Been a LONG time since I've done a post under this alias (or any for that matter), but it's that time of year where I make my annual appearance and propose my own theories amongst the Bright Side populace. Despite the conference finals still in swing, I figure I'd provide some fodder for the hardcore followers of the site. So here goes!
The good 'ole draft is a few mere weeks away, and today begins the draft combine so we'll get a better look at how some of these guys look in prescribed activities. I'm not a huge fan of what it portrays as it doesn't fully display the mental aspect that is crucial amongst successful NBA players. These won't be overly stat analytical or anything of the sort, but rather a personal take on each individual; I feel like I observe intangible things more so than the box score. In honor of Walter Davis, I'll cover 6 guys that have the potential to be drafted by the Suns.
Kendall Marshall - PG
This should really go without mentioning at this point. He is, hands down, the best pure passer this draft has to offer.. I won't go into too much detail since 7footer did such a good job here, and I can attest to the opinions and conclusions he's made, especially being a life long UNC fan. I feel it should be made more aware that his offense, at this point, is marginal at best. His quickness and athleticism leave something to be had and has an inconsistent jump shot despite having a fluid motion. However, this can be developed as he's shown flashes of offensive potential in his two years. The key thing is that he has the intangibles and know-how that can't be taught, which should allow him to become a great point guard in the league. At worst, he can be Jose Calderon. At best? That's for him to decide.
Dion Waiters - SG
Dion is an intriguing prospect, to say the least. Defensively, he's been a menace, averaging 1.8 SPG and his overall effort being something that can't be described by numbers. In the few Syracuse games I saw, Waiters was very aggressive in ball denial and forcing his man into traps within the zone. This tenacity on defense should warrant him lottery choice, however the true mystique is in his offense. He oozes with potential, despite his frequent inconsistencies. If he's shows the focus that he does on defense on the other end, there is no reason that his flashes of offensive brilliance cannot become a mainstay in his game. He's particularly effective in the pick and roll, and uses his well built frame to shrug off smaller defenders, which should allow him to flourish in our system. In that respect, I see a similar approach to attacking the basket as Tyreke Evans. His jump shot, however, is iffy, as he doesn't have the confidence to remain patient in his release, and sometimes just forces shots up. He shot a respectable 36% from behind the arc this year, but it creates questions which part of his offense we would need more in this system. Today will be big in showing if he's taken an interest in improving the consistency of his jump shot. If that's the case, don't be surprised to see him fall in the top 10.
Perry Jones III - PF/SF(?)
This will probably be the least thorough analysis as he's also been covered before. I have only seen three Baylor games, which is obviously to small a sample size to judge how he plays. However I saw three different players. First game was his second time up against Mizzuo. He forced tough shots early on an never got into a rhythm, and that took out the confidence of the whole team it felt like. He had a size advantage over their whole team and was unable to instill his will. The second match-up was in the Sweet 16 against Xavier. He was efficient, as he was 7-8, but I feel he took a back seat, and it worked out as they moved on. I just feel that it showed his current unwillingness to take control despite his massive potential. The last game was in the Elite 8 vs. Kentucky. They were clearly outplayed in that game by one of the best teams of the decade. But what impressed me was his turnaround from the previous game and willingness to be "the guy" and at least attempted to take charge against a superior opponent. That's when I decided he is either going to be like Boris Diaw or Lamar Odom or as close to either one you can get. He is too passive, similar to Diaw despite having a rather unique skill set. But he has had a tendency to take over on occasion, like Odom. I feel he's either gonna go Top 10, or he might even drop out of the lottery. But I believe that his size and skill is something you can't say no to in the NBA.
Jeremy Lamb - SG
I won't lie, I only started like this kid last year after UConn began their impressive run to the national title. He had good instincts on where to be on offense and had a sweet looking jumper. This year, he seemed to be more consistent with his dribble pull ups and coming off elbow screens. There is just one thing that deters me from an otherwise outstanding offensive repertoire, and that's his attitude on the court. He has a blank expression, almost like a zombie. Only zombies actually have a killer instinct. His face wouldn't annoy me if he played hard consistently, but he doesn't. That's not to say it won't change, but that is a pretty decent sized red flag. He seems to check out of games, which won't impress scouts at the next level. He has great offense and is an active defender, but I can't get over his passiveness, especially with the physical tools he has. He's in my Top 3 of potential draft busts, and I hope he proves me wrong.
