The Phoenix Suns started the process of reshaping their roster Thursday night, adding two players to the fold.
In the first round, they selected Kentucky sharpshooter Devin Booker with the 13th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
Later in the evening, the Suns drafted another Kentucky guard, Andrew Harrison, and dealt him to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran big man Jon Leuer.
The moves do fill needs for Phoenix, a team that sorely lacked shooting accuracy and veteran leadership during a disappointing 39-43 campaign.
Here’s some of the national reaction to what general manager Ryan McDonough engineered Thursday night.
Chad Ford, ESPN
The Suns needed shooting and Booker has a claim on being the best shooter in the draft. He’s an obvious fit. I’m not sold he’ll be more than just a shooter. But with shooting coming at a premium these days, he’s solid value at No. 13. Harrison deserves a look and I thought he was a good fit at No. 44. I doubt Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe are playing together next year. Maybe, but I think it’s more likely Bledsoe gets traded if the Suns can re-sign Knight. When that happens, Harrison will have a chance to prove the NBA wrong. He feels his game is better suited to the pros. I’m glad the Suns gave him a shot. If he puts in the work and quits trying to live off his high school laurels, he has a chance to be a good pro. Grade: B
Amin Elhassan, ESPN
In the words of the late Cotton Fitzsimmons, the former Suns head coach and exec, “You can never have too many shooters.” The Suns didn’t have enough shooters last season: Despite being in the top 10 in 3-pointers made and attempted, they were bottom 10 in accuracy. The hope is Booker can help improve that area of need — if Phoenix can clear out some of the roster glut at the wing position. I also liked the move of their second-round selection (Andrew Harrison) for Memphis reserve big Jon Leuer. He’s not a world beater, but he also brings shooting as a stretch big man, a role they haven’t been able to fill since losing Channing Frye in free agency last summer. Thumbs Up
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report
Devin Booker, arguably the draft’s top shooter, is an excellent fit in Phoenix. He’s at his best scoring off the ball, which is key, given the Suns’ ball-dominant backcourt.
Booker’s top skill is spotting up and knocking down jumpers off screens. He is reminiscent of Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick — a complementary shot-maker who can support what’s around him.
Booker doesn’t project as a go-to option, but as the youngest prospect in the draft, he’ll have the chance to expand on his one-on-one skills over the next few seasons.
A four-year NBA veteran, Leuer is a backup 4-man at best. His mid-range game is respectable and he’s flirted with three-point range. In exchange for Andrew Harrison, Leuer is at least a safe bet for Phoenix in that they know what they’re getting.
Overall Grade: B+
Scott Gleeson, USA Today
Drafting Kentucky’s backcourt wasn’t a bad strategy. Devin Booker (No. 13) has Klay Thompson potential with his shooting ability. Andrew Harrison (No. 44) improved his decision-making over two years with the Wildcats and at 6-5, has the frame to be a decent backup PG immediately. Grade: B
Kevin O’Connor, SB Nation
Booker will likely receive an opportunity with an exodus of free agents in Phoenix. He’s a true sharpshooter, but this is also likely a case of “best player available,” since the Suns could use some help in the frontcourt.
Fit: B | Opportunity: B
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports
The John Calipari infomercial continued Thursday night when Booker became the fourth Kentucky player selected in the lottery. Booker is an elite shooter with good size for his position. He has a chance to develop into a Klay Thompson-esque wing if his defense and ability to create off the dribble develop. Grade: A.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports
Good value here for Booker, and he fills a big need for the Suns. Just having a shooter like that will open up things for the rest of their roster, and they’re deep enough to not have to worry about his lack of versatility. Grade: B
Scott Rafferty, Sporting News
The Suns need perimeter shooting, so adding Booker was a good fit.
Having only recently turned 19, Booker is far younger than most of the players in the draft. (Editor’s note: Booker doesn’t turn 19 until late October.) His finishing ability at the rim is in question, and while he is no slouch on defense he may struggle to match up against the NBA’s bulkier 2-guards. He’s a specialisty, however, and there’s always value in stockpiling 3-point shooters. Grade: B+