 vs. Minnesota: 39 min, 20 pts, 6-18 FG, 0-6 3PT, 8-10 FT, 4 reb

Don’t let his line fool you, Muhammad could not hit the broad side of a barn in this game. UCLA got blown out by the Gophers and Muhammad’s struggles were a big reason why. The 2nd leading freshmen scorer in the country eventually got his twenty points, but they came on free throws and transition layups. In the halfcourt, he was totally ineffective.

Muhammad is incredibly strong for his size. He is not afraid to initiate contact and does a great job of getting to the free throw line. Offensively, he can get a bit lost on the weakside and can go long stretches of possession without touching the ball. Defensively, he might as well be a ghost. In an incredibly physical game in which the Bruins played only seven guys and were whistled for 19 fouls, zero of them were charged to Muhammad. He consistently guarded Minnesota’s weakest perimeter player and had no impact whatsoever defensively. Someone projected as highly as Muhammad should be able to contribute in ways other than scoring.

How he plays in the NBA will depend on what sort of situation he lands in. If the he lands with a team that is counting on him to contribute right away, he could be a big disappointment. After Jordan Adams went out with injury, UCLA had to rely on Muhammad even more than before. He was not up to the challenge. However, if he lands with a team that just needs him to run the floor and be athletic, then he has a chance to grow and become a very good player.

Muhammad’s birth date came under scrutiny in the last week (he’s 20, not 19) and he’s closer in age to Victor Oladipo than he is to Marcus Smart. While that hurts his stock and the thought of his upside, it does make it more likely that he will drop to Phoenix’s pick.

Cody Zeller

Sophmore – C – Indiana

Season Averages: 16.7 pts, 57% FG, 76% FT, 8 reb, 1.3 blk, PER 30.93

Game 1 vs. James Madison: 27 min, 11 pts, 4-5 FG, 3-4 FT, 4 reb, 4 TO

Game 2 vs. Temple: 29 min, 15 points, 4-10 FG, 7-8 FT, 6 reb, 6 TO

Cody Zeller is a good college basketball player. He has a high basketball IQ. He runs the floor. He gets great post position and can finish inside. He can even throw down a pretty thunderous dunk if given the opportunity. All that said, I don’t know if any of his skills are going to translate effectively to the NBA.

Averaging 8 rebounds per game in college is admirable, but Zeller has one of the lowest rebounding rates I’ve ever seen for a high profile big man. Indiana often plays four perimeter players around Zeller, giving him ample opportunities to grab boards, but in these two games, he grabbed maybe 10 percent of the rebounds available to him. His 6’5 teammate, Oladipo, outrebounded him in both games. Players very seldom improve as a rebounders after they get to the NBA.

Zeller also has below-average hands. Most of his 10 turnovers were plays where he lost the handle or had the ball stripped from him in the paint.  Defensively, he’s not a shot blocker, and he’s not very fast laterally. At seven feet and 240 pounds, Zeller isn’t bulky enough to defend NBA big men in the post, but he’s also doesn’t appear to be quick enough to defend on the perimeter. As I said before, he’s a great college player, but I don’t see any way that a team taking him in the Top 10 isn’t disappointed.

Gary Harris

Freshman – SG – Michigan State

Season Averages: 13.1 pts, 46% FG, 42% 3PT, 77% FT, 1.3 stl, PER 19.08

Game 1 vs. Valparaiso: 32 min, 10 points, 4-11 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl

Game 2 vs. Memphis: 25 min, 23 pts, 6-9 FG, 4-7 3PT, 7-8 FT, 3 reb, 4 pf

This weekend was really a tale of two games for Harris. In the Spartans’ first game against Valpo, Harris faded into the background on offense. His teammate, Keith Appling, had a big game, and Harris seemed content to sit on the weak side and be passive. When he did get the ball, Harris didn’t shy away from shooting, but his shot wasn’t quite clicking. In the second game against Josh Pastner’s Memphis Tigers, Harris caught fire and sparked Michigan State to big runs in both halves that determined the outcome of the game. Harris would have had 30 points against the Tigers if not for some foul trouble.

Harris’ jump shot is a thing of beauty, especially when he’s shooting from beyond the arc. He’s equally comfortable as a spot up shooter or coming off screens. He attacks the hoop willingly and has some serious hops. He is a bit undersized for an NBA shooting guard however, and he may not finish at the rim in the pros. Defensively, he’s the most active defender on this list other than Oladipo. He was engaged on each and every position. If he made a mistake, he had the speed to recover. Whether or not he’ll be this tenacious of a defender when Tom Izzo isn’t yelling at him remains to be seen, but at least he’s got the ability. Harris is very young and still has a lot of growing and maturing to do, but he seems like he has the foundation to be a very solid player.

Please let us know in the comments what you thought of these performances and which player you think the Suns should pick in June.

Ryan Weisert

Ryan Weisert is a staff writer for ValleyoftheSuns. You can also find him at his sports and pop culture blog

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Tags: Draft · Phoenix Suns

71 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Mar 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm


    So, since what, December? I’ve had the #OLADIPO2013 campaign up and running. You guys are welcome to join at any time.

    He is the most devastating player in this draft after Noel and exactly what the Suns need moving into a new era. a true two-way guard who can lock down a player. He would look so good paired with Dragon.

    Also, if PHX takes him, he will have every opportunity to quickly improve as he will have lots of game time to grow with unlike most of the Suns’ rookies over the last 10 years.

    He is, and has been the obvious choice for PHX for months. If he isn’t on the board, and Noel isn’t available for a warlock-overseen rehab investment, then you have to shift gears and draft BPA in order of what we don’t have. (Quality bigs / pure shooters / athletes)

  • 2 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    As I’ve said before, I’m not all that impressed with the level of talent at the top of this draft, and I’d be inclined to trade down in order to get more picks of what I – at this early point in scouting – see to be a similar level of talent.

    I would also consider trading a top pick for players and other picks. Like the Suns #3 and #30 picks to OKC for Jeremy Lamb and OKC’s #11 and #28.

