PHOENIX SUNS

ESPN mock draft has Suns taking Duke’s Kyle Filipowski

May 25, 2024, 7:07 AM

Duke's Kyle Filipowski drives in on Houston's J'Wan Roberts in the second half of the sweet 16 roun...

Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils drives as J'Wan Roberts #13 of the Houston Cougars defends during the second half of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 29, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Suns can add to their center depth via the 2024 NBA Draft, and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo mocked that out with Phoenix selecting Duke big man Kyle Filipowski with the 22nd overall pick.

The Suns are in a precarious position as they attempt to construct a contender around their trio of highly paid stars. Phoenix is spending more aggressively than any team in the league and has also traded away control of its future drafts with picks and swap rights outgoing through 2030. It’s imperative it cultivates talent on rookie contracts to help balance the roster.

Expect the Suns to look for a ready-made contributor at this spot, with Filipowski’s size and skill level adding a potentially useful dimension to their frontcourt. Phoenix also has a glaring need for a true point guard, which is something it will likely consider here as well.

The 7-foot Filipowski averaged 15.8 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds in two years at Duke. He and New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson are the only players in Duke history to be named ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP in the same season.

Filipowski is also one of seven Blue Devils over the past 50 years to eclipse the 1,000-point milestone over two years and the 69th Blue Devil all-time to achieve the milestone.

With the Suns being in win-now mode, there are scenarios for them to trade the pick to build a more complete roster around their trio of stars. Phoenix traded away control of its future drafts with picks and swap rights outgoing through 2030.

There is still a possibility the Suns could look to move on from this year’s pick but not until the day of the NBA draft, which takes place June 26.

Given the Suns’ lack of depth last season, Filipowski could slide into a backup center role behind Jusuf Nurkic.

Arizona Wildcats go in 2nd round of the 2024 NBA Draft

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson and forward Keshad Johnson got off the draft board in the second round of ESPN’s mock draft. Larsson headed to the Charlotte Hornets at 42nd overall, while Johnson went 47th overall to the Orlando Magic.

After spending one year at Utah, Larsson transferred to Arizona. In three seasons as a Wildcat, Larsson averaged 9.9 points per game, 2.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 49.4% from the field and 38.5% from three.

Johnson spent one season as a Wildcat after transferring from San Diego State and averaged 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 24 points and eight rebounds against Purdue back on Dec. 16.

He also started all 36 games for the Wildcats, increasing his streak of 107 consecutive starts dating back to when he was at SDSU.

Other local connections

Colorado wing Cody Williams: The younger brother of Oklahoma City guard Jalen Williams, is projected to go 12th overall to the Thunder. Williams grew up in Gilbert and followed in the footsteps of his brother by attending Perry High School.

In his time as a Puma, he averaged 18 points per game and led Perry to the 2023 Arizona Open Division state championship.

Listed as the No. 7 recruit in the ESPN 100 list for the class of 2023, Williams committed to Colorado. In his lone season with the Buffaloes, Williams started 18 of 24 games playaed and averaged 11.6 points, 1.6 assists and three rebounds per game.

Dayton center DaRon Holmes II: The big man is projected to go 50th overall to the Indiana Pacers. Holmes grew up in Goodyear, Ariz., and attended Millennium High School where he averaged 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals across three seasons.

He briefly transferred to Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, but then transferred back to the Grand Canyon State to AZ Compass Prep in Chandler.

In his three years as a Flyer, Holmes averaged 17.1 points per game, 1.9 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

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ESPN mock draft has Suns taking Duke’s Kyle Filipowski