Ranking the 3 Best Options for Each Phoenix Suns Pick
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The 2013 NBA draft will last for two rounds, as it has every year since 1989.
However, no team projects to be as involved for the duration of those two rounds as the Phoenix Suns, who possess the No. 5 pick, the No. 30 pick and the No. 57 pick.
That means that just about every prospect should be on Phoenix's draft board, and everything that happens from the first overall pick to the 56th selection will affect the Suns' plans.
Team Needs Entering Draft
A team drafting near the top of Round 1 will almost always have several flaws. However, the Suns may have more areas of concern than any other team entering this draft.
Last season, Phoenix was in the bottom third of the NBA in field-goal percentage, field-goal percentage defense, three-point percentage, three-point percentage defense, free throws taken, free throws allowed, free-throw percentage, rebound differential, turnovers, points for and points against.
In other words, they need help scoring, shooting, getting to the line, defending the paint, defending the perimeter, rebounding and handling the ball.
The only rotation player Phoenix is expected to lose to free agency is shooting guard Wesley Johnson, creating an even bigger need on the perimeter.
Number 5 Overall Pick
It is all but guaranteed that this will be the Suns' best chance to land a difference-maker in this draft, so they should try to address their biggest need here.
That would be shooting guard, where Phoenix currently features Shannon Brown and PJ Tucker (I know, I'm cringing too).
Luckily for general manager Ryan McDonough and the rest of the draft room, shooting guard is the strongest position in this year's draft. There is elite SG talent at the top of this class as well as great depth at the position.
This means that while Phoenix should be able to add a great SG prospect here, it shouldn't reach. Its No. 30 pick will likely net the team a decent perimeter guy, and there are plenty of other holes that Phoenix can fill with this pick.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
No matter what happens in the top four, Oladipo should be the first guy on Phoenix's draft board. The 21-year-old junior is NBA-ready due to his three years of experience playing in the ultra-tough Big Ten.
He would instantly become the team's best perimeter defender, fast-break initiator and finisher, and he'd provide point guard Goran Dragic with the slasher he needs.
Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
There will almost certainly be at least one SG taken during picks Nos.1-4, and Oladipo could very well be the one gone. If so, the next guy on Phoenix's draft board should be McLemore, the 20-year-old freshman from Kansas.
McLemore is not the defender Oladipo is and is slightly less NBA-ready, but he has every bit as much athleticism and what he won't bring defensively, he'll bring offensively. He possesses an ability to create his own offense that stands apart from the rest of this draft class.
Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
A small forward—Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett—should go to Washington at No. 3, which means that Noel, Oladipo or McLemore would be available to Phoenix at No. 5.
In Noel, the Suns would grab a guy with No. 1 overall talent no matter what his health concerns are. He'd immediately become the anchor of Phoenix's defense and the team's best rebounder. A couple years down the line, he should become an all-NBA defender (health permitting).
Number 30 Overall Pick
Although Phoenix is very likely to add a shooting guard with its first pick, it may go back to the position here.
Not only are 2 guards and 2-3 hybrids incredibly deep in this draft, but Phoenix is so weak at the position that it still may be the biggest area of need.
Of course, with so many areas of need, just about every position is on the table here. The exception would be point guard, as Dragic is the clear starter and no one at this spot would replace Kendall Marshall as the backup.
Glen Rice, Jr., NBA Developmental League
Rice would have been a sure first-round pick had he remained at Georgia Tech, but after being kicked off the team following a shooting incident last spring he is likely to fall to the cusp of Round 2.
Phoenix should end that fall. Rice has natural scoring ability and NBA three-point range, the two biggest skills that Oladipo lacks.
Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
While Rice would would complement Oladipo, Goodwin would be the perfect fit if Phoenix drafts McLemore.
While Goodwin struggles as a shooter, he has explosive athleticism and would give the Suns a slasher, lob recipient and fast-break weapon.
His Kentucky pedigree and high potential combined with rawness and lack of shooting ability make his draft position a huge wild card, but he's likely be around at No. 30.
Jeff Withey, Kansas
Should Phoenix grab Noel at No. 5, it'll have to go small here. If it grabs an SG early and Withey is still on the board here, it may not be able to pass on him.
Marcin Gortat is the only center currently under contract, and he is no elite defender. Withey would immediately replace Jermaine O'Neal as a shot-blocker and rebounder and provide the team with its only true seven-footer.
Number 57 Overall Pick
To understand the importance of this pick, Phoenix need look no further than its starting frontcourt.
Gortat went in this exact spot in the 2005 draft, while Luis Scola was the 55th overall pick in 2002.
Adding a high-quality NBA player at the bottom of the draft is by no means common, but every couple of years, a team does it. Considering how desperate for young talent McDonough is, he certainly will not throw this pick away.
This spot should really be approached with a "best available" attitude, although SG should be avoided if Phoenix does indeed use each of its first two picks on the position.
Mike Muscala, PF/C, Bucknell
Muscala's game is somewhat similar to Scola's. He's an agile big with a strong mid-range shot and finesse inside.
Muscala also brings good size (6'11") and would immediately be able to help Phoenix off the bench, even if he doesn't become a major steal.
Peyton Siva, PG, Louisville
In the NBA, Siva will never be the player he was in college.
He can't shoot or get to the line, and he is far too small to make an impact defensively, but he's an excellent competitor who is very quick and can create for teammates.
Sounds a little like Tony Parker when he came into the league. He'll be the third PG in Phoenix, but picking a proven winner and leader is never a bad idea at this point in the draft.
Carrick Felix, SG/SF, Arizona St.
Felix played college ball in the state, so Suns scouts should be very familiar with him. The 22-year-old senior established himself as one of the stronger wing defenders in college basketball, and is also a strong rebounder for his position.
If the Suns have yet to add a perimeter defender at this point, Felix should be the first option here.
While his upside isn't as high as some other prospects here, he plays within himself and with enough passion to stick as an NBA role player.
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