Phoenix Suns NBA Draft: Why Nico Mannion is worth taking at No. 10

Nico Mannion Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Nico Mannion Phoenix Suns (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
Phoenix Suns NBA Draft
Phoenix Suns NBA Draft (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Nico Mannion should be the No. 10 pick for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Draft

Nico Mannion would be the quintessential hometown hero for the Phoenix Suns.

Mannion, son of former NBA player Pace Mannion, was a legend at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix. A Sports Illustrated article in his freshman year predated the hype. His performance in high school — two state championships, countless Ball is Life montages, and several blue blood offers (Duke, Kentucky, and UCLA all offered him a scholarship) — ensured he lived up to it.

The point guard ended up signing with the Arizona Wildcats, just two hours south in Tucson. With his college future sorted out, Mannion still had unfinished business in high school. During his senior year, his Pinnacle squad did the unthinkable, beating a previously unbeatable team, Shadow Mountain, which was led by Mike Bibby at head coach.

Shadow Mountain had a 73-game win streak against Arizona schools going into the game. After a game-winning shot from Mannion, they had a one-game losing streak.

Mannion thrives in the spotlight. It’s a shame he never could have the spotlight at Arizona. The NCAA tournament was canceled this year and Mannion’s shot at NCAA glory was forever lost. In April, Mannion declared for the NBA Draft. He was projected as a mid-to-late lottery pick as a pure point guard.

What bolstered Mannion’s draft status were his rock-solid stats. Averaging 14.0 points and 5.3 assists was awesome for a starting point guard in the Pac-12. The stats look even better on a per-100 basis: 24.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and a whopping 9.3 assists per game.

Wow! Why is he not looked at as a top 5 pick?

He has a short wingspan, he apparently lacks athleticism and did not shoot the ball well in his lone season at Arizona.

Are these really red flags though? Or are they just temporary concerns? Let’s look into each of them.