This underrated prospect could be the Suns next draft steal

The Suns must draft a rotation player with the 22nd overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.
Phoenix Suns, James Jones
Phoenix Suns, James Jones / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns went all-in last offseason by trading for Bradley Beal. New owner Mat Ishbia wants to win and is not afraid to make bold moves. The Suns have two first-round picks available to trade on draft night and it would not be surprising to see the franchise push after a disappointing first-round playoff exit.

Phoenix fired Frank Vogel and hired Mike Budenholzer as their head coach. Bud is a proven winner and will help the Suns next season. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are elite talents, but is that enough? They need more from Beal and their supporting cast to be serious contenders.

With the second tax apron restrictions kicking in, the Suns should keep their draft pick. It is a path to adding an intriguing talent on an affordable contract. Fans have seen several teams draft older prospects in the late first round and get a quality rotation option. Phoenix’s next draft steal is projected to be available when they select at 22nd overall.

Suns could draft their next steal by selecting Tyler Kolek

Kolek kept improving throughout his college career. He played his freshman year at George Mason before transferring to Marquette for his final three seasons. The 6’3 guard blossomed into an elite playmaker and shooter. As a senior, Kolek averaged 15.3 points, 7.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 33.0 minutes per game while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 38.8 percent on his 3-point tries.

ESPN’s latest mock draft (subscription required) had Kolek falling to the Suns at 22, but notes he worked out for several teams selecting higher.

There is no guarantee he falls, but most expect him to slip because of his age and size. Kolek measured just 6’1.25 without shoes at the combine and turned 23 years old in March. Several undersized point guards are impacting the NBA right now, but Kolek must work his way onto the floor quickly.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie was not shy about calling the All-American the most underrated player in this class. Kolek continues to improve and should be ready to handle reserve minutes as a rookie. He is no stranger to doubt and is eager to prove his naysayers wrong.

The Suns need a point guard. Booker, Beal, and Durant are capable of handling the ball, but their offense stagnated plenty this season. Getting a lead ball-handler capable of bending the defense will make life easier for everyone and should vault Phoenix into an elite offense.

Tyler Kolek is a strong pick-and-roll ball-handler and is comfortable spacing the floor when others attack. He could quickly fit in the Valley of the Sun and make an immediate impact on a team with their sights set on title contention.

The Phoenix Suns must nail the 22nd overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. They need talent and depth on their roster and will have limited resources to acquire it. The added importance should only add intrigue to draft night, so tune in and enjoy the show.