    The players I like most right now are in the 14-27 range on Draft Express. I’m looking at players who appear to have the basics (motor, length, athleticism, IQ, defensive ability, offensive promise, and good character). Since the Suns don’t need someone who can immediately perform – they need to hit the lottery again next year – I’m fine with picking players who are more of a project, due to youth or inexperience.

    I like Isaiah Austin, Archie Goodwin, Gorgui Dieng, and Giannis Adetokunbo. The first two suffer mainly from being young (19 and 18, respectively), while the latter two are hampered mainly by late development, leaving Africa not long ago. (Adetokunbo is also just 18.)

    Looking at the Suns’ current roster, I assume that Brown, O’Neal, and Garrett will be leaving. So there would be 3 open roster spots, and the Suns are looking at having 4 picks.

    If the Suns do trade for more first round picks, any retained 2nd round picks could be used to take foreign players who could be left overseas. My list of foreigners to stash includes Giannis Adetokunbo (who may not go in the late first), Dario Saric (why do scouts have him in the first round at all?), Lucas Nogueira, Nemanja Nedovic, Leo Westermann, and Bojan Dubljevic.

    Looking at this draft, I think Blanks is probably most inclined to go with Oladipo because of his motor, defense, and length, and if the Suns get the Heat’s #30 pick instead of a Lakers lottery pick, I think the Suns will try to package it in a trade.

  • 3 Ty-Sun // Mar 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I’m sold on Oladipo. Noel would also be a great pick but his greatest benefit would be defensive initially. Maybe he could eventually turn into an offensive force but maybe not. I was a big fan of McLemore until he basically disappeared in the first two games of the NCAAs. I agree with everything Ryan said about Porter, Zeller and Muhammad. I wouldn’t risk a top 5 pick on any of them. A top 6-10 pick, yeah.

    Anthony Bennett could be a good pick but probably not for the Suns. He’s a little small for a PF and I’m not sure if his skills would translate into an NBA SF.

    Smart might be a good pick to play along with Dragic but it would be a bit of a gamble to hope that the two could play well together. And Smart didn’t play well in OSU’s early exit from the NCAA tournament.

    But the draft is a gamble this year. Even if the Suns win the lottery and get the #1 pick, there is no player that is a sure thing to become an NBA star.

  • 4 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Since Oladipo is probably the Suns’ target – and the target of Suns fans – I thought I’d re-post my condensed scouting report on him from March 19.

    One scout compared him to Tony Allen, a player currently with the Grizzlies, who was drafted #25 in 2004.

    What boxes does Oladipo check off as a draft prospect?

    X Relentless motor
    X Elite athlete
    X Intense defender; perimeter, on-ball and off
    X Averaging 2 steals a game
    X Only shooting 2 3s a game, but shooting them at 44%
    X Rebounds well for position (6 rpg)
    X Efficient scorer
    X Can catch and shoot and shoot off the dribble
    X Good work ethic

    Dings …

    - Poor creativity for himself and others
    - Poor ball-handling, almost always drives right
    - Scoring relies on athleticism and open straight paths
    - Turns the ball over, typically when creating for himself (28% of his isolation plays result in a TO)
    - His high percentage on shooting from 3, but low volume, is reminiscent of Markieff Morris’s college shooting; i.e., the temptation is to assume he’d still be accurate when taking more shots, but that may be misleading

    In general, he’s similar to Wes Johnson, but he’s 2 inches shorter (6? 5?). His wingspan is normally described as huge, but measurements are rarely given, and vary from 6′ 7″ – 6′ 9″. By comparison, Wes Johnson’s wingspan is 7′ 1″.

    Like Johnson, when Oladipo transitions to the NBA he’ll have to learn to create his own shot, dribble-drive to the basket, avoid turnovers, and shoot 3s in volume. He does not come with those abilities already developed. His height would project him to play at SG, where these shortcomings would be magnified.

    Former VotS staffer Mike Schmitz has a draft video out on him:

  • 5 scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I like Smart, Porter, Oladipo, Burke and Bennett in this draft the most. I think Oladipo isn’t the sexy pick because of what you said he’s not scoring 15+ per game, but if you look at his pecentages and his efficientcy you know he could be scoring 20+ per game if he wanted to.

    Smart is as athletic as they get, he’s explosively quick and can sometimes do whatever he wants whenever he wants. He reminds me a lot of Derrick Rose at Memphis except a little more inconsistent, but with his Defense he’s a starter in the league right now.

    Bennett reminds me of a more athletic less consistent Kevin Love at UCLA an undersized PF who can dominate the boards and score down low, but also has range out to the 3 point line. He seems to want to prove he’s an outside threat and sometimes (mostly the 2nd half of the year) forces up too many 15-23 foot shots. Like Love if he can learn to master the inside part of his game he’ll flourish and then can work on becoming that ouside threat.

    I think Porter has 1 of the highest upsides in the draft. At times this kid absolutely dominates and seems destined for greatness but other times he looks absolutely lost out there, he’ll go for 35 one night and 4 the next. The thing I like about Porter is he’s also a really good rebounder and defender also which should have him starting in the league soon, if he can harness all his potential he could be a Rudy Gay Melo mix.

    Burke is an intriguing prospect, he’s playing the best and most consistent of any of the names I mentioned, is only behind Michael Carter-Williams as a passer and has the best shot of all the PGs in the draft. His mix of scoring and passing ability is unmatched in this draft but he’s not very athletic and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to guard guys like Rose, Westbrook, Wall or Lillard. I’m also not sure how much upside he has left, right now he’s the best all around PG but if Smart learns how to be a better passer and can develop a consistent jump shot or Michael Carter-Williams learns how to shoot and play better D I think they’ll become better players than Burke. Also Kendall Marshall has shown enough improvement to warrent him the off-season to work on his game and next year to prove he belongs.

