NBA Draft 2013: Alex Oriakhi goes at Suns’ 57th spot

Posted by on June 27th, 9:20 pm

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns picked Missouri forward Alex Oriakhi with their 57th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, adding to their frontcourt depth with a bruising presence. Oriakhi measured out at 6-foot-9.5 with a 7-foot-3.75 wingspan, and his 258-pound frame acted as 12th overall pick Steven Adam’s workout drone.

Obviously, the Suns will hope Oriakhi is more than a workout drone for their purposes. Oriakhi played for the championship UConn Huskies team in 2011 and later transferred to Missouri. With the Tigers, Oriakhi averaged 11.2 points and 8.4 rebounds as a senior.

Oriakhi was one of the most productive per-40 minute, pace-adjusted rebounders in the country, according to Draft Express.

As an NBA player, Oriakhi is first and foremost a versatile defensive presence whose toughness should challenge whomever remains out of the Morris twins, Michael Beasley and Alex Len this coming season. He’s a decent shot-blocker who averaged 1.6 per game over the course of his career.

His upside could be viewed similarly to a larger Carl Landry, though he is less versatile as an offensive weapon.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Draft

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jordan B // Jun 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    i think it was a decent draft. maybe Oriakhi could end up playing the 4 or something with Len or Gortat at Center.

  • 2 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I don’t understand this pick. Surely Oriakhi would have been available after the draft. Also, while the Suns do need help at PF, they need someone who might project to start one day, not a deep bench person.

    The depth chart at PF right now is pretty thick: Scola, Frye, Beasley, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and now Oriakhi.

    Since he can’t spread the floor, is Oriakhi intended to be an undersized center? If so, he’d be behind Gortat, Frye, Haddadi, and Len.

    Maybe the Suns wanted to draft guys with names that begin with the letter “A” …? (Alex, Archie, Alex)

    Hopefully the rationale behind this pick will become clear.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Alex-Oriakhi-5099/

  • 3 DBreezy // Jun 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I think it may be awhile before the rationale behind this draft becomes clear. I don’t say that as a bad thing, as I’m more than willing to see where they go with things, but so far it’s an incomplete. Not so much because of Len vs. Noel/BMac or the wait for development, but because there weren’t any other significant roster moves made other than adding Malcolm Lee to delight Hawki and Foreveris!

    I have little doubt that they tried to move Duds and/or Marcin at a minimum, and it’s somewhat concerning that they couldn’t find a deal because I’m not sure that they will fetch greater value later on. Nuking this roster may take longer than expected and much of it my come via attrition vs trades which isn’t good for accelerating the process.

  • 4 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

    That was what I was wondering: were the Suns simply unable to deal anyone for picks? Is that why the Suns weren’t involved in any trades?

    And why didn’t they try sending 2 2nd round draft picks to Dallas for the #13 pick? (Which is what I believe the Celtics did.)

    From what little I could see in post-draft interviews, McD and Hornacek are acting like the Suns are a good team that just needs one or two parts. Well … no. I don’t buy that at all. But do they really believe it? That worries me.

    ATM, only 3 Suns players have a PER over average: Dragic, Scola, and Gortat. Two have an average PER: Dudley and Frye. The rest are way below average (Brown, Markieff, Marcus, Tucker, Beasley, Haddadi, Marshall).

    Are they going to go after a star-type SG again? And do they think that will fix things?

    Or is the assumption that the Suns were so poorly coached that Hornacek will get them to turn the corner?

    So yeah … I assume more action is to come. But even so, I don’t see where Oriakhi fits in, especially if it’s looking like Suns players are untradeable in a year with a weak draft.

  • 5 Josh Kirn // Jun 28, 2013 at 7:39 am

    You guys in AZ don’t know what a great deal you just got. You won’t find This combination of depth, maturity, work ethic, teamsmanship, and skill just lying around anywhere. Any draft pick is a shot in the dark, because they all have to adjust to the big leagues. Alex managed the adjustment from HS to college very well, won a championship, then managed again when he transferred out of a troubled program and had his best year playing on a team of individuals, where he was noted for his leadership and maturity. You want someone who won’t flame out and waste your team’s money? Alex Oriakhi is your man.

