ESPN’s Pelton: Phoenix Suns earn a B+ for 2024 NBA Draft haul

Jun 27, 2024, 8:56 PM | Updated: 8:58 pm

The Phoenix Suns started the 2024 NBA Draft with just the No. 22 overall pick. All told, they drafted two players, reportedly agreed to terms on a two-way contract with a third player and acquired two more second-round picks down the line.

In taking Ryan Dunn 28th after trading down with the Denver Nuggets, the Suns found a potential wing stopper who could end up as a steal if his shot develops. After trading further up from No. 56 to No. 40 pivoting from their new second-round pick obtained from Denver, Phoenix added a local product in Oso Ighodaro, a smart big man who played at Desert Vista High School.

ESPN NBA analyst Kevin Pelton was a fan of the Suns’ draft, giving the team a B+ for the added defensive versatility.

“Dunn’s ability to generate steals and blocks and defend multiple positions makes him the top player available by that metric, while Ighodaro also stood out for his ability to switch on defense. Phoenix still needs both players to utilize their defensive tools — the reason they were available where they were — but the best-case versions of Dunn and Ighodaro fit ideally with the Suns’ offensive stars.”

Dunn, standing a hair above 6-foot-7 with a near-7-foot-2 wingspan, averaged 8.5 combined steals and blocks per 100 possessions as a sophomore at Virginia. He also held opponents to 28.1% on 160 shot attempts as the primary defender, dropping to an even lower 25.6% on 39 attempts at the rim, according to Synergy.

Switchable as a big man at nearly 6-foot-11 and 222 pounds, Ighodaro averaged 1.9 steals and 2.3 blocks per 100 possessions in his senior season for Marquette. Opposing teams shot 40.6% on 143 attempts with Ighodaro as the primary defender.

After the draft was over, Phoenix kept with the defensive theme in adding 3-and-D wing Jalen Bridges on a reported two-way contract. He averaged 2.0 steals per 100 possessions.

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