As we are slowly approaching the end of the year, the Phoenix Suns are currently battling for the eighth spot in the Western Conference for the second straight year. After making a couple of bold moves to send away Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee, there are a few question marks for the Suns in free agency.
Before the crazy offers come onto the table though, there is the acceptance of a new generation, more commonly known as the NBA Draft.
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With the Suns likely to land another lottery pick and selecting again in the second round, let’s take a look at some draft prospects that the front office should be looking from this point on until the end of draft day.
Now, the Suns are currently sitting at the 13th and 45th selections by the outcome of their record, but they are only 2.5 games back of the eighth spot, so of course, these spots are subject to change.
Some players may decide to put off entering the draft to improve their stock in 2016. Team needs have NOT been taken into account as well.
Here are the top 3 players the Suns should look at with the 13th overall selection.
Frank Kaminsky – Power Forward (Wisconsin)
This big-bodied player should be at the top of the Suns big board. Kaminsky is a true seven-footer who is lights out from three-point range and has a decent post game. He is listed as a power forward, but could easily be put at the center position.
Averaging 18.4 points and 8.1 rebounds a night for the Badgers, the big man is definitely in the running for the Wooden award for the best player in the nation.
Nov 27, 2014; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; UCLA Bruins forward Kevon Looney (5) grabs a rebound in front of North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) during the game at Imperial Arena at Atlantis Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Looney – Power Forward (UCLA)
The upside Looney has is tremendous. He has big body with a seven-foot-three wingspan according to his measurements at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit. He is listed as a power forward but is agile enough to play the small forward position.
This season, Looney is averaging 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Bruins. He has the potential to be a good serviceable player for years to come, especially since he is only 19 years old.
Feb 16, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) dribbles the ball past West Virginia Mountaineers forward BillyDee Williams (21) during the second half at the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia won 62-61. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Kelly Oubre – Small Forward (Kansas)
At 6-foot-6, 204 pounds, Oubre already has what looks like the body of a NBA wing player. Now whether or not teams want to play him at the two or the three is up to them.
For the Suns case, playing him at the two would be a smart idea with the idea of Brandon Knight possibly taking a better offer in free agency (he is a restricted free agent so the Suns would be able to match any offer). Oubre would need a couple years to develop, but like most in the draft he is fairly young (19 years old).
Here are the top three players the Suns should look at with the 45th overall selection.
Jan 24, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) scores as Florida State Seminoles forward Jarquez Smith (5) and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) look on in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Seminoles 78-74 at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Brice Johnson – Power Forward (North Carolina)
Johnson has the height to be a power forward at 6-foot-9, but he would need to bulk up to face some of the bigger post players in the NBA. He weighs in at only 185 pounds.
He is shooting 56.5 percent from the field for the Tar Heels, and plays excellent team defense. If the Suns were to take a chance on the 20 year old, having Markieff Morris as his mentor would be extremely beneficial for the development of Johnson’s overall game.
Feb 7, 2015; Wichita, KS, USA; Wichita State Shockers guard Ron Baker (31) at Charles Koch Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Baker – Shooting Guard (Wichita State)
Baker is an older draft prospect at 21 years old, but does fit into the Suns offense as a shooter. However, Baker is fairly undersized at the two-guard.
At 6-foot-4, he would be at a disadvantage going up against shooting guards like James Harden, Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal and Iman Shumpert just to name a few. The Suns could take a chance with Baker’s shooting upside, but they may not be super excited about his size at shooting guard.
Guillermo Hernangomez – Center (Spain)
What’s not to love about international prospects!? Well, first off, Hernangomez is only 20 years old, and has a great body for a center measuring in at just under 7-foot and 255 lbs.
Of course there is a huge risk with taking an international prospect. Will his game transfer over from the European league to the NBA? Does he create an impact when he enters the game?
Those are things we may not know, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add height to this roster.