Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Draft: Artem Klimenko could be a stash option for Suns


Russian big man Artem Klimenko participated in the Phoenix Suns’ first draft workout session on Tuesday and could be a potential second-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Strengths

There’s a difference between mobile and athletic, and 7-foot-1 Russian center Artem Klimenko certainly can be described as the former. For a player with a fine standing reach and true 7-foot height, the big man who plays for Avtodor Saratov glides in the full court and is smooth enough to work his way in the post or chase after offensive boards, which is an impressive feat for someone his size. He has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and at 20 years old has the potential to add weight onto his frame and become a capable NBA center. Klimenko’s biggest strength other than moving well and having a good feel around the rim comes in his affinity to chase after offensive boards.

Weaknesses

Klimenko isn’t a leaper, though his standing reach of 9-foot-4 makes up for that a great deal. He’s also still on the thin side, but such is why he would be selected as a project pick in the second round. The combination of Klimenko’s flaws in terms of his feel for the game and his current lack of post moves could hurt his value despite the appeal of a team adding a true 7-footer. That he doesn’t have any well-developed skills could make him a reach unless a team is hoping he can develop into a space-clogger in the middle.

X-factor

There seems to be a mystery about how much Klimenko can develop. He could be a solid NBA player if he proves through workouts that he can be a better shot-blocker than projected. And if he learns a few low-post moves, the big man could also grow into a post threat with some added weight. His upside isn’t off the charts, but he could be seen as a relatively valuable Hasheem Thabeet type of utility player down the line.

How he would fit on the Suns

If Ryan McDonough and his scouts believe the youngster has the character and the room to develop, he could be seen as a potential asset down the road should either of Alex Len or Miles Plumlee be traded — either because they both develop and the Suns can’t pay them or if one hits a ceiling. Whatever the case, it would seem that Klimenko could be a draft-and-stash player in Phoenix or even a project that could develop in the D-League. Currently a player projected to go 37th overall, according to Draft Express, Klimenko’s current situation in Russia is a bit mysterious (the video below uses the term “shady”). That could hurt his chances of the Suns picking him with their 50th choice unless they indeed wanted to oversee his progress in the states.


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  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    I doubt this guy will ever come close to developing into a Timofey Mozgov. Suns need to take a flyer on 4everis2long’s boy Stanford’s Dwight Powell. 6′-11″ with a wingspan of 7′-0″ and a standing reach of 8′-9″. That gave him the 2nd best size and length of all the players at the predraft combine. He also attended Stanford for four years which translates into having a high I.Q.

    I believe Stanford employed the Triangle offense which would speak volumes about Powell’s basketball I.Q.

    This is a guy who has a great basketball foundation in place who could benefit by spending a couple of seasons in Bakersfield. Nice scouting job 4ever!

    • 4everis2long

      Thanks EBJM. watching him play, I think he has all the tools to effectively play in the NBA. I think he can defend and is a decent rebounder who needs work on his low post game. He has nice handles for a 6’11″ guy and a quick first step. In my humble opinion he could be the steal of the second round. It would not surprise me if someone drafts him before the Suns choose.

    • 4everis2long

      EBJM, I see doggone OKC is on to Dwight Powell as well as he is scheduled to work out with them, Phoenix and Minnesota this week. If he, like anyone else with good size, athleticism and mechanics work out well with the respective teams, I could see him being a late 1st round pick. I think the guy is a gem and glad the Suns want to see him. We just cannot get anything past OKC as they are clued in on all potential ballers with big upside. I also see that the Suns have Isiah Austin from Baylor in today.

      • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

        I only recall one mock draft even listing him and that happened to be Phoenix in the 2nd rd. With the dearth of players at his size and length with basic fundamentals, I’m pretty sure some scout has kept an eye on your players.

        Now I’ve seen a 2nd mock having him go to Dallas right after Phoenix at #51. Teams are taking all kind of flyers on centers/PFs in the 2nd rd. Detroit is looking at life after Monroe and are looking at Mitch McGary. There are at least three International centers going in the 2nd.

        James McAdoo is getting a lot of play with his family connection to Bob McAddoo (I think they are 3rd cousins) and an NBA ready body but literally no game and a bad attitude.

        So yeah, I think the cat is out of the bag. I think he will probably go by the 28th or 29th to the middle of the 2nd rd. If he drops to #50 Phoenix should definitely snag him. I’d rather see him filling a roster spot than Randolph, Christmas or Barbosa.

        • 4everis2long

          EBJM, I too hate McAdoo. I cannot stand his game. He was grossly overhyped in my opinion coming to UNC.

      • DBreezy

        I’m really interested to see if Austin can demonstrate/develop the lateral mobility to guard 4′s at the NBA level. He’s a much more intriguing prospect and possible steal in that case as he’s got a lot of talent and skill. I just don’t know if he’s going to develop the weight/strength to be a full time NBA center, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that he develops enough to be a 4.

        As for OKC, no not much gets past them. They’re part of why I’m not yet sold on the notion that the Suns have to trade some or all of their picks or take a draft and stash guy in the 1st to avoid having too much youth on the roster. In the Western conference, I don’t think the Suns are nearly good enough yet to be thinking like that. They absolutely need to beat the bushes for a blockbuster deal or free agent, but realistically they need to just stay the course from a year ago and keep acquiring good young assets. Like everyone else, I’d hope they’d be in a position of need but I still take the best player available. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka’s presence didn’t stop the Thunder from taking Perry Jones when you could argue that they had more pressing needs elsewhere.

        • 4everis2long

          DBreezy, I too wonder about Austin’s ability to defend a four. I definitely feel if he is successful at the next level it will be as a four. Regarding Suns stashing a guy, I agree with you 100%. I just do not think we are good enough to be stashing anyone. We need as many young assets as possible until we become a championship caliber team. I also would go with the best player available. While I like Payne at #18, if there is someone with more upside available I would take him and consider Powell at the end of 1st round satisfying a need for a four.

          • DBreezy

            This should be a fun draft Foreveris as I think workouts and workout stock may matter more top to bottom than it does in most years as even the top 3 picks aren’t settled yet in a strong draft. McD will really have to do his homework not only on the prospects, but on his projections of what other teams are thinking. If for instance you like a guy like Austin you have to decide if he’ll last till 27 which is more in line with his current projection or if his upside means take him at 18 because the GM’s in places like OKC and HOU might not pass him up.

            I wrote about Payne on the other thread, but right now I’m ambivalent on him partly because I’m not sure on how much of an asset he’ll be for the team despite likely being a solid player. Right now I’m thinking fans might want to be prepared for the Suns to end up draft a player(s) who’s fit seems redundant and a summer of speculation regarding what that means. In the end after all of the talk, it wouldn’t surprise me if the biggest youth impact next year on the court next season comes from the 2013 draftees Goodwin and Len.