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SB Nation Mock Draft: Suns trade Marcin Gortat for #10, select Rudy Gobert

Moving forward into a new era is tough to do, especially when it involves trading away a player who was a cornerstone for your franchise. To make that trade without bringing in a ready-made replacement makes it even tougher.


As has been rumored for weeks in real life, my "mock" front office saw the logic in making a trade Marcin Gortat to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for Joel Freeland (2 yrs, $3 mill per year) and the #10 overall pick.

Trading Gortat

It's time to get the most possible for Gortat, and the Trailblazers obliged with giving back the #10 pick. While the Blazers need to get "older" with a veteran center to play next to LaMarcus Aldridge, the Suns need to get a lot younger.

The trade, as rumored in real life and executed in this mock draft, cannot be completed until the new league year starts. But that didn't stop us, and it doesn't often stop real teams either. (though that might have allowed GS to wiggle out of the Amare trade in 2009, because it wasn't finalized on draft night, but that's just a rumor)

Really, the Suns need to get younger and Marcin Gortat, who will be 30 and playing for another team this time next year, is one of their best assets. Getting a 2013 lottery pick - #10 even! - is a heckuva deal.

Rudy Gobert

At the time of the mock draft (two weeks ago today), 21-year old Rudy Gobert was ranked on most sites the best available pure center after Nerlens Noel and Alex Len. With those two off the board, it was still a toss up between Gobert, Cody Zeller (20) and Steven Adams (19) for me.

My fellow front office folks were also torn between the three, and even Mason Plumlee, but nbadraftinsider,com's Managing Editor and the only real live NBA scout in our "mock" front office Kris Habbas gave a great scouting report on Gobert to sell us all on him.

Obviously there is a chance for him to not pan out, but in all honestly, what is the difference between Gobert and Noel? They are both quality defensive prospects with one main skill to hang their hat on; Shot-Blocking.

Noel is a better overall athlete, but Gobert is further along physically and has the tools to be a great defender. He is efficient on offense and has to improved year-by-year on that end showing potential of being a 10-10-3 type player.

Can he be a bust? Absolutely, but so can Noel, Len, Zeller, Adams, and the other high profile big men. That is the risk with drafting a big.

Who should they target at 10? If you have Oladipo already and are losing Gortat the easiest thing to do is draft a five. Gobert is the highest rated five to me left. If you are not in love with Gobert then I shy away from the position altogether because Olynyk and Zeller have higher bust potential than Gobert.

Well, I really wanted a five and so Gobert was the pick. On the actual draft night, the Suns' pick might be different. Gobert came to Phoenix weeks ago - at the start of the workout season - while Steven Adams came in at the end, just a few days ago. It's possible they like Adams more.

The wildcard here is Mason Plumlee, older than the others but extremely athletic. If the Suns see too much bust potential in Gobert and Adams, then maybe they go with a more sure thing in Mason Plumlee from Duke who will already be 23 or 24 next season as a rookie. Lower ceiling, but higher floor.

Why not Cody Zeller? The mock front office thinks he will be a 4 in the NBA, not a 5. The Suns have a few guys who play the 4, and are bringing back Channing Frye next year too. They really need a 5.

But then again, maybe Zeller has the highest ceiling overall and so maybe he's the better pick.

But I took Gobert. Deal with it.

What of the other lottery pick trades?

None of the others worked out. We decided that none of the trade offers from Detroit (8), Minnesota (9) and OKC (12) gave the Suns enough of a return. Better to hold onto Dudley than to take on salary.

If Dudley goes, then salary needs to be cleared AND the Suns need to get a young prospect as well.

What's next?

With Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gobert officially "mock" Phoenix Suns, that is not all. Oh no, that is not all.

The Suns still hold a lot of cards - Dudley, young players Morris, Morris and Marshall, and the #30 overall.

Surprisingly to some Suns fans, these were somewhat coveted assets to teams outside the top 10.

Since Dudley was a #21 pick himself and is not a true NBA starter on a championship team (as Eric from said: "we missed the part where he is a multi-time All Star"), maybe the better deals are a few picks away.

I spent the next few days of our Mock Draft negotiating for more youth - I wanted at least two new young players with the second half of the first round.

The more youth, the better.

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