LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 26: Markieff Morris (L) #21 and his twin brother Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks appear on the bench late in the team's 98-41 victory over the Ohio Bobcats during the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational at The Orleans Arena November 26 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Monday's workout in Phoenix rocks pretty darn hard. We're talking 6 guys facing off, 5 of whom directly figure into the Suns draft range at #13.
Want a shiny new PG prospect who can shoot like crazy and sell tickets? Enter Jimmer Fredette.
Want a real bonafide defensive stopper on the wing who can swallow up the other team's best scorer? Heeere's Chris Singleton.
Want an Al Harrington type who can play either forward position and score in a variety of ways? Take Marcus Morris.
Or how 'bout a tougher version of Channing Frye, who can hit the 3 AND defend the post? You got Marcus' brother Markieff.
Maybe you'd rather a totally raw, athletically gifted power forward who still needs to learn the game of basketball? Then Tristan Thompson might just be your man.
Let's take a look at the matchups.
At point guard, young Jimmer Fredette faces off against rising Iman Shumpert. We all know the stories about Jimmer for the past year, including a big fan of his in Eutychus right here on this blog. If he works out as a legit NBA player, Jimmer could put the butts in the seats long after Steve Nash rides into the sunset. But Jimmer will have his hands full with Iman Shumpert. Shumpert showed great abilities at the NBA draft combine and has making the rounds in workouts so far. He's a 6'6" combo guard who played point at Georgia Tech.
(Kemba Walker was originally slated to face Jimmer, but he turned down the offer due to nagging injury)
Another pairing has 6'9" swingman Marcus Morris (similar to Al Harrington) facing defensive dynamo-to-be Chris Singleton. Both guys figure to play their careers swinging between positions, Morris between PF and SF and Singleton between SF and SG. Both are probably best suited to SF.
The final pairing is the biggest and most interesting. The Suns are desperately in need of a new Power Forward, and the two who figure to be most available at the 13 spot are battling each other on Monday in Phoenix - 6'9" Markieff Morris against 6'9" Tristan Thompson.
Interestingly, Thompson profiles much like the Suns' own prospect Gani Lawal. Their pre-draft strengths and weaknesses mirror each other - slightly short, long arms to compensate, high motor, great on rebounding, second-bounces and putbacks, few go-to moves, plays more like a center than a forward on offense.
Also interestingly, word leaked on Sunday that Thompson was starting to pull out of workouts with late-lottery teams, hinting he had a promise in his back pocket from someone. Yet, within the same hour he himself tweeted "what's up, phoenix?" Ah, the amount of disinformation at this time of year...
Thompson will body up against Markieff Morris who blossomed in his brother's shadow at Kansas, finishing his career as a guy works hard under the basket on defense and stretches the floor all the way to the 3-point line on offense. He is physically ready for the NBA but has probably already shown his entire skillset, whereas Thompson and Lawal are relative mounds of clay ready to be molded.
None of the forwards attending Monday's workout are taller than 6'9", which is why they are slotted for mid-round I guess. And their talent level is not off the charts.
Highest boom/bust potential? Fredette and Thompson.
Safest picks, though their ceilings are lower? the Morris twins.
Research these guys at Draftexpress.com and nbadraft.net, amongst other well-known sites. What I find crazy, less than 2 weeks before the draft, is how dramatically different each site's MOCK DRAFT is. I mean, Shumpert is projected at #22 on one site and #54 on another. Thompson is projected at #6 on one site, #13 on the other. And so on...