Phoenix Suns Draft Big Board 1.0

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA Draft is only days away. There’s no doubt that the Phoenix Suns have a well developed big board at this point.  While players like Malik Monk have obvious skills, they wouldn’t have an obvious fit for the Suns.  This makes prioritizing players a difficult task.

We would love to have the chance to go behind the scenes to see how the Suns have crafted their board.  The team’s leadership says that their board is best available, but that’s almost always a generality while the reality is that their board is a combination of the best available player who might actually get to play.  We can’t see the board, but we can take our best guess at what it would look like if someone put us in charge.  For version 1.0, we will focus on the top 10 players.  And so, here’s our take on what the Suns board should look like:

Fultz is the best two way player of the draft, period.  Teams have spent months trying to find a weakness and the best they seem to have found is that sometimes he makes it look so easy that they’re not sure he’s trying.  That’s what we call a clear-cut #1 pick.  He’s the top of every board.  He’d be a killer backcourt partner to Booker and force the Suns to trade Bled for more assets.

Basketball is a two way sport.  Lonzo Ball might end up being the 2nd overall pick, but he’s not the 2nd best overall player in this draft.  That honor belongs to Josh Jackson.  Jackson is a cold-blooded killer with immense competitive drive.   He’d be a great fit next to Booker and an upgrade over TJ Warren.

De’Aaron Fox might end up being the best all around point guard in this draft.  His ability to play elite defense sets him apart from the competition.  He doesn’t have a jump shot today, but he can let Booker handle the shooting for now while he grows into the role.  He’s got the right personality and we all know Ryan loves a good Kentucky point guard.

Jayson Tatum is a risky pick for the Suns.  His isolation based offense may not pair well with the way the team likes to play.  That said, he’s the most polished scorer in this draft and the Suns love buckets.  They’ve struggled for years to find a closer.  With Tatum in the mix, they’d now have two.  Booker, Tatum, and Chris would form a nice young starting core to work from.

I’m not trying to pick on Lonzo, but his defense is just as bad as Bookers.  He doesn’t make sense on this team right now unless they think they’re going to simply outscore everyone.  It would be extremely fun to watch for a few years, but when it’s time to compete for a real prize, a Ball/Booker backcourt wont’ be able to stop anyone.  Not an ideal fit.

Zach has all the skills to be the perfect center in the Suns system.  He can run the floor, he can shoot the deep ball, and he is an outstanding defender.  We just haven’t seen it enough against high level competition, specifically larger competition, to know if it’ll translate to the NBA.  If it does, this spot is too low.  But since, you can’t know the unknowable, this fits well.

Similar to Collins, it’s just not clear with Issac brings to the table.  He has all the right physical tools, but it’s not clear whether or not that will translate into NBA competition.  Do the Suns really need another player similar to Chriss and Bender?  Probably not, but the potential is so high is justifies his position here.

Dennis Smith is an outstanding point guard.  He’d be an ideal replacement for Bledsoe.  He’s high energy, vocal, and mean spirited.  His fit on the team isn’t ideal, but his leadership would be.  He isn’t a superstar, but he’s going to be a solid All Star and the Suns wouldn’t complain about having that.

Malik Monk is a bad man.  He can shoot it with the best of them.  However, the Suns already have one of the best of them at his position…which leads to the natural question of where Monk would fit.  He’d be a nice luxury to have coming off the bench and as Booker develops more of a passing game he might be a good complement, but there are a lot of mights and maybes involved here.

Frank is another one of the great unknowns.  He’s long, streaky, and an outstanding defender.  His size makes him a potential ideal partner with Booker in the back court.   However, he hasn’t played against NBA competition and so it’s hard to know if he’s capable of being an All-Star.  The team already took risks on Chriss and Bender.  It’s unclear if they’d take another one by selecting Frank.