Hello, BSOTS...welcome to my first fanpost. This is a product of my insatiable desire to keep reading/discussing/producing Suns-related content, as well as my determination to further procrastinate studying for my finals.
Senioritis + Suns fanhood = irresponsible life decisions.
This is basically a guide/preview for the Suns' offseason, with analysis and discussion of everything the team needs to do (and what I hope they will do) along with links to relevant content and resources. Additionally, I hope this post fuels discussion in the comments below so everyone can share what they hope the Suns will do this summer as they look to build around Kendall Marshall (shoutout to Penny Hardaway). Let's begin...
The first (and most important) thing the Suns hope to address is the GM opening left by the departure of the dearly-beloved Lance Blanks. After three years of suffering Blanks' thumbtack-like personality, Suns fans hope that Babby will hire someone who can restore the team to relevancy. As of right now, there appear to be a few solid candidates under consideration for the job:
Jeff Weltman - Milwaukee Bucks Assistant GM
Dave King already wrote a great piece about Jeff Weltman. Solid experience, analytical guy, very highly-regarded by peers and is said to be one of the best Asst. GMs in the league. He drafted Larry Sanders, the best interior defender in the NBA (on the subject of analytics - that report also suggests that Luis Scola is one of the two worst interior defenders in the league). Weltman is also responsible for using an 8th overall pick to draft Joe Alexander who um, last I heard, put up some pretty good numbers in the D-League.
Weltman interviewed for the job back in 2010 and iscurrently considered to be the frontrunner in the race.
Scott Layden - San Antonio Spurs Assistant GM
Again, Dave King covered him pretty well in this post. Here's what we know:
- Part of the Jazz's front office from 1981-1999. Considered to be responsible for drafting John Stockton AND Karl Malone in back-to-back drafts (with the 16th and 13th overall picks, respectively).
- Knicks GM from 1999-2003. New York made the playoffs twice in his first two years before they started becoming one of the worst teams in the NBA. Layden was known for giving aging players long-term, high-money contracts. He gave a starting-to-get-washed-up Allan Houston a 6 year, $100 million guaranteed deal.
- After he got fired by the Knicks in 2003, he joined the Spurs FO, while New York made Isiah Thomas its new GM and became the worst team in the NBA.
- Here's a very informative video by Scott Layden on how to play basketball to stay fit. Please read the one comment on the video for some high-level insight and opinion on Layden (probably either from a Knicks fan or a relative of someone Layden must have murdered).
Ryan McDonough - Boston Celtics Assistant GM
- 33 years old
- Highly analytics-based guy. Considers it a responsibility to always keep tabs on every player with "NBA-level" talent.
- Responsible for drafting Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.
Charles Barkley - Former Phoenix Sun, TNT NBA Analyst, Professional Golfer
MY PICK: Ryan McDonough
The next issue the Suns have to address is the hiring of a new coach. While Lindsey Hunter unfortunately still remains a candidate (he's also a possibility for the Detroit Pistons' head coaching gig), the team will definitely at least consider other names. There haven't been as many names appearing in rumors for the Suns' coaching spot as the GM opening but that's due to the fact that any decision regarding the future Head Coach will probably be made by the future GM. Here are some possible candidates:
- Jeff Hornacek - assistant coach for the Utah Jazz, former Suns player/sharpshooter - His name has been floating around for a number of vacant coaching positions around the league, including the Suns'.
- Kelvin Sampson - assistant coach for the Houston Rockets - Being targeted by many teams, he'll probably end up somewhere else (after the Rockets' season ends, which hopefully isn't tonight).
- Stan Van Gundy - former Orlando Magic Head Coach/former porn star - If he's not a possibility, he should be. I'm not sure he'd want to coach the Suns but we should look into him regardless. At the least, he would provide some entertainment we Suns fans could sure use on the court.
- Jerry Sloan - former Utah Jazz Hall of Fame Head Coach - This might be a reach, but it also might not. Especially if Babby decided to go with former Utah Jazz FO member Scott Layden.
