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Suns Draft: Anyone but…


Here at ValleyoftheSuns we have spent so much time analyzing who the Suns SHOULD consider picking 14th overall, but what about who the Suns SHOULDN’T have on their draft board?

Every year a couple of scrubs sneak into the top 15 or 20 of the draft, leading a number of coaches and GM’s to “drink the cool-aid” and select their future busts.

In the team’s draft history, the Suns have seen their fair share of draft day duds.

A few picks the Suns wish they had back: William Bedford (6th, 1986), Zarko Cabarkapa (17th, 2003), Casey Jacobsen (22nd, 2002), and Jake Tsakalidis (25th, 2000).

Luckily the Suns have yet to catch Sam Bowie Syndrome, but they still need to keep a watchful eye for potential busts when analyzing this year’s draft prospects.

After looking at past draft day busts and analyzing their basketball makeup, it is clear that there are certain ways that these players are categorized heading into the draft.  These categories are as follows:

The “raw talent”

  • E.G. Kwame Brown (1st), Stromile Swift (2nd), Jonathan Bender (5th), Eddy Curry (4th), Mouhamed Saer Sene (10th).

The international standout

  • E.G. Darko Milicic (2nd), Rafael Araujo (8th), Nikoloz Tskitishvili (5th), Fran Vazquez (11th), Yaroslav Korolev (12th).

The collegiate star

  • E.G. Dajuan Wagner (6th), Mike Dunleavy Jr. (3rd), Josh Childress (6th), Adam Morrison (3rd), Luke Jackson (10th).

If Steve Kerr hopes to have a productive draft, and maybe even save his job, he needs to look out for the raw talent, international standout, and collegiate superstar as he continues to evaluate the draft class.

As I took a closer look at this year’s draft class I noticed some players who clearly fit the future bust mold. With the future bust categories in mind, the players the Suns need to avoid come draft day are as follows:

The “raw” talent:

BJ Mullens – C Ohio State: Mullens was at one point ranked the No. 1 high school player in the country.  Since he made the jump to the collegiate ranks Mullens has yet to live up to his No. 1 ranking. 

In one year at Ohio State, Mullens averaged a not-so-impressive 8.8 ppg, 4.7 rebs, 1.1 blk, while shooting 64 percent from the field. Mullens had seven games with less than five points and posted a season high of only 19 points.  Mullens is nowhere near the rebounder his stature suggests, recording only one double-digit rebounding game.

The big man has good skills, but he lacks a go-to move and is unable to create his own shot. Against defenders just as big and athletic, Mullens will surely struggle and has NBA bust written all over him.  Unfortunately David Griffin is very high on this kid, but hopefully someone can steer him in the right direction before June 25.

Jrue Holiday – PG UCLA: Yes, he played out of position at UCLA, and yes, his numbers may be skewed, but I just don’t see the lottery pick potential.  What is this guy THAT good at? He is not an exceptional scorer (8.5 ppg), not a superb passer (3.7 ast), not a standout rebounder (3.8 rebs), and not a knockdown shooter (30.7 3P percent).  Holiday is a tremendous defender, but when was the last time a lottery pick was taken solely because he was a great perimeter defender? Never.

Holiday is very quick and will most likely have a solid NBA career, but is he a lottery pick? Absolutely not. Holiday has nice size for his position 6-4, 200 and a 6-7 wingspan but what is his position? Scouts seem to think Holiday will have an easy transition to the point, but I am not convinced. I have seen Holiday in mock drafts as high as fourth, but if he is available at 14 the Suns will hopefully pass on the overhyped underperformer. 

The international standout:

Omri Casspi – SF Israel: Casspi is long, athletic, and confident, yet he is not ideal for the NBA game. While Casspi is an excellent slasher, he is not a great ball-handler, has limited range, cannot create his own shot, and is rail thin (two bench press reps).  To be successful in the NBA you need to be able to create your own shot or create for others, both things that Casspi lacks.  He is exciting to watch and plays very hard, but he simply lacks the necessary skills to be a successful small forward in today’s NBA game.

The collegiate superstar:

Tyler Hansbrough – PF North Carolina: At UNC Hansbrough was a man-child, playing with more intensity than everyone else and working harder than everyone else.  There is no questioning his heart and determination, but his potential is limited.  North Carolina’s new all-time leading scorer will lead a productive NBA career, but he will never be a franchise player.  He will never be able to follow his illustrious college career with an illustrious NBA career simply because of his ceiling.

He is slightly undersized at his position (6-9) and should be rated just higher than guys like Jeff Adrien and Jon Brockman.  Why would teams spend a top 15 pick on a guy they could essentially get in the second round? If the Suns want a Lou Amundson+ than they should take Hansbrough, but if they want a potential All-star, they should shy away from the UNC star.

Chase Budinger – SG/SF Arizona: The questions with Chase have always been his toughness, leadership and killer instinct.  The athletic ability is clearly there 38.5-inch vert but can he translate his athleticism and skills to the mental aspect of the game?

I firmly believe that Budinger’s shooting ability, basketball IQ, and athleticism will land him a very productive NBA career … as a role player.  Unlike Hansbrough, Budinger does have the potential to be an All-Star, but I’m not sure he has the confidence and mentality to make that happen.  I see Budinger as Brent Barry+ and nothing more, and drafting a good role player in the lottery is a mistake, period.

Draft busts have diminished drastically as technology and scouting continues to improve.  However there are still those few players atop draft boards that have no business being there.

If Steve Kerr hopes to avoid the draft day bust that can haunt a franchise for decades, he needs to look beyond the raw talent, international standout, and collegiate superstar.