    Truthfully it’s a hard choice but I’d go with Oladipo with their first pick. He’s the closest to a sure thing in the draft and the Suns need to bring in somebody who can start and show the kind of effort he’ll show. He doesn’t have the Upside of Porter, Smart or Bennett but his floor is far better and would make him a starter on the Suns right now.

  • 6 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    @scott -

    Some players are just efficient scorers … and they will never be volume scorers. Like Josh Childress, who was recently with the Suns. He was athletic, defensive minded, and had a fairly good IQ, but he could rarely get himself in the mood to score.

    Boris Diaw is another guy we know who scores efficiently, but can’t be made into a volume scorer.

  • 7 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    BTW, looking at Oladipo … is he basically a high draft pick version of Tucker?

    Both are energetic, athletic, good defenders of similar size who can do some shooting, but mostly score around the hoop.

    Keep in mind that Oladipo may find it harder to get to the rim against bigger, faster NBA defenses. If that’s the case, doesn’t he begin to look exactly like Tucker …?

  • 8 foreveris2long // Mar 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Look I like Noel and Oladipo as they improve the Suns athleticism immediately, are good defenders and play intelligent basketball. However there is this kid at San Diego State named Jamal franklin who someone on this board recently brought to my attention who can flat out ball. He is a shooting guard who can defend, rebound and score. he has a 40 ” vertical. Over the weekend he scored I think 21 on Friday with 8 boards and 2 steals. Yesterday against Florida Coast he had 20 pts, 11 boards and 4 steals in a loss. SUNS DO NOT SUMMARILY DISMISS THIS GUY AS A POSSIBLE LOTTERY PICK. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and appears to be better offensively than Oladipo. pay close attention to this guy in pre-draft camps. You could trade down and still get him at 10 or 11 and he could be a solid rookie of the year candidate.

  • 9 Rich Anthony // Mar 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I would not compare OLADIPO to PJ Tucker, though I do feel like they compliment on another well. Victor plays on a team where he doesn’t really have to blast off for 26 PPG. They have other good options on that team. Also, the level of opponents day in / day out lends to his two-way insanity in terms of validated hype. He’s really good.

    Can’t compare him to Diaw or JChill either. Victor will go to the hole and can attack it. He can shoot it well enough to be given that respect unlike Childress. He’s a perfect fit beside Dragon.

    @Scott – quite simply, the FO CANNOT draft “tools” or “projects” this year. They have to draft what they believe is the next super stud with every first round pick they end up with this year. They can’t go looking for building blocks this year unless Noel falls because of that knee. They won’t survive another season of employment if they go that route.

    If nothing else, they MUST land a player who can play with Dragic effortlessly. If OLADIPO isn’t there, you must find a freak athlete who is Dragon compatible.

    If they feel like those 2 things can’t be done, they’re probably going to be fired. If not, I’d switch gears and draft for the bench mob and Marshall. You could trade down at this point, but I wouldn’t go that route.

  • 10 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    @Rich -

    Well, I think Blanks would pick Oladipo. Picking project players (players lower in the draft) is something I would approve of, personally, as I think the Suns have become so depleted in talent by bad GMing that they need another deep dip in the lottery next year to start to find their way out. But yes, Blanks just has one more year on his contract, so he’ll try to land a franchise player right away.

    Where that pick could go wrong – that is, not give you all that you’d expect from a top four draft pick – is if Oladipo has low or average IQ and/or low scoring drive. A lot of players are one-sided, as you know; they are mentally keyed to play intense offense or intense defense. Clearly Oladipo has a good defensive motor and he dunks with authority, but if defenses clog up the middle and get back in transition, is he going to have anything to contribute on offense?

    Basically, I don’t know if Oladipo has the IQ to fix the holes in his game and/or the hunger to take on the scoring load. Hopefully we’ll find out more about him in interviews and so on.

    As he is now, Oladipo would play well alongside Dragic, pretty much as Tucker does, scoring at the hoop in transition. If he could shoot the 3 in volume, he’d be more like Wes Johnson.

    Now, just to throw a wrench into this … if it becomes clear none of the projected top draft picks are going to hit a home run for Blanks, I suppose he’d try to trade for an existing NBA player …?

  • 11 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    As for Jamaal Franklin … I’m waiting for updated scouting reports on him. Schmitz hasn’t done the video yet, and the last report on Draft Express is from 2012.

    Franklin is 6′ 5″ with a wingspan described only as “long.” He’s got good athletic ability: a good first step, and good leaping, in particular. However, he may have lateral quickness issues in that he’s said to have difficulty staying in front of players on the perimeter.

    He’s a hungry scorer who is constantly in attack mode. He finishes well through contact and gets to the free throw line a lot. However, his decision making is not the best. He can shoot from tough angles, shoot contested 3s early in the clock, turn the ball over, and rack up charging fouls. Right hand dominant, he avoids using his left.

    Franklin spends most of his energy creating for himself, and doesn’t create for his teammates. In fact, he was rated as the 3rd worst in this category, among SGs.

    Franklin has inconsistent shooting mechanics, in addition to his bad decision making. He needs to improve his ability to catch and shoot. He’s a better shooter (more consistent with mechanics) off the dribble.

    Keep in mind, those characteristics described Franklin in the 2011-2012 season, and things may have changed for him in this last year.

    So the preliminary take … looking for motor, athleticism, length, IQ, offense, defense, and character …

    X Good motor on offense
    X Athletic
    X Attacks the hoop and goes to the line
    X Can create his own shot

    And the dings …

    - Weak motor on defense, esp. perimeter
    - May lack sufficient lateral quickness
    - Poor decision making; shoots from tough angles, shoots contested 3s or long 2s early in the clock, turns the ball over (3.4 TO per game), gets charging fouls
    - Only uses right hand, can’t use left
    - Can’t create for others
    - Needs to improve catch and shoot ability

  • 12 bill.thomas // Mar 25, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    So we finally get a pick in the top 7, and we’re going to pick TONY ALLEN !!! Great !!!!

  • 13 Scott // Mar 25, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Here’s the rundown on Giannis Adetokunbo. He’s the only one of the players I’ve mentioned who has recent scouting available on Draft Express.

