The Phoenix Suns may be riding a two-game win streak at the moment, but chances are good they’re still heading for the NBA’s draft lottery for the third consecutive year.
And at 15-28, it appears they may be one of the first teams on the clock, meaning they’ll have a good selection of players to choose from.
In an ESPN Insider piece, Chad Ford broke down who he thinks are the “2013 draft fits for Phoenix Suns”, and the list includes some pretty solid names.
Noting the team could use a scorer to build around — as well as the fact that the Suns could have three picks in this year’s draft — Ford says Kansas’ Ben McLemore, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and UNLV’s Anthony Bennett would be great fits.
Dragic can be a solid facilitator when he has some to facilitate with. This season, the Suns have really lacked offensive options. That should give McLemore and Muhammad the leg up in Phoenix. Both players are potential 20-points-a-night scorers, both have good jump shots and both players have the ability to take over a game.
Bennett is intriguing because of his versatility. He could end up being a Marion-like hybrid forward who could play both the three and the four at the next level. He can rebound, post up or step out and hit the 3. His ability to step in and play right away should be an intriguing choice for the Suns.
Noel is the dark horse here, but he might be a good choice. While the Suns have Gortat, Morris and Scola, it’s clear that none of them are franchise players. Furthermore, none of them do what Noel does well — block shots and grab ridiculous amounts of steals for a big man.
Other top prospects include Maryland’s Alex Len, Indiana’s Cody Zeller, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams, but Ford believes that group of players either has weaknesses or styles that won’t mesh with what Phoenix is trying to do.
And through it all, Ford believes the 6-foot-5 McLemore, who is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, would be the ideal choice for a rebuilding Suns team.
No one is rising faster or higher than McLemore right now, and he looks like a perfect fit for the Suns team. His elite athletic ability, shooting prowess and ability to get to the basket off the bounce, as well as his ability to cause problems for players with his defensive abilities really gives them a player they desperately need who doesn’t really duplicate anyone they have on their roster.
As of now, the Suns have the sixth-worst record in the NBA, but could land in the top three with a few more losses or if the ping pong balls bounce their way.