5-on-5: Grading the Suns’ 2014 NBA Draft

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Tyler Ennis (Syracuse) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number eighteen overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Tyler Ennis (Syracuse) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number eighteen overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

We caught up with most of the ValleyoftheSuns crew to gauge the Suns’ haul in the 2014 NBA Draft.

1. How surprised were you that Gary Harris, Rodney Hood and James Young didn’t get taken by Phoenix at 14?

Kevin Zimmerman: Once I read that the Suns had promised Warren and gave it a minute of thought, it made sense. The Suns see Hood and Young as limited shooters, while Warren is a physical and imposing talent they can teach how to shoot. I’ve long been wondering why Harris gets so much love — I think he’s a solid NBA player but doesn’t have as much star potential as people believe.

Scott Chasen: I was fairly surprised when the Suns took T.J. Warren at 14. I was really excited about James Young in particular, heading into the draft, especially with Young’s 7-foot wingspan, rebounding ability for his position and defensive potential. That being said, I don’t think T.J. Warren was a bad pick, but I think that the Suns probably should’ve taken Young or Harris with the 14th pick.

Dave Dulberg: Not all that surprised considering how enamored the Suns’ brass apparently was with Warren’s ability to score the basketball. Even after his first workout in Phoenix, both Jeff Hornacek and Ryan McDonough were effusive in their praise of the NC State small forward.

Ryan Weisert: I was surprised, but I think ultimately the Suns made the right call. Harris was a great two-way player, but I’m not sure how well either aspect of his game will translate given his lack of size and strength. Neither Hood nor Young were as strong or as skilled in the scoring department as Warren. The Suns wanted a scoring wing and took the best one available.

Eric Saar: I was pretty excited seeing Gary Harris fall to the Suns at 14 because we thought he’d go about a few spots earlier, then was quite surprised when they went with Warren instead. I would have been fine with Hood or Young, but was really hoping for Harris.

2. What is your grade and what are your initial thoughts on T.J. Warren at 14?

Kevin Zimmerman: B-plus. He is a player who could help the Suns immediately, but I’m interested to see how creative Jeff Hornacek gets in using him at the elbows and moving off screens. They like how creative he is in the mid-range.

Scott Chasen: I’d give the pick a solid B. T.J. Warren has a tremendous scoring ability and is an underrated rebounder. In fact, in his last 10 games of college, Warren averaged 29.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, while shooting over 59 percent from the floor. However, Warren isn’t going to blow anyone away with his athleticism or quickness, and he isn’t a consistent long range shooter at this point in his career, so he does have a lot of room for improvement.

Dave Dulberg: In my eyes, the pick was a B-minus. Given the selection of Warren, the Suns must be confident that either P.J. Tucker is returning in 2014-15 or a player of Luol Deng’s ilk will be available on the market. Otherwise, I don’t get this. From an offensive standpoint, Warren was as lethal a scorer as anyone in the draft class. And yes, Phoenix has been lacking a true offensive-minded small forward for quite some time. But defensively, he has a ways to go.

Ryan Weisert: I give it a B-plus because I’m only 88 percent sure that Warren will be able to score at this level. At that position in the draft, teams are unlikely to find a franchise-altering player, so in that case, I prefer guys with at least one elite skill like Warren. Warren is a slasher with a great midrange game, and I think the Suns can use him right away as an off the bench scoring punch.

Eric Saar: I give T.J. Warren a solid B. He will give the Suns a good post threat and the ability to score in the half-court. Phoenix seems to think he has more upside than other similar players that were available at that time in the draft, and they picked him for the future.

3. What is your grade and what are your initial thoughts on Tyler Ennis at 18?

Kevin Zimmerman: Solid B. While he may not have the upside athletically, I think they take Ennis because he could turn into a very productive player considering his role. Steve Nash didn’t need certain things to be great, and while I don’t think Ennis is Nash 2.0, I do think he will have similar success because he’s similarly savvy.

Scott Chasen: This pick was a B-minus for me. When Tyler Ennis was selected I was initially surprised, especially considering that Clint Capela was still on the board. However, Ennis possesses a maturity well beyond his years, which allowed him to lead the ACC in assists at the age of 19. Like Warren, Ennis isn’t the greatest athlete, but his overall ability and basketball IQ makes him a great prospect (although it remains to be seen what his role with the Suns will be).

Dave Dulberg: This pick bothered me less than the selection of Warren, actually, although Shabazz Napier seemed like a more ready-made fit. For that, it deserves nothing higher than a B.

While Ish Smith did an admirable job as a back-up point guard in 2013-14, he doesn’t have the skill set Ennis comes into the league with. Although he still needs to add some polish to his three-point shot, Ennis provides the Suns with depth off the bench right away. Both he and Archie Goodwin could be interchangeable parts in the rotation, allowing Hornacek to spell Bledsoe (if he re-signs) or Goran Dragic in ways he wasn’t able to just a season ago.

Ryan Weisert: I give it a C-plus. I can see not taking Harris at 14, but passing on him at 18 could come back to hurt the Suns if he turns into a great shooter/capable defender. Ennis has mountains of intangibles, but I don’t see him as anything more than a guy who can run the second unit effectively at an undetermined point in the future. All that said, the Suns do have a proud history with Canadian point guards.

