With so many topics and questions for the Phoenix Suns this summer, there is no time for even a week off. After reviewing the coaching hire, the No. 5 pick, and the No. 30 pick, here we are: back at the table this week to discuss another topic that needs evaluation. Just like any other "family", we have varying opinions and some banter to back it up.
Fourth Topic: Five Questions on the No. 57 Pick
1. Breaking the Ice: How much do you value the No. 57 pick?
Dave King: Well, I believe Gortat was a #57 pick and that's exactly what a 57 should be: an international prospect with a future. Other than that, for every Isaiah Thomas (the Kings' one), there's a hundred Dwayne Collins.
Jacob Padilla: Every pick in the draft is an asset and has some inherent value. However, the likelihood of finding a keeper that late in the draft is pretty low. But then again, having a pick, especially for a team bereft of talent like the Suns, is definitely better than not having one. I see the 57th pick as something similar to a scratch off ticket. With it, you're not likely to hit any kind of sizable jackpot, but there is a decent chance you can win your money back or perhaps even a little more.
Kris Habbas: I value it the same way that the team apparently does; like an asset. They are able to bring in a lot of different, talented prospects between the three picks, and there might be a surprise player that they love (or that just makes it) with the pick.
Richard Parker: Not too much, to be honest. It's still an asset but one that doesn't have too much value, simply due to the fact that rarely, there are very few players that get picked at the end of the second round that make a living for themselves in the NBA. However, there's still a possibility of finding talent, especially since McDonough and Hornacek (who was a mid-second round pick himself) value draft picks very highly.
Sean Sullivan: Honestly, not that much. If the Suns can manage to find a contributor of any sort with that pick, it will be considered a home run. Sure, there are always exceptions (whom always seem to find their way to the Spurs), but we shouldn't be hoping for a starter or major contributor with the 57th pick... a role player would be awesome.
2. Should the team go with the "draft and stash" approach with an international prospect?
JP: The draft-and-stash method is one commonly employed at that point in the draft and is definitely something worth considering since the Suns have three picks. Alternatively, the Suns could stick to homegrown products and try to find someone that brings at least one legitimate NBA skill and therefore can provide value as a rotation player.
KH: If a prospect like Alex Abrines or Bojan Dubljevic are there at No. 57, I agree with this strategy. They are the most talented international prospects that could be in that range, but another avenue (if they do not go center with 5 or 30) is to try and find a big able body here. Look at Walter Tavares (Cape Verde), Marko Todorovic (Serbia), Mindaugas Kupsas (Lithuania) as big me options.
RP: Sure, if they feel like it. We're most likely to bring in at least two rookies (maybe even another if Gortat or Dudley is traded) from the first round. So it'd make sense to stash the 57th pick. If we do that though, there's a big chance we'll never see that player come over to the NBA.
SS: Absolutely. If the Suns can find potential long-term value with their 57th pick in the form of an international prospect who could take a few years to "season", that would probably be the best case scenario.
DK: Yes, they should take someone who can play overseas for another year or two or three.
3. Over the years players like Isaiah Thomas (60), Marcin Gortat (57), and Manu Ginobili (57) have been drafted at No. 57 or later - Odds the Suns find a gem late are...?
JP: Very, very low. Looking at the last ten drafts, the following are the best picks: Robert Sacre, Isaiah Thomas, Lester Hudson, Semih Erden and Marcin Gortat. That's 5 players out of 40 picks that have been able to have some sort of role in the NBA. If you're talking starting-caliber players, that leaves Thomas and Gortat, 2 out of 40. According to the last decade of picks, the Suns have a 5% chance of drafting a starter at 57 or later. (I spent way too much time looking stuff up before answering this)
KH: Well, those three players are the only ones that have made a significant impact at the NBA level being drafted 57th or later... So, that is a 0.07% chance to strike gold.
RP: I'd say very low - maybe 5%. That's actually being generous because I believe in McDonough's ability to find talent. It's more likely to find a fringe rotation player than to find a starter like those three guys are. Something to keep in mind is that two of them were international prospects, so there's some more support for the "draft and stash" approach.
