The Suns continued their preparation for the 2016 NBA Draft with a double workout featuring 12 prospects on Memorial Day. Here are the headliners that Phoenix got a look at from the practice court at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis
Draft Express Ranking: 19th overall prospect
Relevant Statistics: Ulis is one of the most skilled guards in the draft but has major questions about his size. He measured as 5’10’ and 149 pounds at the NBA Draft Combine. If it wasn’t for that he would be considered a sure-fire lottery pick. As a sophomore, Ulis averaged 17.3 points per game, seven assists, three rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He did all of this with shooting splits of .434/.344/.856 (FG%/3P%/FT%).
Quote: “I feel like the game is getting smaller with the way the Warriors are playing, spacing the floor out, starting to rely on the three-point shot a lot. I just work on my shot, obviously get stronger because of my size. I feel like with the open spacing, I can use my IQ, and the way I play with the ball screens, and use my quickness to my advantage.” — Tyler Ulis
Vanderbilt center Damian Jones
Draft Express Ranking: 22nd overall prospect
Relevant Statistics: Jones played like a throwback back to the basket big at the college level. He used his post game to to shoot .590 percent from the field during his junior season and averaged 13.9 points per game. Jones added 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. He only shot eight three-pointers in three years with the Commodores and struggled from the free throw line shooting .565 percent on over 500 attempts.
Quote:“Very athletic, very bouncy. Really nice, smart kid, who was an engineering major at Vanderbilt. Very, very athletically talented. He had a good workout, very bouncy.” — Suns assistant general manager Pat Connelly on Damian Jones.
High school big man Thon Maker
Draft Express Ranking: 40th overall prospect
Relevant Statistics: There really aren’t any. Nbadraft.net compares him to Chris McCullough, who was a late first-round pick by the Nets out of Syracuse last year. Maker is an extremely raw prospect with excellent physical attributes. What we were able to see at the workout showed his jumper needs a lot of work — his base is too wide, release inconsistent and he doesn’t land in the same spot consistently. Maker does work hard; he finished with the best 3:00 minute run of his group hitting 27.
Quote: “My shot ability, defensive part also, communication as a leader, being a good teammate. Also a competitive person both on the court and off the court. I hold everyone accountable for everything and myself.” — Thon Maker on what part of his game translates to the NBA.
Arizona guard Gabe York
Draft Express Ranking: Not in top 100
Relevant Statistics: This was York’s third stop on the workout circuit after making visits to the Kings and Celtics. He played four years at Arizona and is looking to prove he can become a full-time point guard at the next level due to his size (6’3″). York will have to show he can be more of a playmaker after averaging only a career-high 2.2 assists per game as a senior. His strength is his shooting — York made .402-percent of his threes on 509 attempts during his time with the Wildcats.
Quote: “Oh my goodness, that’s an everyday thing. Coach Miller, I love you, I’m sorry. He’s had to change his shirt at halftime every game. He told me a story about how his tailor was supposed to give him a lighter shirt that wouldn’t make him sweat as much, but in reality with the thinner material he sweat way more. He had to switch it maybe three or four times that game — Gabe York on the Sean Miller NCAA Tournament shirt incident.
Others at the workout were NC State point guard Anthony Barber, Maryland forward Robert Carter Jr., french guard Isaia Cordinier, Kentucky forward Alex Poythress, Syracuse guard Michael Gbinije, Kansas forward Perry Ellis, California guard Tyrone Wallace and Indiana forward Troy Williams.
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