Steve Lavin: Suns’ Earl Watson would be a great mentor for Providence guard Kris Dunn

Jun 22, 2016, 9:46 AM | Updated: 9:47 am
Providence guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts to play against North Carolina during the first half of a sec...
Providence guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts to play against North Carolina during the first half of a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
LISTEN: Steve Lavin, Pac-12 Network basketball analyst

Providence guard Kris Dunn is a day away from becoming a high draft pick for an NBA team.

Will that team be the Phoenix Suns?

Dunn made headlines by stating that he didn’t want to be drafted by a team that had a lot of guards already on the roster. Although he didn’t mention any teams by name, the Suns, who will draft at number-four, and the Boston Celtics, who currently own the third pick, fit into that category.

Dunn didn’t work out for Phoenix or Boston and people also refused to send medical records to either team, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the board for either heading into Thursday’s draft.

The fact remains that Dunn is one of the best players available in this year’s class, and a coach who faced him for three years in college is singing his praises.

“There’s no doubt that Kris Dunn has the gifts on both sides of the ball,” Steve Lavin told Doug and Wolf Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Offensively, he’s very smooth. He’s a fluid player, there’s a grace or an ease that he plays the game with. He sees the floor well. His wingspan, his anticipation, his quickness help him on the defensive side of the ball.”

The former St. John’s head coach, who faced Dunn’s Providence teams seven times from 2012 to 2015, did point out one area where he thinks Dunn could still use some help.

“Like any player at this stage of their career, there are many areas they need to improve in,” Lavin said. “A mentor like an Earl Watson, who played the point guard position for 13 years in the NBA and at the highest levels in college at UCLA — Earl naturally brings that toughness and tenacity.

“Earl would be a great mentor for Kris Dunn and would continue to develop his game. Ed Cooley did a tremendous job with Kris at Providence, but I think Earl could continue that growth, take the baton from Coach Cooley and mentor Kris into an elite-level point guard in the NBA. I think he would ultimately end up being a good fit. There are naturally going to be growing pains as players make the jump from college to the NBA, but there’s nobody better than Earl Watson to help navigate Kris Dunn to the next level.”

Dunn played four years at Providence, leading the Friars to three NCAA Tournament appearances. He averaged 16.2 points per game and was a two-time Big East Player of the Year selection.

In addition to the fourth overall pick, the Suns also own the 13th and 28th picks in the first round and the 34th overall pick in the second round.

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Steve Lavin: Suns’ Earl Watson would be a great mentor for Providence guard Kris Dunn