John Henson - PF
Another Tar-Heel who it's hard to delve into too much detail with because what you see is what you get. He has potential pouring out of him offensively, but for this draft that is just the icing. If you're looking at Henson, you know you need defense and rebounding. He's still a little wiry, but he moves very quickly and has pretty good coordination, unlike Robin Lopez. That said, he's a pretty good foil to Gortat being that he's more defensive minded and will look to crash the offensive boards. I notice that he plays under control, but with a high motor. I don't want to compare him to Tyson Chandler skill wise, but defensively he has a similar demeanor; passionate but collected. The biggest draw back is that he has gobs of potential on both ends of the court, which means he'll probably be long gone unless we move up (which I touch on later). He needs to get bigger, and I believe 245 is the right weight for him to have maximum effectiveness on both ends, given that he'll still the same mobility, but he'll be able to post up defenders more easily and prevent the opposition from the doing the same to him. He probably won't drop to us, but stranger things have happened.
Austin Rivers - SG
I'm gonna be real with everyone, I.HATE.THIS.GUY. I didn't talk for three days after his buzzer beater on UNC. I couldn't stand him or everyone projecting him to the Suns. I couldn't allow myself to. After we blew them out, I felt better about myself and even Rivers as well. Doc Rivers is one of the most well liked coaches in the league, and one of my favorites as well, which is why I didn't understand how Austin could be so arrogant. That's exactly what I've come to appreciate about him though. Look at the Kobe's and LeBron's of the world. They have that same arrogance, or, as scouts call it, "swagger". I think that's something you take a chance on. Rivers can score extremely well, and is an able defender. He needs size on his frame and lacks explosiveness on his vert, but I guarantee he'd be too proud to fail in the NBA. I can see him being like Monta Ellis, and that's not bad by any means. I love the culture the Suns have established as a franchise, but sometimes a pompous jerk can add an extra element to a team. So if he's still available, and I'm sure he will be, I think he'd provide an strong impact both on and off the court.
RANDOM TRADE IDEA
Yesterday I read a tweet that the raptors were considering trading the #8 for a veteran swingman. Of course the raptors never specified the talent level of said swingman. This is where Josh Childress comes in. The #8 and Gary Forbes for the #13 and Childress. Forbes isn't absolutely necessary in the deal, but it helps soften the cap blow of Childress, and providing us with a SF better suited for the system. I would throw in a future number one as well, probably 2014, just to keep them happy. Thoughts?
The past couple days I've had a relatively crazy set of ideas going through my head. Unfortunately this crazy plan is entirely dependent on the result of the ECF and Steve Nash's decision. So here is the scenario...
Celtics have since beaten Miami, leaving Miami back at the drawing board. Chris Bosh is first on the chopping block since you can't trade either one of the two Top 5 NBA players you have. Pat Riley needs better veteran leadership and quite possibly a new coach. D'antoni and Van Gundy are both on the market, both ideal replacements.Say they choose D'antoni based on player decision that VG won't fit. With that in place, Nash decides to take his talent to south beach. Suns sign Nash along the lines of 3 years 9.5-10 mil, and trade him, along with Chilly (or Warrick, but for this scenario, no) and a Top 10 protected 2014 1st rounder for Bosh and a conditional 2nd round pick. This move would lead to a a similar total cap hit of about 16 mil. That leaves the Suns with about 11-14 mil? If I did my math correctly.
I'll definitely need help from you guys to figure out the logistics on how cap works since it is far from my forte. But with Phase one complete by getting rid of chilly's bad contract (without the amnesty!) and acquiring bosh, it is time to go after Deron Williams. At this point the Suns have a deep rotation of big men, solid wings in Grant and Jared, and a rookie scorer at SG in Austin Rivers, who the suns drafted in this situation. However, PG is an issue now and D-Will is the perfect suitor and far more attainable now. Amnesty Warrick and that'll add another 4 million to the cap, which is perfect to offer a contract of either 15 or 16 mil for 4 years + 1 year P.O which should be very enticing as the way the team has taken shape. So as the roster stands, you have
PG - D. Williams, S. Telfair.
SG - A. Rivers, Mid-Level S.Brown or Redd for Vet Min. or Other
SF - J.Dudley (Probably still play SG to start the season), G.Hill
PF - C. Bosh, M. Morris, C. Frye
C - M. Gortat, R.Lopez
Aaron Brooks is still an option as an RFA but doubt he'll still be open to being a back up. Brown will probably want to get something along the lines of 7-8 mil, so the Mid-Level will still be available for another SG of SF, depending on what is more of a necessity, so Alonzo Gee would still be a great possibility and would solve the SG dilemma, as Dudley could slide back into the starting role.
Win a 'Ship! It would be a solid and well balance team that can attack in a variety of ways. With experienced role players and more favorable contracts. We would need to have another player on a minimum salary that could ride the bench and I doubt that would be Redd. This is where the Pat Burke and Eric Piatkowski would come in handy.
So what are your thoughts? I understand there are A LOT of what ifs, but is it still plausible without some of them? Let me know, I'm here all summer.
Thanks for the read.