Phoenix Suns Draft Board: Post-Lottery Edition

Sam CooperCorrespondent IIIMay 21, 2014

Phoenix Suns Draft Board: Post-Lottery Edition

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    Barry Gossage/Getty Images

    Now that the NBA draft lottery is over, the Phoenix Suns will officially be picking 14th overall in the NBA draft.

    That should be no surprise—they had just a 1.8 percent chance to move into the top three picks in the first place. 

    But now that the Suns' selection is set in stone, let's look at some candidates for them who could still be available by the end of the lottery. 

    First of all, keep in mind that Phoenix has the 14th, 18th and 27th picks. This article is only for prospects who might still be available at the end of the lottery, but because the 14th and 18th picks are so close to each other, the Suns could potentially select more than one player on this list.

    Second, because the Goran Dragic/Eric Bledsoe backcourt seems to be the foundation of the team's future, only frontcourt prospects were chosen for the slideshow. The Suns' greatest needs are rebounding and interior defense, and they could also use some more depth at small forward.

    And now, let's meet the prospects. 

1. Doug McDermott

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    Doug McDermott may not fall to the 14th pick. Most mock drafts actually have him taken a few spots earlier.

    However, if the Creighton forward does fall to the Suns, his natural scoring instincts, shooting efficiency and ability to space the floor could give the team the most lethal bench in the league.

    McDermott scored 26.7 points per game in his senior season and shot an incredibly efficient 53 percent from the field and 45 percent from the three-point line while turning the ball over only 1.8 times per game. He might be perfect for the uptempo offense that the Suns feature. 

    However, he's a SF/PF tweener, which raises the question of how he'll fit on an NBA team. Can he score in the post over NBA bigs? Does he have the quickness and athleticism to guard NBA small forwards on the perimeter?

    McDermott measured just more than 6'6" without shoes at the combine, so all signs point to him spending the majority of his playing time at small forward. There, he could give the Suns some depth behind P.J. Tucker and Marcus Morris. He has the basketball IQ to be a successful player, but his lack of explosiveness and athleticism could pose a problem. 

2. Jusuf Nurkic

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    Miles Plumlee started off the 2013-14 season showing flashes of greatness, but then he hit a grueling second-half slump.

    Alex Len showed some potential, but overall he didn't receive much playing time and was fairly underwhelming for a fifth overall pick.

    If the Suns are not 100 percent confident in those two being the future centers of the franchise (which they shouldn't be), they might as well take a look at another center prospect in the draft.

    This is an extremely weak class for center, but after Joel Embiid, Jusuf Nurkic appears to be the best big man available.

    The Bosnian is 7'0" with a 7'2" wingspan, which means he has great size and physical attributes to bang with other bigs in the NBA.

    In 28 games in the Adriatic League, he averaged 28.2 points, 13.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes. 

    On offense, he's a solid pick-and-roll finisher with some good jump hooks on the low block. He isn't the greatest defender, but his long arms, active hands and overall quickness give him the ability to block shots. His length should also help Phoenix on the glass. 

    On the other hand (and this is also a problem for Len), Nurkic is foul-prone, which means he can't stay on the floor for long stretches at a time. His decision making on the court has also been questionable, as he averages 3.9 turnovers per 40 minutes.

    Overall, if the Suns have two 7'0" centers that they can use at any time in Len and Nurkic, their rebounding and defense should improve tremendously. 

3. Adreian Payne

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    Worried about Channing Frye's slump last season?

    Markieff Morris continues to get better and better, and perhaps there's still the possibility of trading for Kevin Love, but another stretch-4 prospect the Suns could take a look at is Adreian Payne out of Michigan State. 

    He isn't your normal stretch 4. Yes, he has the range to score from outside, but at 23 years old he may be one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft. He could contribute to a playoff run immediately.

    He is a versatile offensive player, and in college he was able to show a little bit of everything. He had a post game and was able to score from the paint as well as from behind the three-point line. He has the length to occasionally block shots and has also been praised for his hustle on the glass. 

    Defense is more of a problem, because even with his length, Payne has a weak lower body that makes him a below-average post defender. 

    Drafting him depends on whether the Suns would rather take upside or ability. Payne has the talent to play in the NBA and contribute right now, perhaps unlike the 19-year-old Nurkic. But because he's already 23, he may have limited upside.  

4. Rodney Hood

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    If McDermott is off the board, another small forward the Suns could look at for added offense is Rodney Hood, the 21-year-old from Duke. 

    He averaged 16.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this season while shooting 46 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range. He has an excellent shooting stroke and is capable of spacing the floor with his range. He's also an above-average playmaker for his position who rarely turns the ball over (1.5 turnovers per game), and at 6'8" he has great size for an NBA small forward.

    Much like McDermott, Hood will supply plenty of offense, but defense is a problem. Whereas McDermott is known for showing great effort and hustle despite his lack of size, Hood has a poor stance as a perimeter defender and often lets opposing players drive by him. His wingspan isn't long enough to help him on defense, and his lack of strength could also be a huge problem in the NBA on both ends of the floor.

    Overall, he could be another nice offensive weapon to stash on the bench. But the Suns have greater issues to deal with in rebounding and defense, and Hood cannot help in those areas. 

5. Clint Capela

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    Clint Capela is young. He's raw. He's one of the more unknown prospects in this draft class.

    But he's the type of player who gets noticed because of his freakish athleticism. 

    He is 6'11" with almost a 7'5" wingspan. He's still too weak to play center (and his strength is a weakness is general), but he has fantastic length for a power forward. He runs the floor well in transition, will block plenty of shots and grab a ton of rebounds in the NBA. The Suns need rebounding and defense, and Capela will give them just that. 

    Will he give them anything else? That's the question. Capela may never be an elite scorer in the NBA, though he is a solid finisher, and his defensive fundamentals are a work in progress. 

    Additionally, he needs to get stronger for the pros, but that's a problem that most 20-year-olds face. 

    Capela might be a project, and it might be a few years before he's a big part of an NBA rotation, but he could be a force on the glass.