The NBA Draft Lottery balls bounced as projected on Tuesday, meaning the Phoenix Suns’ will pick fourth in the 2016 draft.
But what are their options there?
Mock drafts have already provided possibilities. With the lottery holding to form, the Suns’ options compared to those previews don’t change drastically with the Sixers, Lakers and Celtics owning the three picks ahead of them.
Of the available players, here are four options the Suns should heavily consider with the fourth overall pick.
Dragan Bender, F, International
At 7-foot-1, Bender moves like a wing and has a game far more suited for the perimeter. He’s a capable 3-point shooter and possesses enough ball-handling and court vision to be at least an average playmaker. His biggest strength is easily his defensive versatility. He has tremendous lateral movement for a big man and will be able to switch on perimeter players with ease. The rest of his game coming together is the question and will determine how good he can truly be. Can he protect the rim, rebound with his thin frame, attack off the bounce to become a playmaker and create his own offense — from the inside and outside?
Bender, projected to go third in many mock drafts, would be a great pick for the Suns at fourth overall. They have most of their spots filled at center and guard, but need wings. With Marquette power forward Henry Ellenson and California small forward Jaylen Brown slipping on big boards throughout this draft’s process, Phoenix has to be nervous about selecting either at No. 4.
– Kellan Olson
Jaylen Brown, F, Cal
The stock of the 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward wasn’t aided much by his single season at California. Then again, it didn’t tank much either. Brown suffered mightily with a broken jumper and a poorly-put-together Golden Bears offense last year. Nonetheless, he played on the best Pac-12 team when it came to field-goal defense and is considered one of the most athletic and physically NBA-ready players in the draft.
Brown can play small forward and potentially as a small-ball power forward in the NBA, and he has the playmaking abilities in the open court, providing hope he will become more than an athletic non-shooter. While many would see Brown as the best option for Phoenix, it remains questionable how he would fit on a Phoenix team that the past season needed more than just Devin Booker to space the court and could use less-turnover-prone players across the board.
There is risk involved here, but the same can be said for just about every other option.
– Kevin Zimmerman
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
Dunn resembles Russell Westbrook, not only with the electricity his athleticism brings to a game but also his flaws as a player. He tries to do too much, is not a reliable 3-point shooter and has lapses on defense far too often to be considered a plus on that end. With that in mind, Dunn is still a special point guard prospect because of the player he could become if he plays with more consistency and control.
He’s improved as a shooter in his four years at Providence, has immaculate court vision and passing ability, and could be an All-Defense player at the next level if he’s fully locked in. He sets fear into the opposition when he starts the break in transition and creates even more opportunities for himself by racking up rebounds and steals.
Dunn will test the big question of if the Suns can take another guard at No. 4 despite Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin already being on the roster, and Bogdan Bogdanovic possibly coming over next season. Maybe that’s not the case by the time the draft is over, making the decision easier.
– Kellan Olson
Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
Murray’s fame beyond the blue-chip recruiting circuit began to grow during the summer of 2015 when, prior to his freshman year at Kentucky, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard was the leader of a Pan-American Canadian squad that upset the United States. His 22 points — all scored in the fourth quarter and overtime — combined with his six assists displayed his tenacity and skillset against much older Americans with college experience.
The Suns may be hesitant to draft another Kentucky guard to join their three but first, they will have to conclude he’s not the best available prospect. That Murray scored 20 points per game with 45 percent from the field and 41 percent from three as a freshman for UK can’t be overlooked, nor can his winning pedigree. Some may question whether he’s more of a scoring point guard and many will wonder if his lack of explosion will dull the offensive traits provided by an excellent skillset.
There are much better athletes in the draft but not many players who have better, tougher mindsets when it comes to scoring. He’s got Arron Afflalo upside.
– Kevin Zimmerman
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