Two months ago, after Phoenix was defeated by San Antonio in five games, I asked Suns fans what direction they'd like the team to go. I really only got feedback from three people, so for my sake, hopefully they read this article.
Greg G. thought the Suns should trade Leandro Barbosa for a serviceable veteran to play in the back court. He also commented that while Diaw was impressive at the end of their first round series, he could be a trading piece as well. In the NBA draft he was wishing for their first round pick to be a spark plug or defensive specialist.
Well Greg, you got your wish.
Robin Lopez, a defensive specialist and spark plug from Stanford, was the Suns selection at 15 overall Thursday night. I thought drafting Lopez at 15 was a bit of a stretch. The first round did feature three Centers picked after Robin. Marquees Speights to Philadelphia, Roy Hibbert to Toronto, and Kosta Koufos in Utah were selected.
They later acquired Goran Dragic out of Slovenia. I don't know much about this guy but something tells me he's not the point guard of the future in Phoenix.
Ian Zymarakis quickly informed us that with Shaq, Amare, and Nash's contracts taking up most of the room they won't be able to afford what they are in need of.
The Suns have the money to pay the luxury tax and go get someone this summer. That remains uncertain if they will go down that road.
The first thing they need to do is look at the list of undrafted rookies after one of the deeper drafts in recent memory.
Here is a list of active players in the NBA that were not selected on draft night.
Bo Outlaw, Darrell Armstrong, Bruce Bowen, Ben Wallace, Troy Hudson, Chucky Atkins, Earl Boykins, Brad Miller, Raja Bell, Mike James, Matt Carroll, Marquis Daniels, Udonis Haslem, Ime Udoka, Andres Nocioni, Damien Wilkins, Jose Calderon, Fabricio Oberto, Ronnie Price, and Tarence Kinsey.
Now there are some All-Stars on that team, some solid role players, and many, many specialists. There are some of those left in this year's crop of new talent as well.
Monty Singh, a scribe here at Bleacher Report, wrote a very good article highlighting some of the players still available. You can read about that here.
Two guys that really caught my eye were Chris Lofton and DeMarcus Nelson.
Chris Lofton is the all-time leader in three point field goals made (346) in SEC history. That type of shooting ability would be helpful to ANY team in the league. He's got a calm and cool demeanor about him and is well known for clutch play. I still remember those bombs he made over Kevin Durant during that furious 17-point comeback win in 2006 like it was yesterday.
DeMarcus Nelson is just a solid player, period. He played significant minutes at Duke for four years and improved each year. He was able to double his points per game average from his Sophomore year (7.1) to his Junior year (14.1).
His defense was excellent throughout his career and would fit in perfectly in a defensive minded system. He was the 2008 ACC Senior player of the year and Defensive player of the year. Nelson also was the 2004 California Mr. Basketball.
I think either of these two could help the Phoenix Suns out. Both of them would be very inexpensive to sign and can give them things they can use effectively.
So, with the first half the offseason to do list out of the way, I now have two questions for Suns fans. What do you think about their choices in the NBA draft and where should they go from here?