Eric Saar: I give Ennis an A-minus. He is a different kind of guard than either Dragic or Bledsoe, more of a pass-first player. I think Ennis’ skill set perfectly complements Archie Goodwin’s. The two of them will make a fantastic back-up backcourt, making it easier on the other two guards. Now the ball won’t stop when they go sit on the bench. If one of them doesn’t HAVE to be in the lineup with the reserves it saves them for crunch time.

4. How do you think Bogdan Bogdonavic will contribute when he comes over in a few years?

Kevin Zimmerman: Just learning about him a bit, it appears that he would be quite similar to Dragic within the offense. He’s a pretty good shooter and at 6-foot-6 with pretty good athleticism can slash to create plays for himself or for his teammates.

Scott Chasen: Bogdan Bogdanović is an interesting pick because of his length and his ability to shoot from long range. Bogdanović is 6’6″ with a 6’11” wingspan, and he uses his length to get into passing lanes to force turnovers, despite the fact that he isn’t a great defender yet. Many see Bogdanović ultimately developing into a “3 and D guy,” which could really help the Suns when he joins them in a couple of years.

Dave Dulberg: As McDonough said Thursday, Bogdanovic has the potential to be an NBA rotation guy. It’s hard to disagree. At 6-foot-6, he’s a terrific slasher, confident spot-up shooter and also brings perimeter defender. The Serbian guard has great positional size and a savviness to his game at the offensive end. Every bench unit needs a playmaker, and he could be just that for Phoenix 2-5 years from now.

Ryan Weisert: There’s really no way to know at this point. Bogdonavic is playing for a European team which has produced some great players over the years, but success for a squad like that is no guarantee of success in the NBA. He is young, he’s an entire ocean away, and there’s no guarantee he’ll ever wear a Phoenix uniform. The best I can say is that he’s an asset with a good chance to appreciate in value.

Eric Saar: From the little I know of Bogdanovic, he will be able to provide insurance to bolster the roster in case the Suns lose a player in the next couple years to free agency, or if they have to give up a lot to get a superstar.

5. How much of an impact will the rookies have next year for the Suns?

Kevin Zimmerman: Warren actually might have a tougher time getting minutes. He’s pretty much locked into playing small forward and wouldn’t get much opportunity unless the Suns can’t retain P.J. Tucker. I actually see Ennis having more opportunity. Even if the Suns somehow keep their current backcourt together, injuries forced Archie Goodwin into action and led to the necessity of the Leandro Barbosa signing.

Scott Chasen: Ennis is the most interesting rookie to me, because he has a chance to make a sizable impact should the Suns decide to trade Goran Dragic or let Eric Bledsoe sign elsewhere. However, Ennis could also see the a lack of playing time depending on how the summer goes for the Suns. I think T.J. Warren has the best chance to make an impact with his outstanding scoring ability, although I don’t believe either rookie will be too involved at the beginning of the year.

Dave Dulberg: Ennis and Warren have the potential to get 15-20 minutes per game depending on how quickly they adapt to the speed of the game and also depending how the roster shakes out over the next few months. It’s hard to predict impact when considering that both Bledsoe and Tucker may or may not be wearing a Suns’ uniform next year. If the duo does return, look for Warren to have a bigger impact than Ennis. He might be a one-way player at the moment, but it’s hard to believe his scoring prowess won’t translate to the NBA.

Ryan Weisert: The rookies will definitely make an impact. I can see Ennis and Warren coming of the bench and forming a nice little offensive tandem in the second unit. There will be plenty of competition for minutes no matter what deals are made in the offseason, but Warren and Ennis are both talented and mentally strong by all accounts, so they should have an opportunity to contribute.

Eric Saar:  Unless a big trade goes down, I see Ennis playing a bigger part in the rotation. It seems like he’ll replace Ish Smith as the backup point guard from the get-go. He’ll provide playmaking for the second unit. Warren will be the beneficiary making plays in the half-court, scoring inside.

6. Do you think any of them get traded?

Kevin Zimmerman- Nope. I think the rookies would have been traded on draft night. Unless the inclusion of a rookie would make or break a big trade for Kevin Love, I don’t see it happening.

Scott Chasen: If there was a trade, Tyler Ennis seems like the rookie that would be on the move. The Suns already possess a loaded backcourt, and a few other teams had previously expressed interest in drafting Ennis, including Toronto and New York. TNT’s David Aldridge and ESPN’s Chad Ford even reported that the Raptors might take Capela at 22, in order to trade him to the Suns (for Ennis), but that speculation ended when they drafted Bruno Cabocio instead. As of now, I don’t expect a trade to happen, but there is certainly a chance that Tyler Ennis could be on the move in the near future.

Dave Dulberg: No trades are coming out of these picks. The Suns did exactly what they should have with three first-round picks. With no better options on the table via the trade, McDonough selected two college prospects who could have an impact in 2014-15 and used the other pick on a draft-and-stash option. Toronto seemed to be very high on Ennis, but if a deal was to be made for the former Orange guard it would have been done on Draft Night.

Ryan Weisert: Y-E-S. One thing we’ve learned about Ryan McDonough is that he is ALWAYS scheming for deals to be made. Most people thought the Suns would move at least one if not all of their first round picks in this draft. Despite the fact that those picks are now tangible players, McDonough is no doubt willing to move them in any deal which he deems will make the Suns better.

Eric Saar: I think Bogdanovic could be included in a blockbuster trade, but I think Ennis and Warren are here to stay. Ennis and Warren complement this Suns squad so well they probably won’t be shipped out.