PHOENIX — Lance Blanks’ session with the media on Monday provided more questions than answers. In other words, it was exactly what one might expect from an interview with a general manager three days before the draft.
The Suns could trade out if they don’t like anybody at 13, or they could add a pick later because they understand they need youth. The Suns are targeting a wing who can score due to obvious roster deficiencies in that area but they might take a point guard due to the utter importance of that position and Steve Nash’s pending free agency or even a big like Arnett Moultrie (who worked for the team for a second time this weekend).
Even the second workout is something of a smoke screen in that a player not brought back a second time may have already shown everything they needed to prove themselves worthy of the No. 13 selection whereas a second-time visitor may be back, as Blanks put it, because “it never hurts to get a second look.
“It’s just all part of the process,” he said. “You don’t want to have regrets when you make these decisions, so you want to make sure you’ve seen everything that you can see. Once you make the pick you can’t turn back.”
My gut says the Suns are targeting a wing like Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross, Jeremy Lamb or Austin Rivers, and they could be in the market for Kendall Marshall as well if he falls to them.
Common sense would dictate that Moultrie does not make sense for a team stacked (depth-wise if not in terms of talent) in the front court or that they would only make a play for Marshall if they do not expect to re-sign Nash.
But Blanks even shot down that bit of conventional wisdom by saying most of the draftees are “long-term situations” that must be developed, not immediate Band-Aids for pressing issues.
“You go through what I call if-then scenarios,” Blanks said. “If this happens then we’ll do this. Right now we’re overly focused on this draft because we want to hit it right. If that means a duplication at a spot, so be it, because at the end of the day you want to have talented players and guys that can make it in this league and contribute to your roster.
“That’s better than going away from a position where you already have depth or have an opportunity through free agency and you end up with a player who can’t play in the league or is just not good enough. I think you’ve got to really not in an overly way, but you want to stay focused on the draft and the level of the talent so you don’t make a bad selection.”
That’s good to hear because the last thing you want out of a late lottery pick is to end up with Earl Clark.
What we know is that the Suns have plenty of potential alternatives when No. 13 comes on the clock, many that we have analyzed and some that probably will come out of nowhere (like Kawhi Leonard slipping last year).
The Suns plan on being prepared for all of those situations and then trusting their draft board.
A Wages of Wins cheat sheet
Last season the Suns got superb value in the draft, according to Arturo Galletti’s draft ranking system based on projected Wins Produced, as Markieff Morris ranked as the sixth overall prospect behind studs like Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Leonard as well as rookie surprise Kenneth Faried (of course Keef bombed in the Hollinger Draft Rater).
Arturo released his rankings for this draft, and none of the presumed candidates for the Suns’ 13th pick rank too well on his list.
As is the case with every rating system for this particular draft, Anthony Davis tops the list by a wide margin (his average predicted WP48 of 0.192 laps the field) and presumed top-10 picks Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard rank as elite as well.
Jae Crowder amazingly ranks second, Jared Sullinger ninth and Scott Machado (a potential point guard pick if the Suns trade into the second round) 15th.
As for the players the Suns have been linked to, Dion Waiters sits 22nd with a projected average WP48 of 0.059, Jeremy Lamb ranks 25th with a WP48 of 0.053, Terrence Ross 30th with a 0.049 and Kendall Marshall 32nd with a 0.041.
As we learned last week, the Wages of Wins guys really do not like Austin Rivers or Perry Jones, and that showed up in these results as well. Rivers ranks 62nd with a projected 0.013 WP48, and not to be out done Jones is 65th with a 0.010. Harrison Barnes and Meyers Leonard rank even lower.
Lopez the GM selects…
Robin Lopez played the role of Suns GM in an ESPN Magazine mock draft with players selecting for their particular teams (although Lopez will be a restricted free agent this summer).
FroLo had a relatively easy job as Syracuse guard Dion Waiters fell to him.
Said Lopez of his pick, “We need a guy who can provide instant offense, a guy who can take the ball in his hands and score on his terms from the perimeter. We just didn’t have anyone quite like that coming off the bench this year.”
Nash’s Showdown in Chinatown set for tonight
Steve Nash will host his fifth annual Showdown in Chinatown Wednesday night in New York City.
The Showdown traditionally sports Nash, fellow NBA players and soccer studs in a fun-filled game for charity. The game, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side, will benefit the Steve Nash Foundation’s “work to increase access to high-quality early learning services to children through Educare.”
“Getting to play in New York City with so many friends and players I admire, and having the event reach so many kids through my Foundation really makes Showdown my favorite event,” Nash said in a release. “Our sponsors have been incredible in letting us build on what we offer to fans; that so companies and athletes give of their time and energy to come out is something I always appreciate, and we’re looking forward to the best year yet.”
Two Time tweeted that soccer stars Thierry Henry and Claudio Reyna will be among the Showdown players for this year’s game.
Nash is sure to be hit with a barrage of questions from New York reporters about his pending free agency on July 1. He already told Stephen A. Smith, “It sounds like a company line, but my situation really right now is I’m open to everything, and I will definitely look at every situation that comes my way on Sunday, and I’m not going to close myself to any opportunities.”
- Paul Coro on the possibility of a Waiters promise: “Whether the term ‘promise,’ ‘soft promise’ or ‘Facebook like’ was used for Waiters, the Suns definitely expressed their strong interest in Waiters. Too many people inside the league are telling a similar story and citing a close enough tie to make it sound legitimate. It would be silly for the Suns to give Waiters a straight promise. At No. 13, there is no telling who could unexpectedly slip and change their minds.” That’s exactly how I feel about this as well.
- Coro also reported that the Suns will tender offers to restricted free agents Robin Lopez and Aaron Brooks, as Lon Babby previously said they would. This part of the process is a no-brainer, the question now is whether either player will get an offer that the Suns would be dumb to match.