    This is what he brings to the table …

    X Good size for SF: 6′ 9″ and 196 lbs
    X Long: 7′ 3″ wingspan
    X Big hands: 10″ long x 10″ wide
    X Athletic
    X Excellent handling, passing, finishing
    X Good anticipation for rebounds and shot blocks
    X Point forward material; great vision and playmaking ability
    X Drives left and right
    X Can shoot 3s

    And the dings …

    - He’s young, just 18, so he’s still learning and is still growing
    - He’s only played against very poor competition
    - Needs work on all phases of defense, such as pushing through screens
    - Needs work on shooting and scoring against higher level opposition; probably needs to change his release point
    - Scores, but tendency to defer shows he may lack killer instinct
    - Needs to grow stronger in the lower body and more explosive
    - Has difficulty finishing through contact
    - Lacks a midrange game
    - Struggles with physicality

    IMO, no team should take him in the first round as he’s too raw and immature, but he’s currently pegged by Draft Express to go at #27. I think both he and Dario Saric should go in the 2nd round, if all GMs had proper sense (they do not).

    Giannis Adetokunbo is not only on my projects list, he’s on my “take with a 2nd round pick and stash overseas” list. Get him in with a proper European team and check back in on him when he’s 21.

  • 14 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 12:58 am

    We really need to draft Tony Allen 2.0 with our 1-7 pick. Nice going, guys. Most of you need a testosterone supplement.

  • 15 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Let’s just trade our top draft pick for Tony Allen. A typical Suns move. And it would have the added advantage of having the Grizzlies FO look like geniuses.

    I mean, what do we exist for???

    Bring on another pastrami and rye, please

  • 16 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Free Dragic !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 17 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Let’s get Tony Allen 2.0. that’s what we deserve, as we lowball ourselves time and again.

    And after that, Free Dragic!!!!!!!!!!

  • 18 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:12 am

    The only way to turn this thing around is to put a hungry Marshall on the floor holding a gigantic pastrami and rye sandwich.

    That would bring the house down, and would also provide a chance for the visiting Bobcats to look good !!!!!!!!!!!

  • 19 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:17 am

    @Scott: So let me get this straight, Aketokunbo is Teletovic 2.0, right !!!!

  • 20 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Give Blanks a pastrami and rye sandwich and $200 walking around money and get him the hell outta here !!!!!!

  • 21 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Kendall Marshall could make more in chain-gang movies than he should in the NBA.

  • 22 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Thank God Blanks/Babby are in charge of this shipwreck as opposed to Lowball Scott.

  • 23 John // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Giannis Adetokoubo didn’t leave Africa recently as someone said. He’s lived his whole life in Greece.

  • 24 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Scott@Scott: Still trying to figure that one out. I think he’s trying to tell us he’s talking to himself.

  • 25 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:50 am

    @John: Well, he better get used to pastrami and rye if he wants to play here. 20% of each Sarver check is provided in the form of vouchers for those sandwiches.

  • 26 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Kerry would have won that election if he’d just eaten enough pastrami and rye witches on the trail !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 27 bill.thomas // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Kerry was short pastrami and rye, and that was his fatal shortcoming. Who knew ????

  • 28 Azbballfan // Mar 26, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Yeah i have been singing Franklins praises recently

    Amyone thats 6 foot 5 and 215 pounds and gives you 20 points 9 boards and 3 assists and some steals in big games for his team is someone i like

    he rebounds so well, not just for his size

    having a 2 or 3 man that can get you boards in the NBA is a big asset and the Suns have been a terrible rebounding team for awhile now

    plus he has excellent athleticism

    I dont know about his defense, but he sure looked better than Muhammad did in his one game in the tourney.

    The Suns had a chance back in 2011 to take Iman Shumprt and based their picking of Markieff Morris on workouts and team need

    thats great and all but i dont think anyone on this board thinks morris is better than shumpert

    Shumprt and Dragic would have been a really nice backcourt, but oh well

    if we get Franklin somehow i will be very happy

  • 29 john // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I liked the livefyre comment system…

  • 30 Forever is2long // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:22 am

    AzBBall, there you are. I could not remember who referenced Franklin. Absolutely this guy can ball. While he is not a lock down defender, he anticipates very well which leads to steals and rebounds. He is definitely more polished offensively than Oladipo. While he had a DUI in college, that did not stop the Suns from signing Beasley who had more baggage than that.

    I hope the Suns play close attention to his workouts because they could move down a few spots and steal this guy if he continues to offer a big upside. His two NCAA tournament games this year he was very efficient in his production. I think he shot around 50% for the 2 games. I do not think he forces very many shots.

    Excellent call AzBBall

  • 31 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

    @John -

    Yeah, that was my error on Giannis’s upbringing. He was born in Greece, but IIRC he’s a Nigerian citizen living in Greece illegally.

    He’s also been in some sort of system learning basketball for about 10 years, but it’s obviously not a very strong system.

    He’s not a high pick on my radar. He’s a pick with potential, mainly due to his physical attributes and bball IQ, but I don’t know if he’ll ever make it to the NBA.

  • 32 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

    @Azbballfan -

    I’m in agreement that the Suns could use a guy at SG who has length, athleticism, and a hunger to score.

    However, the SG spot can also use a committed defender who can score efficiently, esp. if the Suns are scoring mainly from another position.

    What would be ideal would a SG who can defend AND has a hunger to score, who can create for himself AND others.

    It’s very hard to find well-rounded players in this draft.

    I look forward to seeing the updated scouting on Franklin.

  • 33 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

    @Forever -

    If Franklin has improved, his draft stock will improve as well. He won’t be going at #21 if he’s as good as you’re thinking he is.

    As players get re-evaluated and some of the younger ones pull out of the draft, we could see Franklin move up a few spots.

