Phoenix Suns: Addressing Areas Of Need In The Draft

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as the names of the first round draft picks are displayed above the stage during the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as the names of the first round draft picks are displayed above the stage during the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

In the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns will need to bolster their rebounding, interior defense and interior scoring, most likely with a power forward. I know. Your mind is completely and totally blown in this moment.

But aside from stating the obvious, it’s worth mentioning that the Suns do have other areas of need as well. Don’t forget that after the All-Star break, Phoenix became one of the top five rebounding teams in the NBA after moving Marcus Morris into the starting lineup.

That change in the starting rotation came about because of Brandon Knight‘s ankle injury, but with a healthy Alex Len, the potential for owning (or at least competing on) the glass is there.

Bearing that in mind, don’t be surprised if — when commissioner Adam Silver announces the Phoenix Suns’ first round draft pick in about seven weeks — it’s not your prototypical power forward who likes to bang bodies in the paint.

Now, before I send Suns fans into a state of manic depression, we should clarify: there’s a good chance the Suns do take that route. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris now that they’ve been charged with a felony aggravated assault, but people were suggesting packaging the Morrii in a blockbuster trade before this incident ever came up.

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We might have a better idea where this is going after May 7 (the Morrii’s first court date), but for the time being, we don’t know what the future holds. In that respect, general manager Ryan McDonough has to be extra careful, and adding a little depth at the power forward or small forward position should be in order.

After all, it was McDonough himself who said during exit day interviews that this team needs more rebounding and more size down low. Again, I’m sure your mind is completely and totally blown.

But as the draft nears, it’s important to keep in mind that the Suns’ first round selection (likely at the No. 13 slot) might not fit fans’ ideal picture of what this team needs. There are a number of talented big men in this draft, but depending on who’s available, the Suns may surprise some people with their pick.

Unlike the NFL Draft, the general principle of the NBA Draft is you’re supposed to pick the best available player and avoid drafting by need. That theme becomes less prevalent with each passing pick, but the Suns do have other areas they need to improve, particularly with their perimeter shooting.

We’ll get into more details about each individual prospect in the coming weeks, but Devin Booker is one player that’s already being mentioned as a good fit in Phoenix. A 6’6″ wing, Booker was an elite three-point marksman for Kentucky this past season, and even though there’d be a logjam at the 3 with P.J. Tucker, T.J. Warren and Marcus Morris, most folks would agree this team can’t win a championship with Tucker starting at small forward.

If Phoenix opts to improve by drafting a new small forward, it could be an unfortunate hindrance to Warren’s development. But prospects like Sam Dekker or R.J. Hunter could be in play as well, especially if the Suns do wind up trying to trade the Morris twins.

In terms of big men, the Suns would love (and need) a stretch four. Trey Lyles of Kentucky fits the bill, but he’s a little raw. Frank Kaminsky would be a great backup power forward/center for his basketball intellect, his positive attitude and his ability to spread the floor, but can he defend at the NBA level?

Myles Turner is an excellent shot blocker, but there’s a good chance he’s not even on the board by the time the Suns pick. Bobby Portis from Arkansas is another good theoretical fit, as is Montrezl Harrell. The point is, the Suns will have options with this pick. They still need perimeter shooting, they need an upgrade at small forward and they need insurance in the event of a Morris twins trade.

Hell, as much as this probably stings to hear, the Suns might be needing a backup point guard as well.

A lot of those needs can be addressed in free agency or with a Morris twins trade. But until the NBA Draft Combine begins and we start to get a clearer picture, don’t be surprised if you do hear a name on draft day that doesn’t fit the prototypical low-post bruiser power forward build.

Next: Phoenix Suns: 2014-15 Player Grades

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