Gambo 3: Darius Garland, Coby White among Suns’ options at No. 6 in draft

May 15, 2019, 9:30 AM | Updated: 4:21 pm
Darius Garland of Brentwood Academy attempts a dunk during the 2018 McDonald's All American Game PO...
Darius Garland of Brentwood Academy attempts a dunk during the 2018 McDonald's All American Game POWERADE Jam Fest at Forbes Arena on March 26, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Most would agree that the number of instant-impact prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft can be counted on a single hand.

That means the Phoenix Suns, who learned Tuesday in the lottery that they will select sixth, will add either a project or a role player if they remain in their first-round draft slot.

Starting with the NBA Draft Combine this week, there’s still much time before the June 20 draft for evaluators to reshape opinions of this draft class. That said, John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station has three realistic prospects for the Suns to watch at No. 6.

And to nobody’s surprise, Gambadoro’s list of three players includes two point guards whose scoring abilities can, in theory, take the pressure off Devin Booker.

Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound freshman appeared in just five games for the Commodores in 2018-19 before suffering a season-ending meniscus injury to his knee. He averaged 16.2 points, 2.6 assists and 3.0 turnovers per game in that limited amount of action, showing his range by shooting 54% overall and 48% from three on 4.6 deep attempts per game.

His shot and his handles stand out, as he has a skillset that could have potentially pushed him out of Phoenix’s reach at No. 6 if he’d played a whole year. Despite his talent, there are questions about his point-guard abilities.

Can he learn to make the right reads and protect the ball more?

Coby White, PG, North Carolina

More of a combo guard at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, the freshman started all 35 games he played as the point for Roy Williams at North Carolina. While he is a primary ball-handler more apt to hunt his own shots, White did average 4.1 assists to go with 16.1 points per game.

White shot 42% from the floor and 35% from beyond the three-point line. He also hit 80% of his fouls shots and showed the ability to attack the rim.

His ability to push the ball aggressively was both a positive and a negative, as he put pressure on the opposing defense. But White struggled with efficiency on pull-up jumpers — he was in the 27th percentile among college players — and turned the ball over nearly a fifth of the time in transition, according to ESPN.

His improvements as a lead guard as the year went on was a positive sign.

Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech

While he’s not a point guard, Culver does have ball-handling abilities at the shooting guard or small forward spots.

At 6-foot-6, he has the potential to add to his frame and become a versatile defensive presence like he was at Texas Tech.

Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists his sophomore season in 2018-19, leading the Red Raiders to the national title game. While his shot is a question mark, he did make a massive leap from his freshman to sophomore seasons, hitting 38% of his threes compared to 30% a year ago.

He flashed high-level vision, but his shot creation for himself and others could be limited due to his lack of elite athleticism, wiggle and handles.

With the Suns, Culver would obviously add to the logjam at wing with Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren and potentially Kelly Oubre Jr. returning.

Penguin Air

Penguin Air


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the start of the the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23...
Associated Press

2022-23 NBA schedule clears Election Day of games

The NBA's schedule for the coming season will have all 30 teams playing on Nov. 7, the night before the midterm elections.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns and Dwight Powell #7 of the Dallas Mavericks jump for the ope...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get rematch vs. Mavericks on opening night, per report

The Phoenix Suns' regular season will begin at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 19, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
2 days ago
The Phoenix Suns mascot "The Gorilla" on the court before NBA game against the Golden State Warrior...
Arizona Sports

Report: Phoenix Suns to play Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day

The Phoenix Suns will head to Denver to face the Nuggets on Christmas Day this upcoming season, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported. 
3 days ago
Bill Russell, left, star of the Boston Celtics is congratulated by coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach afte...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA retires No. 6 jerseys, to add jersey patch honoring late Bill Russell

Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey is the first to be retired across the NBA. Players will wear the patch on the shoulders this year.
6 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game One of the Western Confere...
Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s NBA staff still mighty high on 2022-23 Phoenix Suns

If you were wondering why the Suns have attacked the offseason with tinkering, it might be time to remember the past two full seasons.
7 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
7 days ago
Gambo 3: Darius Garland, Coby White among Suns’ options at No. 6 in draft