Suns target perimeter help in post-lottery NBA mock drafts
May 17, 2023, 6:47 PM
The NBA Draft Lottery conducted Tuesday did little to impact the Phoenix Suns, who don’t have a first-round pick in 2023 and currently hold a second-round pick.
Nonetheless, it’s a good time to evaluate what Phoenix — which needs cheap bodies — can do with that No. 52 overall pick if it hangs onto it.
A quick scan of two-round mock drafts looks like so:
2023 NBA mock draft results for the Suns
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie: Miami F Jordan Miller
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony: Eastern Michigan F Emoni Bates
Yahoo! Sports’ Krysten Peek: Illinois G Terrence Shannon Jr.
NBADraft.net: Illinois G Terrence Shannon Jr.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman: Dayton C DaRon Holmes
ForTheWin’s Bryan Kalbrosky: San Jose State G Omari Moore
What are the themes?
Unsurprisingly, four of the six names are perimeter players with at least four years of college experience. Those players are high-floor prospects and potential contributors immediately.
They slot in as complementary role players alongside Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Moore is a slight but lanky 6-foot-6 guard who has playmaking value. He averaged 17.4 points on 42% shooting last season as his increased volume from a year prior hurt his efficiency. He has a triple-double on his college resume and a strong feel for whipping the ball from strongside to weakside.
Miller was a featured but highly efficient player for a Final Four squad in Miami. At 6-foot-7, he has decent handles to attack the rim in isolation and elite touch and length (nearly a 7-foot wingspan) to get shots off in the restricted area. He shot 55% overall and 35% from deep, with limited three-point attempts and nearly all of those opportunities in spot-up situations. Because he played for Jim Larranaga, we can assume his defensive want-to and upside are high.
Shannon played four years at Texas Tech and one more at Illinois. He’s erratic but aggressive as a transition scorer, a strong-bodied defender and decent enough passer, though his shot selection might have room for improvement.
Holmes and Bates would be more surprising picks and stray from ready-to-go pieces.
Holmes is an undersized center at 6-foot-10 with some signs he could add jump-shooting and stretch value. The Goodyear, Ariz., product averaged 18.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.7 assists per game. Whether teams project his defensive abilities as good enough to handle NBA power forwards or switching onto wings and surviving could change his value.
Bates, once one of the most heralded high school recruits, flopped at Memphis as a freshman and transferred to Eastern Michigan this past season.
He averaged 19.2 points per game but with his very slim 6-foot-10 frame — he weighed in at the combine at 179 pounds. Bates shot 41% overall and 33% from deep, taking half of his attempts there. Before the season, he was arrested on concealed carry charges and later had those dropped to misdemeanor levels.