With the NBA Draft less than a week away, the speculation on how the first round will shake out continues to grow.
After finishing out of the playoffs for the fifth straight season, the Phoenix Suns hold the 13th overall selection in the first round.
If you’ve been keeping up with the Mock Draft Tracker on ArizonaSports.com, you know there have been many different players (14 to be exact) linked to the Suns with that pick.
According to NBA Draft expert Ryan Blake, there is a player that makes a lot of sense for the Suns in the first round. That player is Bobby Portis of Arkansas.
“I like this guy,” Blake told Doug and Wolf Friday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He’s a power forward that has versatility, length, maturity and IQ. He scores inside and out, he’s got the mid-range, he can shoot it deep.”
Portis, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound sophomore, showed a lot of those attributes in 2014-15, when he was named the SEC Player of the Year. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Razorbacks, who won 27 games and were ousted by North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s a coach’s dream. He can play in any system,” Blake said. “He’s versatile and he plays to win. When you have someone like that at that size, it’s hard to overlook. And there’s not a lot of people talking about him — at least that’s what the guys in my office are saying.”
Portis worked out for the Suns June 2, and impressed head coach Jeff Hornacek with his rebounding and defense.
One player a lot of people are talking about is Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky, who could feasibly be on the board when the Suns are on the clock next Thursday night.
“Frank the Tank” is another player Blake really likes.
“I don’t think he’s at his ceiling — he didn’t play much his first two years and he keeps getting better and better,” he said. “I want to see him get stronger, but here’s a guy that coaches drool over. He can stretch defenses, he’s a rebounder, he’s a passer. He does all those things.”
Kaminsky had a magical senior season for the Badgers, leading them to the Final Four for the second consecutive season while winning the Naismith and John Wooden awards as the national player of the year. The 7-footer averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 42 percent from three-point range.
“Wherever you get him, he’s going to be in the league for a number of years. Whether or not he turns into a franchise player, he can make a team better. He can do it on the defensive end and he can do it on the offensive end.
“It might take half-a-year, and if he makes that impact, that’s okay. If only turns into a 10-and-8 guy, that’s okay for ten years, that’s okay because you can get him inexpensively.”
Kaminsky worked out in Phoenix June 4, but had to leave the session after an accidental headbutt led to needing five stitches over his left eye.
The draft gets underway Thursday night in Brooklyn, with the Minnesota Timberwolves in ownership of the first overall pick.