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Mini-Me: Finding Clones of Current Suns in the 2014 Draft

There are hundreds of strategies teams employ when it comes to the NBA draft. Draft the best player available, draft based on positional need, athleticism ,shooting, etc. However, it may benefit teams to draft players like the ones on their roster that are having success. With that in mind, I set out to find a "replacement" for some Suns players. Note: These comparisons weren’t really based on skill level or talent, just the characteristics of their play. I’m not advocating that the Suns necessarily draft these players, I just thought it would be fun to compare Suns players to prospects in this year’s draft. With that in mind, here is the list:

  • Eric Bledsoe- Deonte Burton: Short guard with stupidly long arms? Check. Athleticism that makes for ridiculous, oh-my-gosh-did-I-just-see-that plays? Check. Deonte Burton and Eric Bledsoe are extremely similar in both their body types and style of play. Both are disruptive defenders who use their quickness and length to create turnovers for their team. They both can also use that quickness and strength to get to the rim almost at will. On the negative side, they can both struggle with their point guard skills, and neither of them have a particularly strong jump shot. They really are both closer to shooting guards stuck in a point guard’s body, but the Suns have found a great role for Eric. Can Burton find the same success in the NBA?

  • Marcus/Markieff Morris- David/Travis Wear: OK, so the Wear twins aren’t exactly high-level NBA prospects, and their being twins had a lot to do with them being included in the list. But their games are actually remarkably similar to the Morris twins. Both David and Travis are big men who also like to shoot threes, and both did at a rate of over 44%. Travis was the better of the two twins this season overall, but David did shoot the three a little bit better (sound familiar?). The NBA loves big men who can space the floor, and the Wear twins may one day find a spot in the NBA like the Morii.

  • Channing Frye- Alec Brown: There has been a lot of talk about the Suns picking Adrian Payne to replace Channing Frye as a stretch four, and I think that would be a great pick up. But to me, Alec Brown’s game is more similar to Frye’s than Payne’s. Brown is a big man who loves to step outside and shoot the three. His quick, compact release reminds me a lot of Frye’s, as well as his remarkable efficiency for a seven-footer (44.6%). He doesn’t have too much of an offensive post game, which is also similar to Frye. Brown is following in Frye’s footsteps as a big man who is more comfortable beyond the arc than in the paint.

  • Miles Plumlee- Artem Kirilenko: While Kirilenko is taller and longer than Plumlee is, they both play a very similar type of game. Both of their values come from their athleticism at the center position and their ability to play above the hoop, finishing lobs with some impressive dunks. However, they both struggle with the ball in their hands in the post. Miles showed some flashes of an effective baby hook, but it seemed to tail off as the season wore on. With that said, there’s a place in the NBA for one-dimensional alley-oop finishers, especially the athletic 7’ 1" kind.

  • Goran Dragic- Semaj Christon: Both of these guards have solid size for a point guards, and both of their main strengths is their ability to slash into the lane and make ridiculous, contorted shots after drawing contact. What sealed the comparison for me was the fact that, rather than quickness, Christon seemed to use a Drigic-like slitheriness to get into the lane and finish (Yes, I made up the word slitheriness, and I looked, there are not many basketball players that can be effectively described as "slithery"). Christon struggled with his jump shot like Goran did coming into the league, but could become a solid NBA point guard somewhere down the line.

  • Gerald Green- Nemanja Dangubic: This is probably the weakest comparison on this list. It is hard to find the kind of raw athleticism that Gerald Green brought to the NBA as a rookie to go along with his height from the 2-guard position. Dangubic brings the same kind of physical attributes, along with pretty good athleticism. The difference comes in Dangubic’s ability to play some point and his basketball IQ. What really matters, though, is that they can both throw down massive jams.

  • PJ Tucker- Melvin Ejim: What PJ Tucker ad Melvin Ejim both bring to the table is a scrappy attitude and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get their team to win. Both are a little undersized to play the SF, but both are very strong and are excellent rebounders despite their lack of size. Ejim may have a little bit more to offer on the offensive side the ball with his athleticism, but it boils down to the fact that they’re both hard-nosed players who won’t be pushed around.
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