No. 5 - Alex Len
- Ukraine via University of Maryland
- 7-foot-1, 255 pounds
- 7-foot-3.5 wingspan
"We spent a lot of time on him," Phoenx GM Ryan McDonough said. "As we sat down and talked about him and put our heads together, all our scouts were very high on him, and we just said how often do you get a chance to get a 7-1 skilled guy who's a great person off the court, who's long, who's got a nice touch, who finishes well around the basket, with good body control, and we feel like is just scratching the surface of his basketball development? Once we kind of talked it through, and then thought about who else might potentially be there in the draft, it became a pretty easy decision."
Len is a complete center with a strong foundation and a developing skill set. He'll anchor the Suns on both ends of the court for years to come. Yet many Suns fans don't seem to be sold on the pick.
The reason for the less-than-ecstatic response is because both Kentucky's Nerlens Noel and Kansas' Ben McLemore were both available when the Suns came on the clock. Noel and McLemore were long considered to be the top two prospects in the draft and McLemore in particular filled the Suns' biggest need as a sharp-shooting wing. Throughout the process, the Suns getting a shot at Noel was considered a pipe dream while McLemore was a long shot. Yet there they were.
However, Ryan McDonough's big board differed from that of many fans. New head coach Jeff Hornacek said Len was the Suns No. 1 ranked player from the very beginning.
"If Len's not on the board, then you look at those guys," Hornacek said. "But he's a guy that can be a game-changer down the road and it's a situation where when we all looked at the guys and ranked them, he was the consensus by all of our guys that he's got the biggest upside, at that size, and his skill level."
The Sun are not alone in this belief either. Draft Express had Len as the No. 1 player on their big board, and SB Nation's Jonathan Tjarks put forth the argument back in May that Len was a superior prospect to Noel. And while McLemore fills a need, there are also plenty of questions about his ability to be anything more than a 3-and-D role player.
Alex Len was not the consensus top choice among Suns fans. But it is entirely possible that he turns out to be the best player in this draft. We'll have to wait a few years before finding out. In the meantime, give the poor guy a chance to prove himself.
No. 29 - Archie Goodwin
University of Kentucky
- Point Guard/Shooting Guard
- 6-foot-5.25, 189 pounds
- 6-foot-9.5 wingspan
ESPN's coverage did a great job of confusing the fans in terms of this trade, but here are the details:
1) Minnesota traded the No. 26 pick and Malcolm Lee to Golden State
2) Golden State trades the No. 26 pick to Oklahoma City for the No. 29 pick (Goodwin)
3) Golden State trades the No. 29 pick (Goodwin) and Lee to the Suns for the No. 30 pick and cash
Does that clear it up a little bit? There were apparently a few other teams looking to move up to the No. 29 pick, so the Suns decided to move up first in order to get their man.
Goodwin is the second youngest player in the entire draft class. He was a top high school recruit who struggled in a difficult situation at Kentucky but decided to leave after one year anyway. Goodwin has good size for a guard, with an elite ability to get to the basket, and plenty of defensive potential. However, his shot selection and, well, his shot are his biggest weaknesses right now.
Goodwin is a prospect with a lot of potential but is a big risk as well. However, the Suns should swing for the fences at that point in the draft. I personally liked Allen Crabbe and Jamaal Franklin better and both were available, but again, it's nothing to get worked up about. McDonough must see something he really likes in Goodwin.
Meanwhile, here's what Canis Hoopus manager Eric in Madison had to say about Malcolm Lee, who the Warriors dumped on the Suns in order to move up:
He's really an end of the bench guy.
Got pressed into playing time when our whole team got injured, but really doesn't do much. Decent defender and tries, but really no offensive game.
Plus, I'm not sure he'll ever be healthy.
His $884,293 salary is just filler. I wouldn't expect to see him stepping on the court for the Suns any time soon.
No. 57 - Alex Oriakhi
- Missouri, UCONN
- Power Forward/Center
- 6-foot-9.5, 258 pounds
- 7-foot-3.75 wingspan
Well, we probably weren't going to get much out of the 57th pick, and Oriakhi isn't much. But McDonough said he watched a lot of Oriakhi's games at UCONN while he was still in Boston, and he must have seen something he liked. I'll let him break it down for you:
"Alex was a key part of the UCONN team that won a national championship," McDonough said. "He's got good size and strength, he's a very good rebounder, he plays hard and he's a good kid. I'm confident we've got a good player with Alex. I think it's important to have solid front line depth and Alex is a guy that can play some power forward and also some center as well."
There it is. That's your 2013 Phoenix Suns Draft. Try not to overreact because the team passed on your favorite prospects. We were all for trusting in McDonough leading up to the draft. Why change our minds before even seeing the players he picked step on the court for the Suns?