NBA Draft Combine 2014: On Doug McDermott and other Suns ‘problems’


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Phoenix Suns’ version of White People Problems.

Even though they are coming into the 2014 NBA Draft Combine with a lot of options and three first-round picks, the Suns will be victims of the market — although, unlike other teams, they have the ability to move up or down the draft. Rising stock could put a targeted player out of the Suns’ range, and falling stock could give them a shot at a player considered to have high-lottery talent.

Phoenix’s place in the market is unique.

The Suns shouldn’t have anything to complain about, but if the status quo remains, they sit at the fringe of where potential superstars are hard to find but sure-fire role players are expected. Especially in a relatively strong draft, Phoenix will have intriguing options with the 14th and even the 18th pick.

With Day 2 of the NBA Draft Combine on-court action closing up shop, here’s a look at a few players that are playing themselves out of the Suns’ mid-first-round range with both good and bad combine appearances, and a peek at those who could be moving into Phoenix’s range — or, rather, falling into it.

Rising stock

Nik Stauskas: The Michigan Wolverines point guard came in with the size, an elite shooting stroke and flashes of playmaking skills out of the pick-and-roll that could make him a mid first-round pick. But after measuring out very well as a big point guard, he surprised with a decent 35.5 max vertical and a 10.79 second lane agility drill that might suggest he’s more than fine from the athletic side of things. In Phoenix’s perspective, this might not be the best thing. A few mock drafts list Stauskas as going 14th to the Suns, but he might be inching his way up the lottery. The only nick to Stauskas’ resume was his 12 percent body fat, but that seems like it’s being written off.

Rodney Hood: While Stauskas’ rising stock could hurt his chances of landing in Phoenix, Hood’s could help his. The Duke swingman, who was projected to go in the 20s, might be worth a look for the Suns with one of their first two picks, because his combine makes it look less likely he falls to Phoenix’s 27th selection. Go through the shooting drills and you’ll find Hood did himself a lot of good on Wednesday. Overall, he hit 69 percent of his shots and had the fourth-best performance. In general, he was most impressive scoring on the move and of the dribble.

If the Suns keep their 14th and 18th picks, selecting a wing player could come down to Hood, Kentucky’s James Young, Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels or N.C. State’s T.J. Warren. Unlike McDaniels, who hit 50 percent of his shots overall, or Warren, who didn’t participate, Hood and Young wouldn’t need to learn how to shoot.

Zach LaVine: Though he is going to label himself as a point guard, LaVine not only measured out like an NBA shooting guard but displayed a 41.5 inch vertical leap on top of a 6-foot-8.25 wingspan. ESPN’s Chad Ford said he was the best athlete on the floor — not surprising — which could help him move into the lottery despite his underwhelming production at UCLA as a freshman. It’s still very unclear where LaVine will go, but it’s possible he is selected ahead of the Suns’ 14th pick if things keep going his way.

Falling stock

Doug McDermott : McDermott might still be considered a lottery pick, but his questionable defensive abilities leading into the combine won’t go well with his measurements. He was listed at 6-foot-6.5 without shoes and had a 6-foot-9.25 wingspan at 218 pounds. Those are small forward measurements, which is bad news for a player who is slow afoot but not strong enough to play the 4. Per Sporting News:

"“You know, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder, and if you think you can envision a role for him, then you would use a lottery pick on him, because he has so much talent,” one team executive told Sporting News. “But those numbers were not good. They were potentially disastrous. You really wanted to be able to play him at the 4 some, you know, to fake it in some small lineups. I don’t think you can even do that.”"

McDermott also didn’t go through any drills, which is a perfect example of why lottery players don’t participate. It could only hurt him. The good news: McDermott is one player who could potentially fall, and the Suns would at least have to think about bringing on the draft’s best shooter, even though general manager Ryan McDonough has history of targeting players who are more physically unique.

Gary Harris: At last season’s combine, Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore was considered small at 6-foot-3.5 in socks. His 6-foot-7.75 wingspan wasn’t too impressive either, but he did have an elite 42-inch vertical leap. Harris likewise comes into the 2014 combine as an undersized shooting guard; he was only 6-foot-2.75 in socks and turned in a 6-foot-6.75 wingspan. Harris didn’t go through drills, and his stock could also be falling into the Suns’ range.