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Phoenix Suns NBA Draft 2013 Preview: Alex Len, Tony Mitchell and ... C.J. McCollum?

The draft is almost here. After perusing an immense amount of (hyperbole) scouting reports and sampling a melange of mock drafts (many of which I openly mock) the clock is ticking down to when the clock begins ticking down. In our continuing effort to provide the best info on the soon to be future Suns I have the privilege of dropping some knowledge on top five talent Alex Len, potential sleeper Tony Mitchell and (one of my favorites) lottery talent C.J. McCollum.

Will McCollum make the teams that pass on him regret it?
Will McCollum make the teams that pass on him regret it?

Alex Len

Len has had a meteoric rise to the top after impressive combine measurements and pre-draft workouts... or not. Despite being hobbled by a stress fracture in his left ankle that precluded him from participating in these events there is murmuring that Len might be the #1 overall pick. Maybe he interviews well? The Suns had a chance to figure that out firsthand when Len was among the highest profile workout group that came to Phoenix on June 5th as documented in this BSotS workout update.


*Len's injury prevented him from regular combine measurements.

Height: 7' 1" (reported to be every inch of this)

Weight: 255 (Len entered last season at 255, but lost weight during the season... then had an adverse reaction to anesthesia which caused additional weight loss. Right now his weight is in the 240-250 range.)

Wingspan: 7' 3.5" (confirmed)


Len may be capitalizing on falling stock from other players, then again he just might be the best player in the draft. His combination of size, mobility and physical tools make him a coveted specimen at the NBA level. Although his game is still somewhat raw he seared it a little around the edges last season by improving across the board. Unlike his counterparts among the draft class pantheon, no bad news has been good news for Len.

There is no posse. There is nobody trying to puppet his actions with questionable advice. He didn't decline an interview with the Suns because the fifth pick was beneath him. He doesn't have people questioning his heart and effort. With a slew of pros and an absence of cons it's not hard to be enamored with the young man.

Having just turned 20 (June 16th) his growth propitiates an upside that could make him an elite big at the NBA level. All recent indications suggest that Len will likely be gone when the Suns are on the clock, but if he falls to five I'm guessing he won't fall further.

Tony Mitchell

I know what you're thinking. Why the hell would the Suns draft another power forward? There's already a surfeit of fours on the roster. Well, maybe because they're hoping to get one that can actually play.

With Scola hopefully possibly gone this summer and an underwhelming cast behind him maybe a dice roll on a player with a better NBA body and athleticism is worth another look.


Age: 21

Height: 6' 8.75" with shoes (since players don't play barefoot... except for Mike Miller draining threes)

Weight: 236

Standing Reach: 8' 10.5" (more important than height since players don't rebound or defend with the top of their heads)

Wingspan: 7' 2.5"


How do these numbers compare to Markieff Morris coming out of college? They're actually pretty similar... except that Mitchell is younger, leaner, stronger and beats Morris by about 4" on wingspan and 6" on vertical jump. So what gives with the late first/early second projection?

Despite his body, athleticism, rebounding and shot blocking, Mitchell went through a significant regression his sophomore season (which a coaching change may have contributed to) and lacks offensive polish. Another area of concern is his questionable work ethic. He would be a work in progress, but at least the foundation isn't quicksand.

Mitchell visited the Suns for a workout on June 10th, as documented by Brightside's own Kris Habbas. Check out Kris's input and why he agrees with me that Mitchell would be a steal at #30.

C.J. McCollum

McCollum is on my wish list if the Suns acquire a second lottery pick in this year's draft. Before explaining why, here's the most likely scenario for him to don the (do we still have any) purple and orange.

Suns acquire Joel Freeland and #10 for Marcin Gortat (handshake deal). A combination (two out of three) of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Carter-Williams and/or Steven Adams jumps ahead of McCollum so that he falls to this selection. My vision may be doomed to failure, a la savagely beating monkeys with wrenches, due to the fact that the Suns have been rumored to have interest in multiple players from the above list. At least if the Suns pick #10 they should get one of their men.


Age: 21

Height: 6' 3.25" with shoes

Weight: 197

Standing Reach: 8' 0.5"

Wingspan: 6' 6.25"

McCollum's combine measurements are eerily similar to last year's phenom Damian Lillard. Despite the matching physical profile, though, they are different players. McCollum lacks blow by speed, though he does have a quick first step, and has to use more body control and craftiness to attack the rim. McCollum is also not a prolific passer, having averaged just 2.9 assists per game last season.

What the two do have in common is an ability to put the biscuit in the basket. Not only is McCollum a pure scorer with the ability to create his own offense, but his shooting percentages are higher across the board than Lillard's were entering the draft. McCollum is a plus rebounder and has a high basketball IQ. In a draft class lacking skilled offensive players it is possible that McCollum may ascend to the top in that respect. The recent success of players from small schools who have made it big in the NBA, such as the aforementioned Lillard and Stephen Curry, have allayed some of the taboo associated with using lottery picks on small school gambles.

Hit this link for Dave King's quips about McCollum's workout for the Suns, including his stance on competing in workouts...

"I'm not running from anybody," C.J. McCollum said when asked about playing against the other point guards. "I'm working out against whoever. We're all basketball players, so there should be nothing to hide."

Except for players at the top of the big board who avoid competition like cockroaches scurrying away when the lights are turned on...


So there you go, three players who would probably make fine additions to the Phoenix Suns, but probably won't end up on the team. If Len goes top four, McCollum top eight and Mitchell top 25 it will take some maneuvering for them to be sporting a Suns' cap on Thursday night.

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