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ESPN Insider: Suns should take Marquese Chriss at No. 4

Washington's Marquese Chriss (0) blocks a shot by Utah's Kyle Kuzma in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

With three selections in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft, the Suns have a lot to consider. ESPN’s Chad Ford writes what Phoenix should do with its coveted picks.

In an ESPN Insider piece that explains what teams can do to earn an “A” from Ford in the draft, the senior writer states that the Suns should use their coveted fourth overall pick to get Washington power forward Marquese Chriss.

Needs: PF, depth

No. 4: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
No. 13: Wade Baldwin IV, PG, Vanderbilt
No. 28: Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain

If Chriss is going to become a star, I like his chances best in Phoenix.

Playing with two point guards should help accelerate his development, and given where the Suns are right now as a team, he should be able to come in and earn immediate minutes.

Chriss started all 34 games as a freshman at Washington and averaged 13.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He was an honorable mention Pac-12 All-Freshman selection, and topped 20 points in a game four times. He stands at 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds.

Selecting Chriss would fill a glaring need at power forward for Phoenix, a team that deployed Markieff Morris, Mirza Teletovic and John Leuer at the four spot last season.

Ford goes on to say that with pick No. 13, Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin IV would be the wise choice.

I’m not convinced that Baldwin is a point guard, but in the modern NBA I’m not sure what that means anymore — especially on a team like the Suns. He is long and athletic, gets to the rim and has a really nice jump shot. He doesn’t necessarily make anyone around him better. Still, he has a skill set that I think will translate.

Fresh off a sophomore season in which he averaged 14.1 points, 4 blocks and 5.2 assists per game, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound guard set Vanderbilt’s record for most assists by a sophomore with 172. In his freshman year, Baldwin was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

On May 27, Baldwin worked out for the Suns with five other players.

Finally, Ford hypothesizes that Juan Hernangomez is a sensible choice for Phoenix at No. 28 overall.

Hernangomez has great size, can really stroke the 3 and has already started to establish himself in Spain. Kevin Pelton has him ranked No. 8 on his analytics Big Board. After watching him play in the ACB, you could make the case for him as a top-20 player.

As a power forward in Spain’s top league – the ACB League – Hernangomez played 34 games last year, averaging 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 23.7 minutes per game. He’s 20 years old, and is 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds.

The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 23.


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