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Phoenix Suns NBA Draft 2013 Preview: Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, and Steven Adams

With the 2013 NBA Draft just a day away, we at Bright Side of the Sun continue to preview possible picks for the Suns at the 5th and 30th spots, as well as a potential additional lottery pick. The prospects you'll be meeting today are Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, and Steven Adams.

#5 Pick: Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore from Kansas University was arguably the best freshman in all of college basketball during the 2012-13 season. Before the start of the season, no one was expecting McLemore to be a lottery talent in the 2013 draft. A year later (and a day before the draft), he is considered to be one of the most talented prospects in his draft class and could go anywhere in the top 5.


Height w/Shoes Wingspan Weight No Step Vert. Max Vert. Lane Agility 3/4 Court Sprint
Ben McLemore 6'4.75" 6'7.75" 189 32.5" 42.0" 11.97 3.27

After he was ruled ineligible to play for the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2011-12 season due to issues concerning his multiple transcripts from different high schools, McLemore went on to enjoy a remarkable redshirt freshman year in 2012-13. He posted very remarkably efficient numbers to lead his team to a #1 seed, averaging nearly 16 points per game on 50% shooting from the field, 42% from three, and 87% from the free throw line. He was also a great rebounder for his position, grabbing over 5 per game, and was a solid (albeit a bit inconsistent) defender during his year at Kansas.

Ben McLemore would bring a much needed scoring punch to this Suns roster. Coach Hornacek has commented on the need for three point shooters in the offense he plans to run, and McLemore would bring that in bunches. As a super-athletic shooter (boasts a 42" max vertical), he would be a great complement to Goran Dragic in the backcourt. One thing he would not bring, however, is playmaking ability. Much like the other member of the top two shooting guards in this year's draft, Victor Oladipo (check out Sean Sullivan's preview of Oladipo), he needs to work on his ball-handling skills to get better at creating offense.

McLemore has also faced his fair share of controversy. His former AAU coach recently revealed that he accepted money and benefits from an agent to influence McLemore's decision to commit to Kansas. Moreover, McLemore just signed with the very agent that made those payments to his former coach. On top of this controversy are the academic ineligibility issues he has faced.

However, I really wouldn't put much stock into any of these issues. Ben McLemore dealt with a notoriously tough childhood riddled with poverty and hunger. By all accounts, he seems to be a very humble 20 year old with a good head on his shoulders. He is also a smart basketball player and doesn't make many mistakes, as evidenced by his very efficient playing style.

There have been recent rumblings that McLemore's stock has fallen as a result of poor workouts in Orlando and Phoenix. I have no idea how to interpret this, since it could very well be a play by a team's front office (maybe our own) to lower his draft stock.

All in all, I would be thrilled to see Ben McLemore wearing a Suns hat by the end of Thursday night. OH WAIT.

Check out my comparison of McLemore and Oladipo here.

#30 Pick: Tony Snell

Tony Snell from New Mexico is another efficient player that the Suns could target, this time with the 30th pick in the draft. Possessing stellar size and length for a wing player, he projects to be a solid small forward prospect for the Suns to target at the end of the first round, if he's still on the board.


Height w/Shoes Wingspan Weight No Step Vert. Max Vert. Lane Agility 3/4 Court Sprint
Tony Snell 6'7.25" 6'11.5" 198 30.0" 36.5" 10.36 3.25

Tony Snell has some of the best measurements of any wing player in this draft. At over 6'7" tall with a wingspan of nearly 7', he has great size for the SG/SF position. On top of that, he displayed amazing quickness at the combine, with a lane agility score higher than both McLemore's and Oladipo's. He also possesses solid athleticism and speed. One area of his physical attributes that he needs to work on however, is his weight. In order to defend NBA small forwards, he will need to gain a decent amount of weight and get stronger.

