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Suns get first-hand look at possible draft picks

The Suns’ preparations for the 2011 NBA Draft have been ramped up a notch, as a half dozen players took part in a workout at the US Airways Center Thursday.

Projected as second rounders, Jon Diebler, Diante Garrett, JaJuan Johnson, DeAndre Liggens, Jacob Pullen and Alex Tyus all gave the Suns a first-hand look at what they can do on the basketball floor.

Unless the Suns reach with their first pick, 13th overall, or trade for another one, odds are none of the aforementioned players will be putting a Suns hat on draft night.

Given that, most people are focusing on what the Suns will do with their lottery pick, one the franchise is happy to have.

“We’re excited to have it,” general manager Lance Blanks said of the 13th pick. “We feel like we can get a good player there and someone who will have the potential to help us, whether it’s in the near-term or long-term.”

That player could end up being one of a group that is expected to be in the Valley Friday, one that could include Texas’ Jordan Hamilton, Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell and Washington State’s Klay Thompson.

All three are considered guards, and while people may think the Suns need bigs their philosophy is just to find
a good player, regardless of position.

“It’s a chance to get better and young at the same time, which is not very easy,” Blanks said. “I think when you talk about best available versus the need, I think that’s a sliding scale.”

Where the scale will ultimately stop remains to be seen, as Blanks acknowledged the team needs to improve up front and on the perimeter.

“We need to get better and a little more physical,” he said. “And then on the perimeter, it’s not a secret, we have a surplus of threes but the off-guard position is something we’d like to inject.”

Will they find that in the draft? While selecting in the lottery, there are many who feel this draft is one of the weakest in recent memory.

Choosing the word “parity” over weak, Blanks said the Suns should be able to find a player.

“In every draft there’s been good players that have come out of it, and I don’t think this draft is any different.”

ArizonaSports.com’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report


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