The Phoenix Suns continued their process of bringing in the best college and international players for pre-draft workouts Wednesday at US Airways Center.
The cast of participants Wednesday was a veritable who’s who of prospects.
Indiana’s dynamic duo of Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller was in attendance. So were Maryland center Alex Len, UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad, Oregon swingman E.J. Singler, French center Rudy Gobert and Wisconsin power forward Jared Berggren.
But maybe the most interesting player present was Kansas guard Ben McLemore, partly due to his workout setting.
Eight players visited Suns headquarters, but due to NBA rules, teams can only work out six at a time. Len couldn’t participate as he’s recovering from postseason ankle surgery, so that left seven. While the six other players worked out in a group, McLemore did so in his own session.
“It was kind of hard working out by yourself, but I pushed myself through it and coach (Jeff Hornacek) helped me through that, talking to me and getting me through it,” McLemore told the media following the session. “It was a great workout. My time here has been great so far.”
The St. Louis native was linked to the Suns’ fifth overall pick in the latest mock draft by ESPN’s Chad Ford. The majority of earlier mocks had McLemore off the board well before the Suns’ first selection, but the 20-year-old thinks anything can happen that high in the draft, and that’s why he attended the Phoenix workout.
“People think I’m not going to make it past the top five, but I just want to show my love and come down and support them and work out for them,” he said. “That’s the type of guy I am — I feel like I should work out for everybody so I’m down here, my first workout in Phoenix and it’s been good so far.”
McLemore’s game definitely fills a need for the Suns. The slender, 6-foot-4 guard can put the ball in the hole, something the team lacked severely from the two-guard position in the 2012-13 season. In his only season with Kansas, McLemore pumped in a team-leading 15.9 points per game — good for third in the Big 12.
“I think I could fit perfectly with this team and this franchise,” he said. “Coming in as a shooting guard, helping the team out and the organization win more games.
“My goal is to come in, win games and help to win a championship.”
One of the knocks on McLemore’s game is that he lacks aggressiveness at times. He doesn’t believe that it’s an issue moving forward.
“They’ve seen spurts of what I can do and I can take over games and I know deep down inside that I can take over games,” he said. “I have that dog in me to take over games. At the same time, I’m building my confidence even more and just going out there and playing my game, working hard and getting my work in.”