  • 34 Forever is2long // Mar 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Scott, Absolutely I expect Franklin and Payne to move up in the draft. Franklin could move into the top ten and certainly within the lottery group. I expect Payne to move into the 15 to 25 group by draft time. In addition to me being impressed with Franklin’s skill set, the fact just about everyone in this draft has significant questions about their game, has me optimistic about Franklin moving up. I just hope the Suns take a good long look at him before deciding who they will draft. Adding those two or Oladipo and Payne immediately adds to the Suns athletism, intellect and rebounding. I thiik Franklin gives them the above plus scoring.

    Hopefully either Utah or Dallas will put together a nice win streak to secure the Lakers lottery fate. That would make the Suns life a lot easier. Even if Lakers make the playoffs, trading Gortat should net them a top 16 pick this year unless someone gives us a potential lottery pick for him next season (preferred).

  • 35 DBreezy // Mar 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    There’s going to be more player movement than usual in this draft IMO. Don’t know how interesting it will be, but it will be something to talk about.

  • 36 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Boy … I just watched the scouting video on Mam Jaiteh, who is projected to go at #28 on Draft Express … and I have to ask, was Schmitz high when he did that video? Nipping a little kickapoo juice? Ditto for Draft Express.

    I guess it’s just the “international man of mystery” thing we get each year, but Mam Jaiteh has basically no NBA skills, few college basketball skills, he’s undersized for his position, and Schmitz openly wonders if Jaiteh could be a lottery talent.

    Jaiteh seems like a nice young guy, but get him out of the first round of the draft. Jaiteh, Saric, and Adetokunbo (unless he stuns everyone at the Nike Hoops Summit) all ought to go in the 2nd round, if at all. All 3 are 18, so they could legitimately drop out and enter the draft next year.

    For that matter, I could see other young’uns like Isaiah Austin and Archie Goodwin pulling out of consideration this year and trying again next year. Austin is 19 and Goodwin is 18, and Goodwin has already told the press he feels he isn’t ready yet.

    However, if this proves to be a weak draft year, young guys will be tempted to get a foot in the door as they’ll draft higher than they might next year.

    BTW, in my researches I often note that a player in the draft seems to match up well with a Suns player. In that category I submit Solomon Hill as an analog to Dudley. Hill is presently set to go in the middle of the second round (#44), but could climb a few spots.

    If the Suns are able to deal Dudley for an asset (this will be along rebuild, and they should do right by him), they can more or less replace him with S. Hill.

  • 37 Slap Dog Hoops (SDH) // Mar 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Gotta give love and a shot out to man Anthony Bennet, coming out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada


  • 38 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    The “Kyle Korver Award” (formerly known as the “Steve Kerr Award”) for this draft should probably go to Doug McDermott.

    He’s 6′ 8″, crafty around the basket, and is accurate on his 3s (49% on 4 attempts per game). He also can’t defend worth beans. Even worse for his draft stock, he looks kind of like a 13 year old kid named Butch.

    Draft Express has his “best case” as being like Luke Harangody, a player who is currently lighting it up in the D-League.

    McDermott has IQ and motor, but he lacks athleticism (esp. lateral quickness), and while he loves to score, his handling and his defensive efforts are inadequate. He’s playing PF in college, but in the NBA he’d be a wing.

    Kyle Korver has been in the NBA for 9 years now, and is currently making $5m a year, so probably McDermott should not be overlooked.

    There’s a scouting video from Schmitz at:

  • 39 Brandon // Mar 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Honestly, draft Marcus Smart. I don’t care if we already have Dragic and Marshall. Smart has the most upside in this draft at becoming a super star. We aren’t going anywhere with the rest of those role players so we may as well risk it and draft another PG, he has ideal size, strength, mobility, athleticism, and scoring ability to be a guy that can drop 20 points on any given night, he’s a good player maker and great rebounder for his position. Play him and Dragic together for the first year and see how it goes… both of them could play off the ball.
    McLemore is nothing more than a role player that can shoot. Oladipo’s offensive game won’t translate to the NBA so he’ll end up one dimensional as well being a defensive stopper. Porter has a low ceiling, Shabazz is a nut job, comes with drama and only cares about getting his own… would be terrible for chemistry. Noel is interesting… no offensive game but he has the potential to develop one and I love his defensive game. Right now my order would go- Smart, Noel, McLemore, Oladipo, Bennett.

  • 40 Brandon // Mar 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Because after all, the goal is to draft the most talented player, right? Don’t draft for position, draft for upside and talent.

  • 41 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @Brandon -

    I’d say that’s fairly sound reasoning, except that Smart is in the same group of high lottery picks that looked exposed in recent play. Said one scout regarding the OSU-Oregon game, “Smart really struggled beating guys off the dribble and finishing around the rim. Couldn’t make shots either.”

    In a normal draft, Smart would probably go later in the first round.


    X Good size for combo guard
    X Good defensive intensity, lateral quickness
    X Powerful first step
    X Gets steals (3 per game)
    X Good communication / leadership qualities
    X Good court vision


    - Questionable shot selection; will shoot 4 3s a game even though he’s only 29% from 3
    - Often forces the offense
    - Lacks vertical explosiveness; plays beneath the rim
    - Difficulty attacking the basket leads to long jump shots, but he’s not a very efficient shooter of such shots
    - Turns the ball over (6 games with 5+ TOs)
    - Probably a better catch and shoot player than an off the dribble player, which conflicts with a PG role

    IIRC, Smart brings less to the table than Dragic did, and Dragic was drafted at #45 (though it’s true he was a secret selection made by Phoenix, the only team he tried out for).

    The main issue for Smart, I think, is impatience. That should be relatively easy to cure, as it’s a maturity issue, and he appears in interviews to have a reasonably high IQ. If he learns to be patient, keep his dribble, and drive toward the basket (ala Nash and Dragic), his poor shot selection should go away and his playmaking should improve. However, Smart is not crafty around the basket yet, and his lack of leaping ability clues defenses into the idea that he’s driving in solely with the intention to pass. Thus he tends to get turnovers when passing in traffic. Somewhat like Marshall, he will need to develop a reliable floater to relieve defensive pressure.

