After hosting potential lottery picks each of the past two days, the Phoenix Suns turned their attention to the back half of the NBA Draft, where they own the 30th and 57th overall selections.
Friday’s pre-draft workout on the practice court at US Airways Center included guards Matthew Dellavedova (St. Mary’s), Korie Lucious (Iowa State), Rodney McGruder (Kansas State) and Phil Pressey (Missouri) plus forwards Ian Hummer (Princeton) and C.J. Leslie (North Carolina State).
Lucious returned for a second workout, having been a part of Thursday’s session heavy on point guards.
“I’d like to have them all just stay and hang out in Phoenix. That would make our jobs a lot easier,” GM Ryan McDonough joked. “He was around. He was willing to stay another day. It’s good to see some different matchups and have him workout against a different group of players.”
Of this group of players, Leslie, 21, would be the only one likely up for consideration with the second of the Suns’ two first round picks.
“He’s an intriguing guy if he is on the board for us at 30,” McDonough said. “He has good quickness, so if he can become a consistent elbow shooter, then guys will have to play him tighter and that will open up his driving ability with his length, which I think is one of the strengths of his game is the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket and use his quickness against bigger guys.”
Leslie is an early entry candidate, having left N.C. State after a junior year in which he averaged 15.1 points on 51.9 percent shooting.
The question he faces, as well as the team that drafts him, is at 6-foot-9 and 209 pounds, is he better suited to play small forward or power forward?
“I don’t really try to put a position on me,” said Leslie, who averaged better than seven rebounds in each of his three seasons. “I think I can play both if I must say or have to pick one. I think I can play both. I think the main thing is just coming in and just finding my role and see where I’m needed and just doing that.”
Dellavedova may be an option when the Suns’ turn comes up in the second round.
A four-year player, he left St. Mary’s as the school’s all-time leader in scoring (1,933), assists (778), three-pointers (288) and attempts (761), free throw percentage (.860), starts (133) and games played (136).
“I’m trying to show teams that I can defend, I guess, the short quick point guards because I think that’s a little bit of a misconception about me,” Dellavedova said. “I think I can defend those guys, so I think if I show that, that will definitely help me out.”
His workout with the Suns followed group workouts in Brooklyn and Minnesota as well as stops in Denver and Houston.
“When we did the shooting drills,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said, “he was really knocking down the threes.”