SS: Slim to none...If we're talking about a future starter or star player, like all of the players you mentioned above. If I were to pull a random number out of a hat, I'd give it a .01% chance. But that doesn't mean we can't find a solid contributor. The chances still aren't great, but if we do our homework, it is certainly possible.
DK: Next to nothing, if they take an American. The Americans are so heavily scouted these days that it's almost impossible to find a gem that late in the draft. Internationals are a better bet, if you're good at int'l scouting. And the Suns just hired a specialist on international scouting, so maybe that's the way they are going with this pick.
4. The odds are against the team finding a player that will stick in the NBA for years, but what is your confidence in this front office to make the most of this pick?
KH: Very confident. Be honest, raise your hand if you knew every player that the team has brought in the past week and half... waiting... waiting... Ok, I put my hand down. There might be an NBA player in there, so I believe the ground work was laid to make the best of this pick.
RP: I have good confidence in this front office to get the most value out of all the picks, including the 57th. However, the nature of a late second rounder is that there isn't much value, and it often tends to be more of a crapshoot at that point. So if they misfire on the 57th pick and miss out on a better player taken in the next three spots, I won't hold it against them, as long as they make the most out of the first rounders.
SS: Not sure. We really don't have much to go on yet, as this will be the first draft with all our new front office guys in the same room. Most of them have had success in one way or another on other teams, but can they pull together and form a successful brain trust here in Phoenix?
DK: Well, I have no idea really. The Celtics have not done much with late second-round picks over the years. They did take Lester Hudson with 57 four years ago, and Luke Harangody with 52 recently. But it's tough to find anyone with a good track record in the late second round.
JP: Most of us have been impressed with the new FO to this point, and I'm going to give McDonough and company the benefit of the doubt until they prove they deserve otherwise. The sheer amount of prospects the team has brought in certainly leads me to believe the team is doing its due diligence and will be able to make the most of the pick.
5. Should this pick play more games next season for the Phoenix Suns than Michael Beasley?
RP: If the goal is to tank for Wiggins, then no. If the goal is to induce less heart attacks in and increase the life expectancy of Suns fans, then yes.
SS: Ideally, yes because Beasley would be gone by the start of the season. However, with his contract, I don't know if that happens, so I'm going to say no.
DK: No, they should play exactly the same number of games for the Phoenix Suns: 0.
BONUS: Who would you love to see drafted in this spot?
SS: I mentioned this in my previous article on the 57th pick prospects as well, but I would like to see someone who can specialize in one area and do at least one thing really well, ala Ryan Kelly. I don't think there's much hope for an all-around player at 57, but there's always room on the roster for a guy who can come in off the bench, space the floor, and shoot threes at a relatively high percentage.
DK: A UofA kid like Solomon Hill or Grant Jarrett would be good to draft, if nothing more than to wake up the fan base a tiny bit. ASU's Carrick Felix will be gone before then, but if he's available then definitely take him.
JP: I'm going total homer on this and saying Gregory Echenique, the big man out of Creighton. The Suns are bringing Echenique in for a workout on Friday I believe. He's not going to score many points in the NBA, but he is a tremendous defender. He's incredibly strong at 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds, he's an immovable force in the post and is surprisingly nimble for a man of his size with the ability to step out and guard the pick-and-roll. He'd probably be the best defensive big man on the team from day one.
KH: Of course Jacob went homer... He wanted to say Doug McDermott, but he is still in school. Based on my preliminary thoughts on the 5th pick (Alex Len) and the 30th pick (shooting wing), I like the team going with another major need in athleticism on the perimeter with someone like James Ennis, Tahj Tate, or D.J. Stephens.
RP: Myck Kabongo is my favorite here (if he lasts that long). He's a quick, solid playmaker that needs to develop an NBA-level body and scoring game. Ryan Kelly is another option as a one-trick pony that can develop into a Steve Novak-type player that can spot some minutes every now and then.