PHOENIX- Coming out the cuts is the perfect way to describe the Phoenix Suns this past season. In spite of posting a 48-34 record, the Suns barely missed the playoffs. However, had Eric Bledsoe not succumb to injury, I believe the Suns would have made the playoffs considering they went 27-13 with Bledsoe in the line-up. Bledsoe emerged into a star this season and assuming the Suns are able to bring him back next season (RFA), that’s a backcourt with a pretty bright future with him and Goran Dragic. The Suns will have a good amount of cap space this summer and with 3 picks in the first round at 14, 18, and 27, the Suns can embark into next season as potential championship contenders.
Considering it may take a pretty big amount of currency to pry Bledsoe away from the Suns, being that he’s a RFA, my money’s on that he’s back in a Suns uniform next year. That’ll lock the backcourt up so the Suns should seek to build on their frontcourt. Unfortunately, the better post players will be gone by the 14th pick so the Suns should invest in an athletic swingman. At the 14th pick the Suns draft Cleanthony Early out of Wichita State. This kid fits in exactly with what the Suns like to do, which is, being able to run the floor and shoot. He’s exceptionally athletic and is great in transition. He’ll have to learn to play the 3 because he was a PF at Wichita, but given his athletic ability and skill set, I think he’ll be able to transition right in with how Phoenix wants to play.
PICKS #18 & #27:
The Suns will be pretty thin at backup guards since Leandro Barbosa will depart to free agency. So the Suns may want to use these picks to add more shooters and guard depth to the roster. With the 18th pick the Suns should draft Kyle Anderson out of UCLA. This is a 6’9 monster who would be weapon for Gragic. He’s an efficient spot up shooter and can pass the ball effectively. He also understands the game like a coach and can draw fouls consistently. The only real drawbacks for Anderson is that he’s flat footed on defense and gets bullied sometimes in the low post. However, coach Jeff Hornaceck’s scheme fits well with the abilities this kid brings to the table. With the 27th pick, if Miami doesn’t scoop him up, the Suns should draft Shabazz Napier out of UConn. This kid carried the Huskies to a NCAA title and has traits that many coaches desire in a point guard. He’s a sneaky passer, can score the rock, and has undeniable leadership I believe his teammates will respect at the next level. He’s a little undersized, but there’s hardly any tall, dominant point guards in the western conference. He can be sporadic at times in terms of shooting, but I think that had more to do of what was asked of him playing at UConn. With all these pieces to accompany the talent already present, the Phoenix Suns are primed to make some noise out in the west.
~ Jordan Davis (@OGBarryBonds)