    A player a cut below Smart is going in the 2nd round: Nemanja Nedovic. He’s the same height and weight, but he leans more toward being a SG while Smart leans toward being a PG. Nedovic plays above the rim, but he tends to nod off on defense and lacks the court vision / high IQ to be a top-notch PG.

  • 42 Ty-Sun // Mar 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    There just isn’t a slam dunk, sure fire NBA star player in this draft. If you need a center to be a defensive presence, Noel is your guy. If you need a 2 guard, McLemore is the #1 choice with Oladipo a close 2nd. If you need a PG, Smart is the best choice with Burke a close second (although I think he’s said that he won’t declare for the draft this year). If you want a SF, Porter is the best bet. Muhammad might even be a better choice if ALL you want is a scoring SF. Bennett is the best PF this year but I’m sure I’m not the only one concerned about him being a little undersized to play PF in the NBA. Cody Zeller? I’m also unsure as to how well his game will translate to the NBA. He has skills but I see him at best as being the 2nd option on an NBA team and more likely the 3rd.

    All that said, who should the Suns draft? It really depends on which pick they have in the draft and which direction they plan to move to in the off-season. Their biggest need with the team they have is a 2 guard. But we have no idea as to the FO’s plans for the future or whether the Suns will have the Lakers lottery pick or the Heat’s 30th 1st round pick which could change how the Suns draft.

    One thing I’m curious about is, if the Suns get lucky and win the #1 pick in the draft lottery this year, who should they take?

  • 43 john // Mar 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t know enough about the college game to pretend I’m informed enough to speak as an authority on the matter, but of all the guys being thrown around on this year’s board, the only two guys I think are capable of reaching all-star status are Noel and Muhammad. Noel will likely be gone when the Suns pick, but if Muhammad is there, he’d be my pick.

    I recognize the risk associated with that pick, and Muhammad is certainly not a sure thing, but he has the tools to become a beast in the Association.

    Hopefully, for his sake, he doesn’t turn out to be Michael Beasley 2.0.

  • 44 Rich Anthony // Mar 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Muhammad is a guy I wouldn’t touch. I don’t see where McLemore is still valued higher than OLADIPO especially when looking at these last few games on a bigger, (than normal) stage.

    A lot of these guys whose names are being tossed around are offensive weapons. Personally I’m sick of the Suns going that route; I want them to draft OLADIPO not only for his offense because he will bring it. I want them to draft him because he will lock whoever he is guarding down the length of the court which would allow Dragic to do the same.

    He also brings something the Suns haven’t had since Amare, that “feed off of me” swagger which hypes his teammates but also puts fans in the seats.

    Some of these other guys being mentioned will be available later on who can fill roles. OLADIPO has multiple uses and must be taken if he is there. Suns don’t need smart. They need a 2-way stud and athletic size. After that you can factor in who has left the team and options for restocking. That can be done outside lottery and / or 2nd round

  • 45 foreveris2long // Mar 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    John and Ty-Sun while I am not taking exception to your preferences, I have to ask if you have seen Franklin play. When he was a freshman he was on the same team (San Diego State) with K.Leonard (Spurs). He plays above the rim with a chip on his shoulder like Leonard but I think he is a better offensive player. He also is very good in steals and rebounding to be 6’5″. I think he only shot 41% this year but 43% last year when he was player of the conference. However I think he shot about 50% in the NCAA March Madness tournament in 2 games last weekends.

    I cannot predict any stars in this draft so The Suns should probably follow several players especially if they consider moving down in the draft. While I would definitely take Noel if available, I would not lock in on Oladipo to the exclusion of other potential candidates.

    I will say I would never draft Muhammad because he is a really bad defender, not really that athletic and he cannot put the ball on the floor. I think he has the least chance of being a star in the NBA. Adams on UCLA will likely be a better pro when he comes out.

  • 46 foreveris2long // Mar 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Franklin shot 14 of 26 in the NCAA tournament with 19 rebounds in two games. It appears his mom is a big influence in his life which could help keep him grounded.

  • 47 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    @forever -

    You’re mentioning keeping Franklin grounded in reference to his DUI, I take it?

    In interviews, he reminds me a little of Metta World Peace. (Which may mean nothing.)

  • 48 Scott // Mar 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    @Rich -

    I just don’t see Oladipo as being a 2-way player in the NBA, at least not without a lot of work.

    I don’t have a problem with the Suns picking Oladipo. Heck, at this point he is probably a candidate for #1 draft pick. He’s fairly well-spoken and photographs well, so the media should like him. His voice is reminiscent of both Blanks and Hunter. I could see both guys seeing themselves in Oladipo and saying, “This is our man!”

    So, to a fair extent, we need to wait and see where the Suns fall and if Oladipo is within reach. If the Suns can take him, I think they will.

    But if the Suns pick at four or lower, I doubt Oladipo will still be there. What do they do then?

  • 49 foreveris2long // Mar 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Yeah Scott, I was referencing no repeat occurrences of the DUI and not going butt wild should he enter the NBA draft. It looks like he wanted to transfer after his freshman year and his mom instructed him to return to San Diego where he became player of the year. So it looks like she has fairly strong influence over him which may help to keep him humble and hard working.

  • 50 Azbballfan // Mar 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I dont see any reason why we cant pick a center, SG and SF in this draft.

    Oladipo could be a 3, Franklin at the 2, and one of the centers could replace whoever leaves in the off season or get traded if we get someone in return

    if we had oladipo and franklin im just hypothetically, i would start them both right away and keep them there

    Shabazz could be a good player, but he also could be the next Beasley

    I dont think the Suns want to do that all over again in a draft where they really need talent

    if Oladipo is gone i have no problem with getting marcu smart either

  • 51 Rich Anthony // Mar 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

    @ Scott – if OLADIPO isn’t available to us, it might be a very cruel summer. My biggest fear is that a scenario like that might result in another Zeller in a Suns uniform.

    If Noel or O2 (OLADIPO) aren’t on the board, then you have two (similar) options.

