While many NBA teams are eyeing a playoff spot, the Phoenix Suns should be shifting their attention to something just a little further down the road: the draft.
The team’s losing streak – while unfamiliar and painful for the moment – has ultimately put them in a better position this year: they will have two first-round picks in the draft this year and the chance to procure two lottery prospects, should the Lakers miss the playoffs.
There’s no question the Suns need some help. That’s not to say they don’t have solid players, like Goran Dragic. But there are certainly holes in the roster that would best be filled by college talent come June 27.
Here are a few of the young studs who could do Phoenix some good.
Shabazz Muhammad – UCLA – SG (6 ft. 6 in., 225 Ibs.)
Despite a less than stellar performance during the NCAA tournament, which will probably knock him down a few pegs, Muhammad is a very strong, aggressive offensive player with raw scoring ability. He needs some work on defense, but that will come with the experience and molding the Suns can provide.
Ben McLemore – Kansas – SG (6 ft. 5 in., 195 Ibs.)
He’ll probably be one of the first off the board since somewhat redeeming his lackluster performance in the NCAA tournament late against Michigan. Should the Suns get lucky, they could definitely use his athleticism and knack for scoring a point or two.
Nerlens Noel – Kentucky – C (6 ft. 10 in., 228 Ibs.)
The 19-year old was impressive during his freshman year, showing strong basketball IQ and execution. He has room for polish, but NBA teams like to groom impressionable youth to their methods, the Suns included. Should he go to the draft, despite the torn ACL, he would be a great overall pick up.
Cody Zeller – Indiana – C/PF (7 ft. 0 in., 240 Ibs.)
Another player whose hype alone will probably see him unavailable within the first 5 picks. According to Bracketwars at Cable.tv , IU’s NCAA graduation rate is only 43%. Maybe the sophomore will stay in school to adjust that figure, and give the Suns a chance at him when he’s even better 2 years from now.
Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga – C/PF (7 ft. 0 in., 238 Ibs.)
The 7’0″ goliath is one of the better offensive centers in college basketball. He holds solid numbers inside and outside the arc, and is a good free-thrower no less. Team him with Dragic for some pick-and-roll moves, and you have a new Nash-Stoudemire combo. He’ll probably be around when Zeller gets picked, making him more realistic for Phoenix.
Many of these guys have franchise potential, which the Suns definitely need and have left void since Amar’e left in 2010. Here’s to hoping the summer selections, whoever they may be, bring a brighter season for the Suns.