Dirt workers may be available in Round 2


With all the attention on the Suns’ upcoming lottery pick, Phoenix’s two second-round picks often go unnoticed.  Although the Suns haven’t had a second-round pick of note in the last decade, the 48th and 57th picks this year should very well improve the Suns’ roster due to the depth at the back end of this draft class.

It is a shot in the dark as to who will be on the board late in the second round, but with the talent pool as balanced as it is, there is certain to be value at the bottom of this year’s draft.

As I did earlier for the Suns’ lottery possibilities, I chose some guys who could be available late in the second round who have the potential to make an impact on the court in the very near future. 

My list is as follows:

Jeff Adrien – PF Connecticut

2005-06: 6.5 ppg, 5.0 rebs, .8 blks, 61 FG%, 16.5 min

2006-07: 13.1 ppg, 9.7 rebs, 1.4 blks, 50 FG%, 33.1 min

2007-08: 14.8 ppg, 9.1 rebs, 1.2 blks, 50 FG%, 33.8 min

2008-09: 13.6 ppg, 9.9 rebs, 1.2 blk, 51 FG%, 34.6 min

Strengths:  Jeff Adrien is Mr. Durable.  He plays with an intensity that will translate into leadership for any team he plays for.  Although he may seem undersized at 6-foot-6, his 7-2 wingspan suggests otherwise.  He is rock solid at 235 pounds and with 16 reps on the bench press at the combine under his belt.  He is also a terrific rebounder, has a nose for the ball and possesses tons of major college experience, having played over 130 collegiate games under Jim Calhoun.

Weaknesses: He has an unpolished offensive game and limited jump shot. He is not good with the ball in his hands and needs to improve upon ball security.  Although his wingspan is enormous, he will be somewhat limited by his height at the next level.  He’s also not exactly a leaper, with a 31.5 inch vertical.

NBA Comparison: Paul Millsap

What he brings to the Suns?

Adrien brings a physicality and toughness that the notoriously soft Suns have been lacking.  He has an NBA-ready body and would be able to come in and defend bigs and rebound right away.  He plays with a lot of intensity and passion, which could easily translate to an energetic second unit. Adrien is a garbage man a la Lou Amundson, something the Suns need more of.

Tyrese Rice – PG Boston College

2005-06: 9.3 ppg, 2.5 ast, 2.1 TOs, .7 stl, 43 FG%, 39 3P%, 20.8 min

2006-07: 17.6 ppg, 5.4 ast, 3.3 TOs, 1.2 stl, 46 FG%, 32 3P%, 36.6 min

2007-08: 21.0 ppg, 5.0 ast, 3.4 TOs, 1.6 stl, 43 FG%, 36 3P%, 38.1 min

2008-09: 16.9 ppg, 5.3 ast, 3.8 TOs, 1.4 stl, 41 FG%, 35 3P%, 33.4 min

Strengths: Tyrese Rice is a natural scorer.  Rice is explosive with his quickness and ability to get to the hoop.  He loves to attack the rim and finish with an array of difficult shots.  He is a good ball handler and thrives in the open court. He is also a solid playmaker and passer and a win-first player who was the unquestioned leader at BC.

Weaknesses: Rice is not necessarily a “true” point guard.  He needs to improve upon his decision-making (3.8 TOs) as he forces the issue too often. He is small for an NBA point guard at 6-0, 190 lbs.  He is not a very good perimeter defender, though he has the quickness to be great.  His jump shot is shaky at best and he needs to extend his range to the NBA three-point line.

NBA Comparison: Aaron Brooks

What he brings to the Suns?

Rice brings another fresh body to spell the aging Steve Nash.  In contrast to Goran Dragic, Rice loves to attack the basket, racking up most of his points in the paint.  He would serve as a playmaker for a second unit made up mostly of role players.  If Dragic is not the long-term answer, Rice has the potential to be a starting point guard in the NBA.  Think of the speed and quickness in a Rice-Barbosa backcourt of the future … scary.

Jon Brockman – PF Washington

2005-06: 8.4 ppg, 6.5 rebs, 1.4 TOs, 52 FG%, 24.1 min

2006-07: 14.2 ppg, 9.6 rebs, 2.6 TOs, 55 FG%, 28.8 min

2007-08: 17.8 ppg, 11.6 rebs, 2.4 TOs, 54 FG%, 31.5 min

2008-09: 14.9 ppg, 11.5 rebs, 1.9 TOs, 53 FG%, 30.5 min

Strengths: Brockman is a big body, at 6-7 and 255 pound, made for rebounding the basketball (six 18-rebound games his senior season).  He is a solid post defender due to his mass and quickness and plays with a lot of hustle and energy. He is a good finisher around the hoop and has solid leaping ability.  He has played over 130 games in four years at Washington and is thus very experienced. He is simply a workhorse down low.

Weaknesses: Brockman has absolutely no outside jumper and has limited post moves.  He is undersized for an NBA power forward and does not make up for it in wingspan (6-7). He has trouble staying out of foul trouble and is not a shot blocker, averaging no more than .3 blocks per game in his four years at Washington.

NBA Comparison: Chuck Hayes

What he brings to the Suns?

Brockman brings toughness, hustle, and energy to the Phoenix Suns.  A lot like Adrien, Brockman would be able to come in right away and play minutes off of the bench for Alvin Gentry.  He has an NBA body and is very seasoned.  He can defend bigs and clear the ball off the glass with the best of them.  The Suns are very thin up front, and Brockman would bring much needed depth and toughness at the power forward position.

More names on the Suns’ radar:

Danny Green – SF North Carolina

A.J. Price – PG Connecticut

Micah Downs – SG Gonzaga

Robert Dozier – SF Memphis

Daniel Hackett – SG USC

Jeff Pendergraph – PF ASU

Barring any trades, the Suns lineup could look a lot like this next season:

PG – Nash/Dragic/Rice

SG – Richardson/Barbosa/Tucker

SG – Hill/Clark/Dudley

PF – Stoudemire/Adrien/Amundson

C – Shaq/Lopez

It is extremely difficult to draft two players in the second round that can come in and play quality minutes as a rookie.  But because of the depth of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns have a chance to do exactly that.

As a skill player is mostly on the horizon for the Suns at 14, garbage men like Adrien and Brockman would be perfect fits for the notoriously soft Suns. If a point guard the caliber of Tyrese Rice is available late in the second round, the Suns would have to be all over it.

Although the Suns may not snag a franchise player with their 48th and 57th picks, they have the chance to add some nice pieces that will have a chance to play productive minutes for the Suns as early as next season. Look for names like Adrien, Rice and Brockman come June 25.