On top of his stellar physical profile, Snell has another skill that scouts love: his ability to shoot the ball. He is very good in catch-and-shoot situations as well as weaving through screens to get off his jumpshot (he shot 39% from three and 84% from the free throw line). He is also a good playmaker for his position, averaging 2.9 assists during his junior year. On the other side of the court, Snell has proved to be a very solid defender, where he uses his great physical profile to his full capacity.

Even though he is a very good shooter (or perhaps because he is), Snell has a tendency to settle for jumpshots, with a staggering 48% of all of his shots coming from the three point line. Although he is a good athlete, is extremely quick, and has decent ball-handling skills, the biggest knock on Snell has been his lack of aggressiveness. In 2012-13, his junior season at New Mexico, he only averaged a shade over 12 points on just 9 attempts per game. To his credit, he has addressed this perception of him in draft interviews and has vowed to prove critics wrong (and is apparently having great workouts). Another area of weakness is rebounding - he only pulled down 2.6 boards per game, which is a pretty terribly number for someone with his measurables.

Although he sometimes seems to lack a motor (unlike a player he has the potential to be, and that's not just because of the corn rows) and is a poor rebounder, I really like Snell's chances of success at the next level. I think he could be a good "D-and-3" player, much like Brandon Rush, Danny Green, or Dorell Wright, and has the potential to be as good as Kawhi Leonard (minus the rebounding), given that he improves upon his weaknesses.

I think Tony Snell be a great pick for the Suns at 30, but I doubt he lasts that long.

Bonus Pick: Steven Adams

If the Suns obtain an additional late lottery pick, possibly through a Gortat (to Portland or OKC) or Dudley trade, one prospect to look out for is Steven Adams. The 7 footer from New Zealand was limited in his one season at Pitt, but showed enough of his talent and potential to scouts to be considered a mid-first round pick in the 2013 draft.


Height w/Shoes Wingspan Standing Reach Weight No Step Vert. Max Vert. 3/4 Court Sprint
Steven Adams 7'0" 7'4.5" 9'1.5" 255 28.5" 33.0 3.40

Steven Adams' main assets as an NBA prospect at this stage are unquestionably his physical attributes. He has one of the best physical profiles of any of the center prospects in the draft. He is a legitimate 7 footer with a great wingspan, solid weight, and good speed and athleticism.

Adams is a defensive center with great size and length. He is very quick for his size and uses his speed and mobility to not only block shots but to also defend quicker players. He runs the floor extremely well and possesses a very high motor.

While Adams' body is NBA-ready, his offensive game is not. He is a very raw prospect and it will take time for him to contribute in the NBA. He was a late bloomer to the sport (he also turns only 20 in a month) and his unpolished offensive game limited him in his lone year at Pitt, where he only played 23 minutes per game, averaging over 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in those minutes. While he was efficient from the field, he shoot an extremely poor 44% from the free throw line.

At Pitt, he was never the focal point of the offense, only responsible for 11% of his team's total possessions. In fact, most of his touches came from offensive rebounds, which he grabbed tenaciously. Adams uses his size, length, motor, and intensity to corral misses at a high rate. However, he is not a great finisher, lacks touch, and needs to improve his footwork and post moves.

Although Steven Adams is a very raw talent and will be a long-term project, I believe his potential as an NBA center, coupled with his great physical profile, makes him a good prospect to target with a mid-first round pick. While his offensive game will take time to develop, he will be able to contribute on the defensive end immediately. Furthermore, he apparently had some great workouts in the last month.

If the Suns acquire a late lottery or mid-first round pick, Steven Adams could be a solid candidate to consider. Also, he has a cool accent and is one of the best interviewees in the draft.

A draft that nets the Suns Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, and Steven Adams in Phoenix would have to be considered a success. In the first two, the Suns would get talent, athleticism, shooting, and depth at the wing positions and in the latter, they would get a great big man to groom for the future.

With Ryan McDonough seemingly targeting prospects at every stage in the draft, anything can happen. Stay tuned for more prospect previews...and of course, the draft on Thursday!

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