- Mike Budenholzer - long-time assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs - I'm not sure he would want to leave the Spurs to spearhead a rebuilding project in Phoenix but every assistant coach wants to be Head Coach at some point, right? Can't hurt to ask. And with our FO's fascination with raiding the Spurs' personnel, I wouldn't be surprised if we tried.
- Phil Jackson - LOL.
MY PICK: Anyone but Lindsey Hunter. Sorry Lindsey.
Perhaps the first big step in building for the future is the 2013 NBA draft. Us fans really need some excitement on the court next year - something else to watch and think about other than whether Michael Beasley will miss more shots or eat more skittles every night.
The Suns will find out where they will be drafting during the lottery on May 21 (mark your calendars!), but as of today they stand 4th in the lottery rankings, with an 11.9% chance of winning the lottery. We also have the 30th pick in the draft, courtesy of the Miami Heat (as well as the LA Lakers' awe-inspiring and referee-aided late-season push to get swept in the first round of the playoffs). Check our some recent mock drafts to see who people have us drafting (with the 5th overall pick):
- Play the lottery on ESPN (I got the Suns picking Victor Oladipo at #5)
- Hoopsworld Consensus mock draft has us taking Oladipo or Anthony Bennnett.
- Sportingnews has us landing Ben McLemore.
- CBS Sports has Trey Burke going at #4, where we're currently picking.
Now for some actual analysis on the players we could be picking (in order of my preference):
- Nerlens Noel - C, Kentucky - Big, agile Center (could possibly be a PF in the NBA). He's a defensive beast and possible the only gamechanger in this entire draft class. He tore his ACL in February and won't be able to play for a good part of next season. He has elite athleticism and at 6'10" he has the height to play either big man position. However, he definitely needs to bulk up as he only weighs around 220-230 pounds. I don't think that'll be an issue after a couple years in the pros because he seems to have a decent frame to build some more muscle. He actually reminds me a lot of Dwight Howard when he first entered the league. Check out this scouting video from DraftExpress.
- Victor Oladipo - SG, Indiana - Oladipo has seen a huge boost up the draft board after a stellar junior year. A brilliant om-ball defender, he's been expanding his offensive skillset and has recently shown that he's working to develop even more before the draft. He's not a great shooter, but he's shown and improved consistency in shooting the ball. He's a great athlete and uses his athleticism to slash to the rim, as well rebound the ball at a great rate for his size (6'4"). He's an average ball-handler but he vowed to work on that before the draft and with his work ethic, I really believe he'll be a very good player in the pros. Here's his DraftExpress scouting video.
- Otto Porter - SF, Georgetown - Porter is a great all-around small forward. He can slash, he can pass, he can defend, he can rebound, he has good size (6'8") and he can shoot (something he's improved this last season). The problem is, I'm not sure if he's great at any of those things (yet). Regardless, I think he'd be a solid pick if we're picking 4th or 5th in the draft. ESPN scouting video.
- Ben McLemore - SG, Kansas - McLemore had a great freshman year leading the #1 ranked Kansas team and has been compared to Ray Allen. He's an amazing shooter (he has perfect form) and has elite athleticism. However, he struggles to get his own shot off due to a shaky handle and had a habit of disappearing during big moments during his one year in college. He's also average at best at defense. His success in the NBA will depend on how he develops his dribble and learns to attack the rim. DraftExpress Video
- Anthony Benett - PF, UNLV - Bennett is a tweener expected to go high in this year's draft mainly due to his polished offensive game and his length. Although he's only 6'7", he has an insane wingspan and is a great rebounder for his size. He can also shoot the ball pretty well and is a good athlete. I'm just not sure he would be a great pick, especially since the Suns can't afford to gamble on another tweener who may or may not pan out. That being said, I would be happy with this pick only if the above 4 players are already gone by the time we pick.
MY PICK - I'm on the Victor Oladipo bandwagon (given that we don't land the #1 pick and draft Noel).
This post is already too long so I won't get started with free agency here. Please comment to share what you would like to see happen in all of these offseason stages. Thanks for reading (or not reading).