Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft: Jahii Carson would have ‘dream come true’ playing for Suns


PHOENIX — Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson worked out for the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday afternoon, and for obvious reasons was the media’s most popular player out of the six participants – Taylor Braun, Tim Frazier, Josh Huestis, Cory Jefferson and Patric Young were the others.

Carson grew up in Phoenix and played high school ball at Mountain Pointe for two years and Mesa High School for two more. He remained in the Valley to play college basketball in Tempe. And there he was, working out for the hometown team that he grew up cheering for.

“Its crazy being a hometown kid in Phoenix, going to Mesa and staying home for college and being here,” Carson said. “It’s a triple threat and not every kid can do that. I just thank God for the opportunity.”

Carson added that playing for the hometown Suns would be a “dream come true” for him. He grew up watching Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, and his grandma is a die hard Suns fan.

If that dream is to be a reality though, the Suns will have to like what they see from the 5-foot-10 point guard.

For the better or worse, today was not a first impression for Carson on the Suns staff. General manager Ryan McDonough watched many Arizona State games last season, and Jeff Hornacek has had a personal relationship with Carson going back to his high school days, when Carson played against his son in high school summer league.

Today, Carson showed off his transition game and perhaps surprised the Suns staff with the way he shot the NBA three-ball.

“He would fit well with the pace and tempo that we play at,” McDonough said. “He is good at the open court because we push the ball. He seems like he was in pretty good shape today, and shot the NBA three well in the drills we did, and he had a good show.”

Carson said he has been working on his jump shot in the past few months and felt good about how he shot it during the workout. At Arizona State, Carson averaged 18 points per game in each of his two seasons on campus. Last year he improved his three-point percentage seven points from the 32 percent clip he shot during his sophomore year. His two-point percentage dipped from 47 percent to 43 percent, which ranks him the third-lowest among top-100 collegiate prospects, according to DraftExpress.com.

As a small point guard, Carson needs an effective jump shot, and it sounds like that is not too much of a concern from the Suns brass. Hornacek also mentioned that Carson looked good shooting the ball today.

“He is a point guard that can score,” Hornacek said. “He shot the ball well and when we got up and down, it didn’t look like he ever needed a drink. He just kept running and running and pushing the ball, and that fits our style.”

Carson’s strong transition game could make a match with the Suns a perfect fit. The Arizona State product feels like he will go somewhere in the 25 to 40 range of the draft, which would fit perfectly with the Suns 27th pick in the first round.

That said, his focus is not on where he is drafted. His focus is on showing teams the things he does well. And he feels like he accomplished that with the Suns today. He also showed off the skill he is known most for — his leaps.

“They had a vertical thing again, and I got a 43 and a half again,” Carson said. “I do like to show my athleticism.”

  • Jared3636

    From a completely biased perspective.. I would love to see another local kid in a Suns uniform. But more than that, he has the potential to be a rotational guy at the NBA level that can contribute off the bench. I wouldn’t complain if he was taken 27th.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    5′-10″? Don’t even waste a 2nd rd pick on him.

    • Jared3636

      You really think it would be a waste of a second round pick? I guess the Kings drafting IT in the second round was a waste too huh?

      • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

        What is your point? The Kings have one of the best centers in the game in DeMarcus Cousins. Rudy Gay at SF. A 6′-11″ and 250# former lottery pick at PF. Another lottery pick at SG and Thomas running the show to a grand total of 28 wins this season.

        When was the last time a 5′-10″ PG won a ring as a starter on his team? ’98-’99 Spurs with Avery Johnson who needed Tim Duncan in addition to David Robinson and Sean Elliot to get the job done. The following year K.J. and the Suns sent them packing in the 1st rd. The following year Pops brought in old man Terry Porter to take his place. The year after that the Tony Parker era began as Pops simply gave him the job as a rookie.

        That also happens to be the only time as far as I know that a team won a title with a 5′-10″ PG. I’m not saying the kid cannot play ball, only that the Suns NEED SIZE and this draft is lacking size in quality players meaning the Suns need once again to take a flyer on a BIG in the 2nd rd, not another guard.

        • Jared3636

          I’m not pegging the kid as a starter that will lead us to a championship. I said that he could be a solid rotational guy. Thomas has performed quite well in Sacramento despite overall record.

          I agree that the suns need size and let’s hope that gets addressed in the first round. I was a little carried away saying that Carson could be a good pick at 27.. But for our second rounder I say snatch him up. As long as he continues to improve on his outside shot then he can be a spark plug type player.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Isaiah Thomas has done a fantastic job and was a great selection for a team lacking in PGs. BUT would he have had an opportunity on another team? Probably not. Kings simply haven’t had a quality PG since Mike Bibby. They have gone through at least ten between him and Thomas.

            I’m on board with using the 2nd on Stanford’s Dwight Powell if he is still on the board.

            Ish Smith does a great job in that “spark-plug type of player” role.

          • Jared3636

            If they get Powell then I’m a happy camper too because I saw the guy play and he has plenty to offer. While I do love Ish Smith’s energy and play making, I think that Carson would be an upgrade offensively.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Yeah, he might but I’m in BIG mode. Suns have played “small-ball” way too long. When Markieef is your lone stud BIG…………….