  • 6 Foreveris2long // Jun 28, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I never saw Alex Oriakhi play so I cannot comment on his potential to be an NBA starter. The only thing I can read from this is McD does not like the forwards on this team and I do not blame him. However Scott like you said, he likely would have been available as a free agent.

    Yeah D’Breezy I am not sure where the Suns are going since they did not or could not trade Dudley and or Gortat. I certainly thought we could get a first round pick for each one. I know Portland has issues regarding trading Alredge because it does not appear he is content with the rebuild. Obviously if they have to trade him, it makes no sense trading for Gortat. However when they drafted McCollum I thought for sure there was about to be a trade with Phoenix announced. Why they drafted McCollum when they just drafted a rookie of the year point guard mystifies me.

    Malcom Lee, good memory D’Breezy as Hawk and I both liked him coming out of UCLA. Overall I like the Len pickup because Noel seemed like a bigger risk with 2 knee surgeries on the same knee before reaching the more punishing NBA and there were reports he failed to follow doctor’s orders after the 1st knee surgery which could result in a chronic condition. I suspect the Suns medical staff had some input on that issue.

    While I could understand the Suns drafting McLemore, it does not break my heart that they passed on him because like Wesley Johnson, he seems to lack the killer instinct to match his talent level. He may turn out to be great but he reminds me so much of Wesley Johnson when he was at Syracuse. Then when you consider there will be better wings in next years draft, I definitely understood McD.

    What I did not understand was the Suns passing on J. Franklin. Hopefully Scott’s boy turns out to be the real deal.

  • 7 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    @Josh Kirn -

    I’m not saying Oriakhi is bad. He presents well, does what he does, and obviously the Suns liked him enough to bring him in for a tryout and then liked him so much he was the one they picked. He probably excelled at the conditioning sprint at the end of the session, showing he’s a hard worker.

    What I’m talking about is more draft strategy and team-building strategy rather than the ability of a specific player.

    The Suns have ** FIVE ** players at PF ahead of Oriakhi. Is the strategy to deal away three or four of them? That’s one of the questions raised by their selection at #57.

    The other question is: if Oriakhi was likely going to be available as an undrafted player, why didn’t the Suns use that #57 pick on a foreign player to stash? They could have invited Oriakhi to Summer League and added him that way.

    Yes, I know the foreign cupboard was seriously raided in this draft, with a few 2nd rounders ending up in the first round due to vacuum forces, but still … there are more foreign players out there. Shouldn’t the pick have been spent on maybe that 7′ Chinese guy or something?

    The Suns were looking at loads of domestic talent for the #57 pick. It didn’t seem like they were ever even considering an overseas guy to tag and release.

    Players chosen by other teams around this spot in the past included Scola, Gortat, and Ginobili. With the Suns having two of the guys on this list currently on the team, you’d think they’d realize the importance of taking a risk on a foreign guy with potential with a late 2nd round pick. It can pay off.

  • 8 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:24 am

    @forever -

    I think Portland drafted McCollum because they thought he was the BPA.

  • 9 DBreezy // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I was watching the pressers from last night on Suns.com with McD and Horny, and in one of them it was mentioned that they were active but teams were unwilling to give up 1st round picks. There was a piece a few days ago on foxpsortsaz where an anonymous front office exec said he felt Gortat alone wasn’t going to be enough to get the Suns a top-10 pick or even close to it. He said Goran would fetch the most interest and that most of the Suns’ other assets wouldn’t move the needle much although Dudley potentially could.

    I have a feeling that the cold, hard truth is that the Suns’ assets outside of Goran were unable to fetch even an additional 1st round pick in a draft that was panned as weak by many featuring several teams clearly interested in trades for various reasons. The trading deadline was very quiet overall last season primarily because of the new luxury tax system.

    While I wouldn’t have traded Harden, the timing of doing so was brilliant because of the effect of the new system. They quite possibly would have gotten far less if they waited. Teams like the Jazz, Hawks and Bucks seem quite willing to let far more accomplished players than Gortat and Dudley walk for zero compensation vs moving them at the deadline.

