PHOENIX — Good thing the Phoenix Suns’ practice court at US Airways Center was refurbished recently. It’s been used quite a lot the past two-and-a-half weeks.
Counting Wednesday’s pre-draft workout, 66 different pairs of shoes have been running up and down the court.
Missouri junior point guard Jordan Clarkson was the highest projected prospect among the six draft hopefuls in for the team’s 11th workout. He’s considered by many to be a late first round pick and therefore perhaps a possibility for the Suns at No. 27.
“He’s got good length,” GM Ryan McDonough said of the 6-foot-5 Clarkson. “He shoots the ball, I think, a lot better than his percentages indicate. His stroke looked good out here today. He’s a talented player. He’s got physically pretty much everything you’re looking for.”
Clarkson ranked seventh in the SEC in scoring at 17.5 points per game, an improvement over his 16.5 point average as a first team All-Conference USA selection his sophomore year at Tulsa before transferring to Missouri.
According to head coach Jeff Hornacek, during the NBA Combine in Chicago, Clarkson’s shooting stood out, which has been an area of his game that he’s worked hard to improve upon, specifically shooting at a higher release point.
“I had a dominant role (in) scoring at Missouri,” said Clarkson, who shot 44.7 percent but only 28.1 percent from three last season. “So you really didn’t get to see any of my playmaking abilities, but I’m a point guard coming into this draft. I can play the ‘2’. I can guard the ‘2’. I can guard the ‘3’. I’m versatile on the defensive end as well. I feel like I have a lot to offer to a team.”
Clarkson joined a workout that included Oklahoma senior shooting guard Cameron Clark, Marquette senior power forward Davante Gardner, Cal senior power forward Richard Solomon, Gonzaga senior point guard David Stockton and Southeastern Missouri St. senior small forward Tyler Stone.
Stockton is the son of Hall of Fame point guard and the NBA’s career assists leader, John Stockton.
“It’s been a complete help,” Stockton said of the last name he shares with his father. “To have him to workout with, not too many people have that opportunity. Him telling you that, ‘you can play with these guys. I was your size when I was coming out.’ The same issues he had then are the same ones I have now. It’s great to have him throughout the journey.”
Stockton, listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, led Gonzaga in assists in both his junior and senior seasons.
“His passing ability really stood out today,” McDonough said. “He was one of the better passers we’ve had in throughout the workout process.”
Of course that had to have been expected given his lineage, right?
“His last name is Stockton, what else would he do?” said McDonough, smiling.
The workout reunited Stockton and Hornacek, who coached the young Stockton in grade school while he was teammates with John in Utah.
“He’s taken a step up from that,” Stockton joked.
Added Hornacek, “David was a guy that you could see back when he was in fourth grade that he had a good feel for the game. He knows how to play, makes great passes. He showed that today. I’ll call John…and tell him David did great today.”