The Suns’ return in dealing Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers will be better than anyone expected. As reported late Friday night, Phoenix will receive swingman Gerald Green from the Pacers but in a final construction, the Suns will also get back a 2014 first-round draft pick that’s lottery protected and 2012 draft pick Miles Plumlee.
Phoenix announced the deal is official via a release.
“The trade is consistent with our stated plan to continue to acquire young assets,” president of basketball operations Lon Babby said in a statement. “With this trade, we now have the potential for three first-round picks in the 2014 draft and five first-round picks in the next two drafts.
“Although Luis’s time here in Phoenix was short, he certainly ingratiated himself to all of us in Phoenix with his hard work and professionalism. He will be an important contributor to a contending team in Indiana.”
Plumlee was the 26th overall pick by the Pacers a year ago and has been disappointing since. His career averages of 0.9 points and 1.6 rebounds per game are also hampered by the obvious — Indiana had experience, depth and a winning team that kept him off the floor. The former Duke forward is still only 24 years old and with Green gives the Suns another freak athlete to fit into Phoenix’s up-and-down system.
At 6-foot-11, 255 pounds, Plumlee at the least gives first-year coach Jeff Hornacek another defensive presence if he makes it onto the court.
“We are excited to add Miles and Gerald to our young core group of players,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said in a release. “Miles was one of the best players in the Orlando Summer League, and Gerald’s scoring ability and athleticism will help us as we continue to build a team that plays an exciting, up tempo brand of basketball.”
Indeed, Plumlee showed signs in the summer league that he might be ready for a breakout sophomore season. He averaged 10 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per game in four summer league outings. Though he’s offensively limited, Plumlee is the energy-type rebounder who can crash the glass and finish close to the rim because of his athleticism.
Like Green he’s limited, but like Green he fits into the Suns’ goal of turning a roster formerly devoid of athletes into one filled to the brim with them.
But again, the most important part of the deal is the draft pick. Late Friday, some of us were questioning whether the Scola deal made sense on the Suns’ end if they didn’t receive a first-round pick. Now, it appears that they’ve secured a first-rounder in a very good 2014 draft so long as Indiana makes the playoffs. With the roster that Larry Bird has built — they were great before but the depth is now incredible — that shouldn’t worry Suns fans.