Post-lottery NBA mock drafts have Suns targeting Cs, PGs

Jun 25, 2021, 9:20 AM
MARCH 12: Jaden Springer #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers dribbles up court against the Florida Gato...
MARCH 12: Jaden Springer #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers dribbles up court against the Florida Gators during the first half of their quarterfinal game in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The NBA held its annual draft lottery Tuesday, and with the lottery order locked in, several NBA Draft analysts released their latest mocks.

Phoenix was already set to draft 29th overall after finishing with the league’s second-best regular season record, but the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers will lead off the July 29 draft day, in that order.

Here’s a look at what players will be selected ahead of Phoenix’s pick and which direction the Suns will go in the first round.

The Ringer – Kevin O’Connor

North Carolina C Day’Ron Sharpe

In his sole year with the Tar Heels, the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Sharpe averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 51% from the field.

The Suns have just about everything you could ask for, except for a hard-nosed center to backup Deandre Ayton. Though Dario Saric had a solid season occupying that role, he lacks the physicality for certain matchups. Sharpe is a hustler who absorbs rebounds and is willing to play a limited role on offense.

ESPN – Jonathan Givony

Tennessee PG Jaden Springer

The 6-foot-4 guard put up 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his one season with the Volunteers.

With much of the Suns’ backcourt depth entering free agency, it could make sense for Phoenix to swing for the fences in selecting Springer. The Tennessee guard is both one of the youngest players in this draft class and one of its best perimeter defenders. He is a strong, instinctual scorer whose ability to get out in transition and into the lane with his powerful first step should help him carve out a role as his perimeter shooting and decision-making continue to evolve.

Bleacher Report – Jonathan Wasserman

Auburn C J.T. Thor

The 6-foot-10 freshman averaged 9.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for the Tigers during the 2020-21 season.

We’ve predicted Thor rising for the past month, and after measuring a 7’3¼” wingspan, his case continues to improve.

Thor had stretches of creating problems in the paint — he had three games this past college basketball season where he recorded four blocks.

SB Nation – Ricky O’Donnell

Illinois G Ayo Dosunmu

The Big Ten Player of the Year and AP All-American First Team member averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.

In his third year at Illinois, Dosunmu led the program to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since it reached the championship game in 2005. While the Illini were upset in the round of 32, Dosunmu still had a terrific season that saw him earn first team All-American honors. The 6’5 guard will likely have to transition from the on-ball role he had in college to more of an off-ball complementary role, but he has the frame and scoring instincts to pull it off as long as his three-point shot (39.0 percent on 82 attempts) continues to come around.

CBS Sports – Gary Parrish

West Virginia PG Miles McBride

As a sophomore, the 6-foot-2 McBride averaged 15.8 points and 4.9 assists per game. He improved his shooting splits from 40% overall and 30% from deep as a freshman to 43% and 41% from three this past year.

If the Suns decide to add some backcourt depth, Miles McBride would be a reasonable option. He’s a guard who gets after it defensively and shoots it reliably — evidence being the fact that he shot 41.4% from 3-point range this past season, and 81.3% from the free-throw line while leading West Virginia to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Athletic – Sam Vecenie

North Carolina C Day’Ron Sharpe

Sharpe is a weird center prospect whose best skills are his rebounding and his passing. A 6-11 center, Sharpe made some of the best, most creative passes I saw from any prospect on the move this past season. He clearly processes the game well and seems to understand spatially where his teammates are. He’s a big-bodied guy and a bit heavy-footed, so there are defensive concerns. But his brand of toughness on the inside and passing is a fun combination.

CBS Sports – Kyle Boone

North Carolina C Day’Ron Sharpe

Phoenix’s roster and postseason run is a masterclass in team-building and it deserves a tip of the cap. But the Suns, incredibly, are a conference finals team with only one true center in De’Andre Ayton. It’s a position they need to address after getting very little production from 2020 first-round center Jalen Smith. Sharpe is a high-energy, rebounding force who could give Phoenix a different dimension at the position with his big body and ability to run the floor.

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Post-lottery NBA mock drafts have Suns targeting Cs, PGs