  • 10 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Let me amend my statement to note that the Suns did bring in one guy, Brazilian Augusto Cesar Lima, as an option for the #57 pick.

  • 11 DBreezy // Jun 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    They could have stashed 57 or they could have used it to lock up a more heralded guy like Deshaun Thomas for at least the summer league as Oriakhi would probably be available easily as an undrafted invitee. The Suns could be an attractive squad for agents this summer. Len isn’t playing and I don’t expect the Morris twins or PJ to play heavy mins depending on the roster. There’s opportunities there as the focus will likely be on getting Horny’s feet wet and seeing what Marshall and Goodwin can do.

  • 12 Foreveris2long // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Yeah Scott, Portland did draft the BPA but I am not convinced it will make LA happy as he wants to be on a playoff relevant team.

    D’Breezy, Good insight on the apparent lack of value Gortat and Dudley have around the NBA. If Blanks would have only listened when I yelled for 2 years to trade Gortat when he had value.Oh well it isn’t McD’s fault. He knew he would have to deal with the collateral damage left by Blanks.

  • 13 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I’ve said right along that I don’t expect Goodwin to be very good for another two years. I suspect he needs to mature, learn the NBA game, fix his shot, and get stronger.

    So I don’t look for him to hit his stride till the 2015-2016 season.

    Any ideas where the Suns intend to trade? I can’t see anything very credible right now.

    Beasley is an expiring contract, as is Brown, so that’s potentially $9m to a team that’s got itself in a bind with the cap. And Brown’s $3.5m can be bought off.

    The Bulls have a tight cap problem that could be alleviated by trading Deng for Brown and Beasley. That move would save them $7.5m.

    The Suns could even trade Beasley and Brown for Amare, if they wanted. The Trade Machine accepts it. If you wanted, you could throw Scola, Frye, and the twins in there, and ask for Shumpert in return. After buying out Brown, the Knicks would actually save $1.5m on that. lol

    I have no idea what the Suns will actually do.

  • 14 Ty-Sun // Jun 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Back in 86 the Suns used the 46th pick in the draft to take some guy named Hornacek and he wound up having a pretty good career in the NBA. My bet is that Horny just saw something in Oriakhi that he really liked and thought he was worth the risk at 57.

    Besides, Scola will probably be traded during the off season and even if Frye’s heart condition returns to normal it’s going to take a long time before he can work himself into NBA game shape. That leaves the Morris twins and Beasley as the Suns options at 4. Oriakhi should be able to outplay any of them on defense and probably out rebound them too.

  • 15 Scott // Jun 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

    @forever -

    There’s talk of LA being traded to Chicago, presumably for Boozer. If that trade was to go through, Portland would get the veteran center they’ve wanted.

    Or the Blazers could sign Jermaine O’Neal and play Boozer at PF.

  • 16 DBreezy // Jun 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

    @Scott,

    After doing the intro pressers today for Len and Goodwin, I’m sure the front office will go back to scratching their heads on how to attack things going forward. There wasn’t much roster resolution last night.

    They need a stopgap two unless they’re going to throw Goodwin to the Wolves, and they need to decide if they’re ok with Len only getting 15-18mins a night behind Gortat. The 3/4 position is a logjam mess of mediocrity, but I’m not sure much can be done about that this summer.

  • 17 Midrange James // Jun 29, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Barring the acquisition of a blockbuster free agent the Suns appear to be building for 2016 or so.

    if we had more tradable assets, we could try to acquire star as Sean McDonough did when he got Kevin Garnet.

    Like many fans, I would like to see in the Suns acquire another first-round pick. But it’s not the end of the world that they did not.

    Management believes that Alex Len is their center of the future and that Archie Goodwin could be a Gilbert Arena/Jamaal Crawford type of scorer.

    I hope to see a year of development for Len and company as we put ourselves in position for another top five selection.

    With our improvement in the evaluation of basketball talent, I would hope that we come up with at least one diamond in the rough through the summer league proceedings.

    Here come the Suns…

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