Suns get looks at Labissiere and Poeltl — two big men with different skills
The Phoenix Suns’ final two draft workouts on Wednesday featured Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere and Utah center Jakob Poeltl. Both hit the court on their own in a one-on-none setting.
Each has the potential to go in the lottery, but have advanced to this point with different skills.
In a perfect world, Labissiere develops into a prototypical modern big man, one that can space the court as jump shooter, finish as the dive man in the pick-and-roll, protect the rim, rebound and use his lateral quickness to defend on the perimeter.
This is great in theory, but Labissiere has a long way to go to make that package of skills a reality. And working against Labissiere is the fact he’s already 20-years-old and considerably older than most players leaving college after their freshman season.
“Like anybody, you take their age into consideration when evaluating them,” said Suns assistant general manager Pat Connelly. “He’s still a pretty young kid. He might be a little older than his class, but still young enough to project out. One year of college experience so it doesn’t change it too much.”
According to Draft Express, Labissiere only averaged 5.5 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes, the second-lowest in their database for players expected to be drafted. On the positive side, he put up an impressive 4.2 blocks per 40 minutes.
There’s a lot of this when it comes to analyzing Labissiere’s game — there’s good to take away, but it’s almost always countered by some negative which makes it incredibly difficult to figure out how his game is going to translate at the next level.
With Poeltl, you know what you’re going to get. He’s an old school big man that will give you points, rebounds and good interior passing. Poeltl averaged 17.3 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a sophomore.
The question is how will these skills translate into team success?
He doesn’t have great lateral quickness or length for a seven-foot center, which impacts him on the defensive end. If Poeltl can’t anchor a defense at the NBA level, that greatly hampers his value to a team.
Poeltl and Labissiere both represent risks to whatever team drafts them, just in different ways.