With Steve Nash, and a slew of other veterans, at the end of their contracts, the Suns have an opportunity to start looking to the future direction of the franchise. How Markieff Morris, last year’s #13 pick, will develop is still up in the air, the Suns will have another shot at #13 to add a player who can give Suns’ fans hope in the upcoming seasons. With the backcourt seemingly open, and a group of potential guards whose draft range fall within the #13 pick, the Suns may have to settle for which player falls to them (unless they made a promise, which is another discussion.) Let’s take a look at some of Phoenix’s potential draft scenarios:
2011-2012 Record – 33-33 (3rd in Pacific Division, Western Conference)
Head Coach – Alvin Gentry
2-year Draft History
2011 – Markieff Morris (1st Round – 13th)
2010 – Gani Lawal (2nd round – 46th), Dwayne Collins (2nd round – 60th)
Returning Players- Marcin Gortat (C), Josh Childress (SF), Channing Frye (PF), Hakim Warrick (SF), Jared Dudley (SF), Robin Lopez (C – Qualifying Offer), Markieff Morris (PF)
Team Needs- Guards, Rebounding/Post Defenders, Perimeter shooters, PF/C depth
Position Needs –PG, SG, PF, C
Picks – #13 (1st Round, Pick 13)
NBA Draft Blog Analysis
With the end of the Steve Nash era imminent in Phoenix, as well as the end of the contracts of Grant Hill and Vince Caret, the Suns will need to start looking towards the future. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of young talent to build around, so it may be time for the Suns’ front office to map out the direction of their franchise now. With a lot of cap room now, I expect the Suns to look to free agency for young, established talent. At #13, I expect them to look at filling one of the guard spots, preferably with a player who can run the offense and add some scoring punch. The first hope should be that either Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall drops to them. Lillard is a scorer first, but still does a decent job running an offense. He has good range on his jump shot and can beat his man off the dribble, but his decision making needs to improve and it is still up in the air how he productive he will be when he isn’t the focal point of the offense. Marshall is the consummate floor general, and grumblings about his athleticism and scoring ability are vastly overstated.
With chances being that they both could be gone, where else could Phoenix look for backcourt help? Austin Rivers would be a great addition if paired with a veteran point guard. His ability to take players off the dribble, as well as hit his jumper from a variety of ranges, will give the team an offensive lift. Defensively, he will need to make some adjustments, but being able to get him at #13 would be great value. Word has gotten around about the alleged Dion Waiters promise, and Phoenix is one of the names that pop up relating to it. He is also an excellent scorer, with an improved jumper and an ability to get to the rim and finish, but after 2 seasons in college, he has consistency issues and his shot selection and court awareness need to improve quickly.
While those are the guards whose draft range includes the #13 pick, there is the possibility of Phoenix going in another direction, though I’m not really sure what that would be, unless someone unexpected starts to fall. If I am the Suns, I hope for Marshall or Lillard, but would gladly take Rivers if he is available.
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