Next Naz Reid linked with the Phoenix Suns this summer

The Phoenix Suns have a valuable pick in this year's NBA Draft, and they are being linked with a player who has drawn comparisons to Naz Reid.
NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite
NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns don't have a ton of wiggle room this offseason, but they do have a valuable 22nd pick in the NBA Draft. Not that the organization will be able to find a star in one of the weakest drafts in memory, but that's not the point of this pick.

Rather it gives the Suns the opportunity to add a young - and just as crucially cheap - player to an expensive roster that has no real ways to get better. It also represents a chance for General Manager James Jones to prove he is the right man for the job, after some terrible missteps in recent seasons.

The Suns could go in many directions with this pick, but the latest from Michael Scotto of Hoopshype has them taking a player who has earned comparisons to Naz Reid.

We've already examined players the franchise could look at taking, and it is interesting that Scotto has Purdue big man Zach Edey being taken by the New Orleans Pelicans one spot before the Suns are on the board. The merits of Edey are obvious, and we have already made the case for picking him if he available.

Doing so would allow the Suns to begin to move on from current starting center Jusuf Nurkic, whose limitations are painfully obvious against high level opposition. Going after a point guard is another avenue, but they take a few years to truly get comfortable at the highest level and take time to develop. Time that owner Mat Ishbia does not have in trading for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal.

Back to the player in question though, and Tyler Smith of the G League Ignite is the individual who could yet end up in The Valley. To watch him play there are certainly Reid comparisons there, which is no bad thing considering he is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and just helped the Minnesota Timberwolves sweep the Suns as Nurkic and his teammates had no answer for him.

Smith is long and bouncy, but is more controlled and a little beefier than Yves Missi, a center who has also been linked with the Suns but who has moved up many draft boards to the point he figures to be gone by the time the Suns are up. If you squint a little, isn't there shades of a taller Mikal Bridges out there as well?

Smith definitely doesn't think of himself as a traditional big man either, and he told Cyro Asseo of Hoopshype earlier this season;

"I’m definitely a combo forward in the league, like a three or four. But this year, with our big man hurt, I had to show that I can play multiple positions and help my team in any way possible, more so on the wing as a three than a four."

Tyler Smith on his best position

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It is easy then to see Smith gets some minutes if he does end up in Phoenix next season, because he can play right across the front line. When you consider he would in theory occupy some of the same minutes as Grayson Allen or Royce O'Neale (assuming he comes back), the potential of how different the Suns could look with Smith in the mix becomes exciting.

There is sure to be jostling for position on the draft board as the big night approaches, but this is not a bad spot for the Suns to be in. Reid is an extremely important part of who the Timberwolves are - and if Smith can do that in small doses for the Suns - he is going to be a hit right away. That and a nice bridge from the current era of basketball and what it is hoped will be a bright future as well.