    Draft the “best player available” regardless of position minus point guard with every pick.

    Or, trade down for more picks as Scott has suggested and – see above.

    We need talent – athletic talent, because outside of Dragon, we don’t have it.

    Talented athletic scorer, talented athletic big man, freak athlete who fills a role, etc.

    It’s why I don’t like Muhammad or Otto porter or Zeller. Really if McLemore and your guy from SD State are available when we pick and O2 / Noel are not then take them both. As long as we get a freakishly crazy big man somewhere in there.

  • 52 Azbballfan // Mar 27, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Freakishly crazy bigman?

    hmmm………….How about Rudy Gobert? he is i think 19 years old plays for France his 7 foot 1 with a 7 foot 9 inch wing span

    will go anywhere from late lotto to late 1st, last game that i know about he had 14 points on 5 shots and 14 boards in 27 minutes

    if you look him up on youtube he looks very athletic for someone that is 7 foot 1 and 240 pounds

    his offensive game is raw and he would be a project but for a likely middle to late first roundr, if Withey and Gorge Diengu are gone (i dont know how to spell his name you know who i mean) doesnt seem to bad

    The Suns havent drafted a 7 footer since Lopez in 2008

  • 53 foreveris2long // Mar 27, 2013 at 6:45 am

    I haven’t seen Gobert but I think the Suns badly need an athletic power forward who can rebound and block shots. Payne from Michigan State does that and can hit a 15 footer. He is projected to go in the 2nd round but another good showing in the tournament this weekend could elevate his draft status to the 1st round.

  • 54 Alex Parisi // Mar 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Just take the best player available. If that’s Oladipo, I for one would be thrilled. As for PHX’s later picks, I love these guys if they’re available… Jamaal Franklin (SDSU), Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse), Solomon Hill (Arizona), DJ Stephens (Memphis), Jahii Carson (ASU), and CJ Leslie (NC State).

  • 55 john // Mar 27, 2013 at 7:44 am

    The Suns should have just taken Faried a couple of years ago like I asked them to.

    How could they pass up on Faried after that EPIC youtube vid he made for himself? That was the stuff of legends.

  • 56 Forever is2long // Mar 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Good win for the Mavs last night especially since Utah is too busy choking to help the Suns get the Lakers lottery pick. With World Peace I believe now having a torn meniscus, they are prime to continue their losing ways.

  • 57 Ty-Sun // Mar 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Yeah, I’m hoping that Dallas gets it’s sh!t together for the rest of the season and takes that 8th seed away from the Lakers. :)

  • 58 Ty-Sun // Mar 27, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I’ve been doing some research on Franklin. Perhaps his past problems could be a blessing in disguise for the Suns if that’s what is keeping him from being projected as a lottery pick. The ideal draft day scenario for the Suns might be to win one of the first two picks in the lottery and have the Lakers miss the playoffs. That way they could possibly take Noel with their 1st pick and then take Franklin with the Lakers pick since it seems that a lot of people are predicting Franklin will still be undrafted by that time.

  • 59 Forever is2long // Mar 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Ty-Sun I think I would dance on the roof top in my undees if the Suns got Noel and Franklin. Another way we could possibly pull that off is to trade Gortat for a top 11 pick. AzBBall told me about him so I checked some video clips and then saw him a little in a conference tournament game. Then I saw him at length in March Madness and was extremely impressed. The LA Times did an article on the guy this year as though he was a mystery man no one had heard of. With his freakish wingspan and athleticism, he could skyrocket up the draft board. Stay tuned on this kid.

  • 60 Scott // Mar 27, 2013 at 11:15 am

    The first I heard of Franklin was when DE posted a scouting report on him in early November.

    Did you know he has a Phoenix connection? He went to Westwind Prep in Phoenix.

  • 61 Ty-Sun // Mar 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

    If the Suns do get lucky in the lottery and get the chance to draft Noel AND the Lakers miss the playoffs (which gives the Suns get their pick), Franklin sounds like the ideal use of the Lakers pick. But that’s the ideal situation. If the Suns get the 4th – 6th pick and the Lakers do make the playoffs, I would be happy with Oladido and the best player available with the Heat’s pick at the end of the 1st round.

    But if the Suns own pick ends up at 4-6 and the Lakers miss the playoffs then perhaps we take Bennett or Porter with the 1st pick and Franklin with the 2nd.

    I just hope that the Suns’ FO is putting as much thought into the draft as people here on this site are! The last two drafts they’ve seemed to play it safe with their picks. Although it’s a baseball analogy, I think it’s time to swing for the fence instead of just trying to get on base.

  • 62 DBreezy // Mar 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Interesting convo about the upcoming draft. While I think this is always true, I think it’s even more important than ever this year to keep the big picture. Every year at this time two things happen. College basketball takes center stage for sports fans and media vs the niche it is most of the season and GM’s, head coaches, and occasionally owners start focusing in heavily for the first time vs the scouts who have been watching most of these guys since high school or earlier…

    Next thing you know draft rankings start going up and down as the fresh eyes on the scene take a look at these guys, living and dying with each tourney or draft workout high or low. The fresh eyes are all higher up the decision and responsibility chain than the scouts who have trudged around for years watching and ranking these guys so you know who wins that battle. I’ve come to like watching it play out every year on which tends to let it’s rankings flow up and down in the moment all season long vs Draftexpress that tends to largely stick with the long time scouting observations in their stuff resulting in far fewer changes through the year….

