Now that I’ve had a day to digest the draft picks, its time for grades and analysis
The #5: Alex Len
- Grade: B+
With Anthony Bennett going number one overall, followed by Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter Jr. and a surprise of Cody Zeller at number four, I was pleasantly surprised with the choices the Suns had to make with the fifth pick. They could pick from Nerlens Noel, Alex Len or Ben McLemore, which some thought would be the first three prospects to come off the board. When Commissioner David Stern announced, “with the fifth pick in the 2013 NBA Draft the Phoenix Suns select, from the Ukraine and the University of Maryland, center Alex Len.” I was surprised and sort of annoyed.
It seemed like the Suns had obviously picked the wrong player and either of the other two people would have been the “no-brainer” pick. But that is exactly why this pick is genius. Drafting Len wasn’t the trendy pick, but it was the smart one.
Someone on Twitter said something that struck a chord with me. The gist was, “If the Suns training staff passed on Noel then I’m glad we got Len.” That was interesting to me. Len’s injury was to his foot, while Noel’s was to his knee. I’m always more hesitant about knees. That is especially the case for Noel because a big chunk of his potential is in his explosiveness and athleticism that can be reduced when injured knees are involved. Both players are young enough that they will heal probably pretty well though. The long term effects are what we are worried about.
Len will be one of the tallest centers, while Noel will be one of the smallest. This is elaborated in this SB Nation article, that illustrates why Len is the better player now and will be later on in their careers. It made me feel much more at ease with this pick.
The #30: Archie Goodwin
- Grade: A
This is a solid pick. The young PG/SG, who turns 19 in August, has a lot of learning to do and he will have the opportunity to have that growth in Phoenix. According to the Suns official Twitter feed, Goodwin said, “This is the team I wanted to play for. I feel really comfortable here.” While it’s hard to say how comfortable you can be after being in Phoenix for maybe a week, including the workouts, it looks like a good fit.
Another article had Goodwin compared to a faster, more aggressive and younger Shannon Brown, although I would say Brown can jump much higher (than most NBAers). We here at Sun-N-Gun compared him to Russell Westbrook. He could replace Kendall Marshall as the back-up point guard or be the shooting guard. It all depends on what happens to Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown and Wesley Johnson at the SG spot. Regardless, his talents will be utilized, his shot “fixed” by head coach Hornacek, and his raw athleticism honed into a player that could help Phoenix contend in several years.
The #57: Alex Oriakhi
- Grade: C
While the 57th pick, Oriakhi, is sort of a throw-away pick, and usually is for most teams so far down in the second round,but it might not be for Phoenix. With the team rebuilding, a small rookie contract may be what they need. He is a hustler that defends, crashes the boards, and does the dirty work. If Oriakhi could acquire a mid-range jumper, he could be the next David West.
The power forward position is jam-packed full of bodies, but that might not be for long. Luis Scola could be traded for a pick once he is eligible to be traded, since he was picked up after being amnestied. We don’t really know what will happen to the Morris twins. Michael Beasley will hopefully be waived or traded, because that contract is not worth it. Also Channing Frye is probably coming back so he will take some minutes. However, if the right situation arises after the roster shuffling stops, Oriakhi could make a contribution.
The Len grade is lower because he won’t be a superstar, Goodwin was a great pickup so his is high, and I think they could have made a much better pick at #57. There were a significant number of players that went undrafted that people are saying definitely should have been drafted.
Overall grade for the draft: B+