Suns linked with intriguing center prospect in latest mock draft

The Phoenix Suns have the 22nd pick in this year's NBA Draft, and the latest mock draft has them taking an intriguing center prospect from Baylor.
Clemson v Baylor
Clemson v Baylor / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns did not have the 2023-24 season they had envisioned, and it will be a long offseason before they get the chance to right the many wrongs of a disappointing campaign. To be fair to the organization they have moved quickly, firing head coach Frank Vogel and bringing in Arizona native Mike Budenholzer.

Attentions now turn to this year's NBA Draft - and to the surprise of many given the aggressive trades made under the watch of owner Mat Ishbia - the Suns have the 22nd pick. There are many directions the franchise could go with this pick, and you could make a case for several key positions to get younger and cheaper with an eager prospect.

The latest mock draft from one reputable source has the Suns going after a new and exciting center, and adding him makes a ton of sense.

The player in question? Baylor's big man, Yves Missi. The 20-year-old listed in some places as a forward, and others as a center. Either way, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has the Suns taking a player who many feel has considerable upside.

Missi is Belgian-Cameroonian which is ironic, because last year's Suns selection in the second round Toumani Camara, is also Belgian. There must be something in the water, as Camara carved out a nice role for himself on the Portland Trail Blazers after being sent there in the Deandre Ayton for Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen and some stuff trade. These highlights are nice too.

It's easy to put a video package together that shows a player in their best light - but if you just watched Missi's movement in each clip - it is the raw athleticism that stands out. He did only play one season with Baylor and the Suns may feel he is too young to help them win right now, which is very much their only goal, and yet he is still worth considering.

To watch Missi here is to see a player who could not be any different to Nurkic out on the court. For a Suns roster that was very trying but ultimately not good enough at the center position, Missi would represent a completely different look. Nurkic is a giant who sticks to the ground, while Drew Eubanks gives his all but is a bit undersized.

Bol Bol is not even a center - and he may not be in The Valley next season anyway - which is why it keeps coming back to Missi. His hops are ridiculous and he's just a long and bouncy big man out there who throws it down whenever the ball goes anywhere near the rim. Would he be bullied by bigger and more experienced centers? Absolutely, but a plan can be put in place to help that.

Whether it is sharing the court with Kevin Durant, or even Nurkic for stretches, there is a dilligence in rim-running and an awareness out of the pick-and-roll that would be another option for the Suns offensively. On the defensive end, the length would deter some smaller players from coming into the paint, while he definitely has an eye and an interest in defending.

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Whisper it quietly for fear of upsetting Suns fans, but there are shades of a skinnier Ayton in Missi. Before he was unhappy in Phoenix and when he instead played as the complimentary piece offensively and anchor defensively - exactly what he did in the run to the 2021 NBA Finals - which was an ideal fit next to Devin Booker.

Questions will always persist about how long it would take Missi to reach his potential, but on the other hand the team need to think about bridging the gap between Durant and the future eventually. Would you prefer Bronny James to come to town and sell tickets for the new G League team the Suns are getting? Exactly... Missi is one to watch between now and the draft.