    In the end, there are usually a couple of big name prospects that typically slip way too far each season and its happening more and more because of one and done. So much hype is put on all of these guys coming out of high school that unless they have Durant or Beasley type freshman years and/or tourney’s their stock plummets. Ask guys like Deandre Jordan and Andre Drummond about that. Honestly if it wasn’t for the late season and tourney runs for guys like Rose, Mayo, Tyreke Evans, and Love they probably would have slipped more than they should. If Presti wasn’t Presti, Harden would have slipped for not going deep enough in the tourney…

    Even if they are succesful, if they come back for a second year and don’t dramatically top the first one which is hard in college hoops, they’re in trouble as well. Guys like Sullinger, Barnes, Lamb, and PJ3 fit that to varying degrees as it looks like Cody Zeller will this year. In the turmoil of all of this stuff, previously unheard of or unheralded prospects often rise above where they probably should be selected…………

    Of course nature abhors a vacuum and there are exceptions, but to me the trend remains largely true. None of this stuff is new, but what seems dangerous this year is the weakness of the draft, especially for a team like the Suns. There still seems to be a belief in the front office that they are different from other deep lottery squads despite a season worse than almost all of them and despite having less talent. That plus a front office team at or near the end of their deals likely spells pressure for immediate results ie an immediate impact player in a draft where none likely exists. At best you’re probably hoping one of these guys can be an all star down the line like a Gasol or Paul George. I wonder how susceptible Blanks will be to the winds blowing around this draft? I wonder what kind of environment and immediate expectations the highest Suns number 1 pick in years will have? Would they treat a guy like Oladipo the way Charlotte has with MKG or will they hype him up all offseason as has been their standard for years? Makes me think when I look for example at Shabazz and BMac as I get the feeling that Shabazz is better equipped mentally to shrug the pressure of such expectations from above off effectively.

  • 63 Scott // Mar 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    So … Blanks has muffed it up for the whole time he’s been in office and his contract hangs on this next draft.

    Blanks has … one last shot to win it! ;)

  • 64 Scott // Mar 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    BTW, IMO it’s too early to say who the top talents are in this draft. We haven’t even reached the deadline for declaring who’s in and who isn’t.

    But definitely the Suns should draft for talent, as they need talent at every position. (Despite being 5 deep at SF.)

  • 65 DBreezy // Mar 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm


    I don’t know if his job hinges on this draft in Sarver’s view or not as Bob has said earlier this season that he’s been happy with the talent that Lance has draftee, but one would think that getting an impact player in this draft would be heavy on his mind as he enters the last year of his deal….

    Like you, I believe that several players will be allowed to walk or traded this summer. I could easily see some combo of Brown, Gortat, Scola, Dudley, O’Neal, Frye, Garrett, Hadadi gone next season one way or another. Beasley’s an obvious omission here, but my gut says that they don’t stretch him this summer unless they need the cap space similar to what happened with Chilly who played a lot fewer mins than Beas. Beyond possible team wishes to part ways, I think some fans have discounted the possibility that one or several of these guys may ask to be moved this summer. I doubt Brown and Telfair were the only vets frustrated with where things are now and a guy like Gortat has to be cognizant of the fact that the Suns aren’t paying him what he wants, but still currently have his Bird rights…

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the Suns aren’t going to be big players in free agency and unless they’re planning on taking someone else’s big salary off their hands (Granger, Pau, etc) they won’t likely be adding an impact player via trade. I base that off the seeming lack of interest in the Suns current assets and the tightened trade market due to the luxury tax curtain. In fact I’m not expecting much in the way of near term draft picks coming back either, but probably more Wes Johnson, Marcus Morris types who aren’t currently panning out elsewhere plus maybe picks down the line unless a team is certain about its tax structure going forward….

    An ugly situation coming into the last year of your deal if you’re Lance off what looks like a 25-28 win season. Where else are you gonna look for hope to save yourself going forward? Especially since other owners around the league might not have the same glowing opinion of you that Sarver presently does. I agree that it’s too early to tell who the top talents are in the draft, which says a whole lot about this draft.

  • 66 John // Mar 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Giannis Adetokoubo is not an illegal Nigerian citizen living in Greece. This nonsense started from DX’s article, but was already debunked in Greek media.

    They already cleared it up in Greek media.

    He has Greek citizenship.
    He has a Greek passport.
    He is eligible to play on the Greek national team.

    He does not have Nigerian citizenship.
    He does not have a Nigerian passport.
    He is not eligible to play on the Nigerian national team.

    DX is trying to stir up some kind of controversy with that article by saying things that were not true.

  • 67 Scott // Mar 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    @John -

    I doubt there is some sort of conspiracy operating here. If the DX story is wrong, it’s probably just bad information, taken from someone who was thought to be a good reference.

    FWIW – and unrelated to the above – apparently Morey (GM for the Rockets) and Presti (GM for the Thunder) are among the NBA guys scouting Giannis in Athens.

  • 68 john // Mar 28, 2013 at 8:32 am

    If those two guys are interested, the Suns had better be showing some interest as well.

  • 69 azbballfan // Mar 29, 2013 at 2:50 am

    yeah i agree Presti and Morey consistently draft well no matter what year it is

    I dont remember who the head scout is for the suns

    (is it John Trelor?)

    they need to go do their jobs and take a look at this player.

    btw i am pretty sure that the suns have the right to get the grizzlies pick this year, in some deal for Wesley Johnson we got a pick that was some conditions like the worst of the pick between minny and Memphis

    i am almost positive we have 3 first round picks no matter what

    also i know we get the heats pick because Cleveland owns the Lakers non lotto pick and has the right to take swap that pick with the Heats which of course they wont do

    Even if LA makes the playoffs the Suns should trade for a spot lower in the lottery by some combination of a trade of players or 2nd round, or late 1st round picks if someone talented enough drops to say 14

  • 70 Jim // Apr 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I agree with Scott on the DX story. It should be interesting too to see if LA makes it but even then don’t think much of it. Will have to wait and see how the draft plays out! I think it’s still a bit too early IMO.

  • 71 Carl // Jan 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

    In no particular order, ecxpet Sandoval who I’d love to read more about. I haven’t filtered out already-requested players. Consider them affirmation votes. I tried to keep the list to 8 and failed badly. THANKS!!!P. SandovalV. MartinezH. PenceF. HernandezF. LirianoP. HughesJ. ChamerlainE. EncarnacionR. DoumitP. MaholmA. WainwrightK. KouzmanoffR. Cano

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