PHOENIX — Not only was the Suns’ workout on Monday the most talented group of players Phoenix has run through its up-tempo gamut. It was perhaps a six-pack of players the Suns could draft if they stand pat with the 14th and 18th overall picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.
“We did a little extra scrimmaging, an extra couple minutes just to get a good look at it,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Had a lot of guys who could shoot it. Guys didn’t look like they got tired very much. Even the bigs kept running.”
The workout included combo guards Gary Harris and Zach LaVine, wings James Young and Rodney Hood, and two undersold big men — LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Swiss forward Clint Capela.
About those perimeter players though…
“Obviously with Goran (Dragic) and Eric (Bledsoe), there’s going to be shots out there,” Hornacek said. “Teams really have to focus on those guys. Our bigs roll hard to the basket. If you’re a wing player and you like to shoot the ball, I’d think you’d like to be here. Those guys with their spot-up ability, they did it in college, working with the line being a little bit longer, they showed good three-point shooting there.”
Harris might be the best two-way player of the group. McDonough said that in researching his two seasons at Michigan State, the Suns learned that injury issues might have hampered Harris during his sophomore season where he averaged 16.7 points and 2.7 assists per game — his shooting dipped from 46 to 43 percent from freshman to sophomore year.
LaVine could be the most raw, and he’s slotted by some mock drafts to go right around the Suns’ 14th pick. At UCLA, he came off the bench as a freshman and didn’t grow into as big of a role player as, say, Young did in his single year at Kentucky.
[RELATED: Zach LaVine's NBA Draft profile]
“In college I didn’t really get to play the point guard position,” LaVine said. “I’ve been working a lot on my reads, how the defender plays you, what pass to make and the right time to score, so definitely working on some of my point guard skills. Being consistent on defense, more active on the ball. Feel like I have the tools to be a good defender.”
Hornacek said LaVine’s athleticism combined with his jump shot exude some of the same get-out-of-a-jam qualities as the Suns’ Gerald Green displayed this past season. He added that LaVine showed quality decision-making with pocket passes in pick-and-roll situations.
Hood and Young might have two of the sweetest strokes for wings in the 2014 draft, and both have the length to be able to shoot over close-outs. Both averaged better than two assists per 40 minutes and through draft workouts hope they can show their ability to work off the bounce, either getting to the rim or setting up their teammates.
“That’s what I’ve been working on these past few weeks,” Young said, “just really getting stronger, working on my core and just attacking the basket.”
Suns fans have been clamoring for Phoenix to shore up its wing position if it keeps its mid-first round picks. Monday gave them a better idea of what their options are, but there were also two intriguing bigs that might be worth reaching for with the 14th or 18th pick.
McDonough, however, isn’t showing his hand — if he even knows what he has to deal with.
“Guys played very well,” he said. “You see the talent, you see the potential. We had some good positional battles, especially the four perimeter guys — pretty interchangeable.”