The Phoenix Suns are playing out the string of a disappointing NBA season and will miss the playoffs for the third straight year.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is there’s a strong possibility that they’ll have two lottery picks in June’s NBA Draft — a coup that would allow the Suns to start rebuilding from the second-worst season in its history.
Of course, the Los Angeles Lakers and/or the Utah Jazz have to play along for this to occur.
Draft expert Chad Ford of ESPN projects the Suns to land the two picks and two solid college prospects in the process. Ford’s initial mock draft of the season has Phoenix taking Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore with the third overall pick and Duke big man Mason Plumlee at number 14.
Ford on McLemore:
Adding McLemore makes a lot of sense. He’s one of the two or three best pure shooters in the draft and has great length and athleticism at his position. He can be a bit of a wallflower, but when he gets going he’s as good as anyone in the draft.
McLemore played just one season at Kansas after redshirting as a true freshman, but he made his presence felt in Lawrence. The 6-foot-5 wing broke Danny Manning’s school freshman scoring record (15.9 points per game) while leading the Jayhawks to a 31-6 record, a Big 12 championship and a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ford on Plumlee:
Plumlee’s combination of athleticism and size might make the most sense since, while he isn’t exactly tough, he’s tougher than most of the finesse young bigs on the roster.
Plumlee was a 2013 consensus All-American for the Blue Devils and averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. In his four years playing for head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Plumlee experienced a lot of winning. The 6-foot-11 post was part of 124 wins in a Duke uniform and played in 13 NCAA Tournament games.