Scouts in Sports Illustrated RIPPED the Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Eric Bledsoe #2, Josh Jackson #20, Head Coach Earl Watson, and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns pose for a portrait at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Eric Bledsoe #2, Josh Jackson #20, Head Coach Earl Watson, and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns pose for a portrait at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Are Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss any good?

"Chriss and Bender both look disinterested at times. They’re too young to be checking out. Bender will have to play center; defending on the perimeter is a huge challenge for him. Chriss has a better body and physical tools, but I’d bet both are busts. Chriss has to improve his basketball IQ and awareness to have any shot. An unstructured environment like Phoenix was the worst place for him."

These…statements…are…depressing…because they might all be true.

Although, I don’t think that I have ever seen Dragan Bender disinterested. In fact, if Bender has one massive plus to his game it is that he never seems to give up or take things slowly. In my opinion, Bender might have the second best motor on the team behind Josh Jackson.

That being said, Marquese Chriss does check out, and it’s usually when he doesn’t get his way. It’s almost as if he thinks he’s Charles Barkley and has earned and deserves every call (or non-call on the defensive end) and when he doesn’t get his way he’s going to stand the refs up. This is a major  problem, and something that even reared it’s ugly head in the Summer League.

This particular issue ties into the final point of this quote about the unstructured environment in Phoenix. Obviously neither we nor the scouts have an inside look at the team when there aren’t any cameras on, however, scouts do talk, and this comment probably didn’t come from thin air. It certainly has been an opinion of many fans that the Suns do not seem to have either an identity or any real direction of any kind on the court under the current coaching regime. It is also a fear that this will lead directly to the stunted growth of some of the young players – one of the other points this scout made.

Many of us are patient and hopeful enough to give both Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss the benefit of the doubt that they will develop over the next two seasons wiping away the discussion of “bust.” That being said, they both have a series of flaws that at least make this extremely worrisome.

Both players are very thin and wiry and both potentially with the height to play power forward or center though neither with the size as of yet. Chriss’ “basketball IQ and awareness” have to improve, according to the scout, for him to have a shot at becoming a big time player, while Bender needs to both be able to shoot from the outside consistently, and dribble down court without it bouncing off his feet – or losing it altogether because he’s slipped out of control.

Next: Three Fun Goals for Tyler Ulis in 2017-18

All in all, these scouts absolutely ripped  the Phoenix Suns, and for the obvious parts for good reason. Many of their opinions could end up proving to be entirely on point. Yet there still is just too much for the Suns to be hopeful about, even this season, with plenty of opportunities to improve in trade, and next summer in the draft.

Suns fans shouldn’t, and generally don’t, expect the Suns to be any good in 2017-18. The hope though is that they will be better in 2018-19, and even better than that in 2019-20. These scouts don’t seem to realize that – yet.