Phoenix Suns: 2 strong ‘mature’ guards among 1st-round draft targets

Illinois Fighting Illini, Ayo Dosunmu (Photo Via OlyDrop)
Illinois Fighting Illini, Ayo Dosunmu (Photo Via OlyDrop) /

The Phoenix Suns’ season is done, but the offseason begins quickly. The 2021 NBA Draft is only days away and the free-agency period will be a huge chance to fill a few voids.

The Phoenix Suns have the 29th pick in next Thursday’s NBA draft and should be looking at a ready-made player rather than a long-term project.

Of three more prominent candidates, not one serves the Suns’ major void at backup center, but that spot should be filled via trade or free agency  – and there are plenty of qualified options.

Clearly, Devin Booker and (Suns fans hope) Chris Paul could use some help to clear the final hurdle — especially given the idea that a few Suns won’t be returning.

The key for this selection is finding someone to contribute to this Suns playoff window.

Phoenix Suns draft candidate No. 1: Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois

Dosunmu showed elite-level leadership and scoring ability this past season for the Illini. He’s experienced and he’s far from a long-term project at age 21.

And he did his best Devin Booker while wearing a mask to protect his nose late in the season.

The scouting report for the 6-5, 195 pounder from includes:

"Also incorporates a good step-back three pointer where he shot 39% in his final season on high volume … Great court vision and passer who averaged over five assists per game. Also attacks the glass and rebounds well with over six rebounds per game."

His court awareness and passing ability definitely translate to the NBA level, and he should be able to play from the outset this fall. His scoring, rebounding and assist numbers improved markedly year over year, going from 16.6/4.3/3.3 to 20.9/6.2/5.2.

He’s ready to provide 10-15 quality bench minutes for a Suns team looking to reload; not rebuild.

Phoenix Suns draft candidate No. 2: Jared Butler, PG/SG, Butler

At 6-3, 195 pounds, Butler also fits the Suns’ needs – and he’ll be a mature 22 years old next month. Again, a guy who can hit the floor running from opening night.

Butler improved his long-range shooting, too, with a 3-point field-goal percentage of .416 last season.

His profile from  summons comparisons with Devin Booker:

"Smooth, quick jump shot with a high release point, which should equate to continued efficiency in the NBA … Comfortable running the pick and roll, and can score or facilitate using picks … Butler is a solid defender, with tremendous positioning and a high basketball IQ"

Butler has upside, too, with an opportunity to become stronger and to further cement his NBA-level finishing skills. He scored 16.7 points per game and averaged almost five assists per game.

Phoenix Suns draft candidate No. 3: Tre Mann, PG, Florida

Only 20, he would be a somewhat of a project, though with more upside than the more-polished candidates mentioned above. He’d take the position of understudy point guard – a big opportunity for him if the Suns think they will be able to keep Chris Paul.

This is based upon the assumption that they are planning to let Cameron Payne explore free agency.

At 6-4 and around 180 pounds, the 20-year-old can shoot it and distribute.

A portion of the profile seems to speak directly to how he would assimilate with the Suns:

"Routinely extends plays by continuing to attack defenders to force help side rotations, allowing for his teammates to find openings. Excellent at step back jumpers, especially off the pick and roll – creates a lot of space on his step backs."

He’s knocking down 41 percent from 3-point range and he’s a tremendous creator with the ball in his hands.

A bigger point guard, Mann would presumably be well-equipped to defend at the one.

The Suns are not without hope at No. 29, given the cold, hard facts about the team that just beat them in the NBA Finals: Of the champion Milwaukee Bucks, only Brook Lopez was a lottery pick.

Related Story. Phoenix Suns should look at these former Chris Paul teammates. light

Giannis Antetokounmpo was picked 15th, Jrue Holiday was No. 17, Bobby Portis No. 22, Khris Middleton No. 39 and Pat Connaughton No. 41 overall.