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Phoenix Suns 2013 NBA draft roundtable: reactions and grades

Now that the dust has settled (and my brain has stopped hurting) after one of the craziest drafts in recent memory it's time for reactions and grades on a draft that ultimately can't be evaluated for at least a couple years.

Welcoming a new Suns and bidding farewell to an umm... err... yeah
Welcoming a new Suns and bidding farewell to an umm... err... yeah

I know what you're all thinking. Doesn't Kris usually moderate these things? Yes, but since he's busy doing real reporting I stepped in to steal his thunder help out. Anyway, you're stuck with me. Deal with it.

After the entire staff whiffed on Anthony Bennett (#1) and Cody Zeller (#4) ascending to the top of the draft board (how did we all miss such obvious selections?) it's time for us to embarrass redeem ourselves again... I'm sure a lot of your mock's nailed the top 10. To ridicule ours, check out our pre-draft roundtable.

In a pseudo defense I can pretend I'm not a complete moron (even though you all know better) by taking my remarks from my Alex Len draft preview article completely out of context:

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.

Told you I called it.

*P.S. that was under the belief that Noel and McLemore would be off the board if Len made it to five...

Now let's hear what the BSotS writers have to say in recapping last night's festivities:

Question 1: What grade do you give the Suns in this draft?

Jim Coughenour: B- *explanations below

Dave King: I would give the Suns a B. they didn't make sexy pics but the players are talented and have higher upside than recent picks. I remember hoping Morris could be a 10-year rotation player and maybe a starter some day. Same with Kendall. This time the Suns got a guy who really should be a starter in the league. And they took a low risk flyer on a kid who has a high ceiling.

Kris Habbas: Not to get all snobby with terms, but there is no "grade" this early, but I am not side-stepping. The moves the team made filled a few needs in terms of a future interior presence, athleticism, and general toughness. All the players fit needs. My only criticism is that they did not address perimeter shooting or secondary play-making, which were two of the biggest weaknesses this past season.

Sean Sullivan: Overall: C/D

Alex Len: Incomplete (Either a C+ or a D-)
There is some confusion as to whether the Suns' medical staff really red-flagged Noel or not. If so, drafting Len suddenly becomes a lot more palatable to me. However, I still would have preferred McLemore who shows more promise in my opinion.

Archie Goodwin: B+
While I would have preferred Ledo, Franklin, or Crabbe at the moment, there's no doubt that Goodwin is by far the most naturally talented and gifted player of the whole group. At only 18, he was often erratic in his play at Kentucky last year, but his athleticism, ability, and size as a young guard make him a very tantalizing prospect if our staff believes they can develop him. He's a very good boom/bust pick for a rebuilding team like the Suns who have the time to invest in his development. He could pay off big time.

Alex Oriakhi: C-
He's the definition of a role player. A big strong guy who can come in, bang down low, and gobble up rebounds in limited minutes...that is, if he even makes the team. Still, I would have preferred guys like CJ Leslie, Myck Kabongo, Kenny Kadji, and even Jacob's guy Gregory Echenique over Oriakhi overall.

Richard Parker: Although grading it at this point is pretty much useless, I give them a B. They got two solid players with good upside, so I'm happy with that aspect. However, I do with they could have traded Gortat (in which case their grade would have been higher). I'm sure it wasn't for the lack of trying though...I hope.

Question 2: Do you like Len with the #5 pick?

JC: I like Len with the #5 pick since he was 4th on my personal "big board" (in a tossup with McCollum), especially considering it's being reported on twitter that Trey Burke was next on the Suns' wish list, but I felt that the Suns settled on a safer pick rather than a high ceiling guy. He wasn't my first choice.

DK: I really do. Doesn't bring a tear to the eye or anything. But he has a very good upside. DX had Len #1 on their big board over Noel and McLemore. That says a lot. We need to give the guy a chance to be Alex Len, and not spend all our time comparing him to anyone until we have seen him play.

KH: With Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel both on the board it is easy to say they could have gone in a different direction. Len will be in an amiable position to learn for a year under Marcin Gortat while getting his NBA legs under him and could be one of the better bigs in the league in a few years.

SS: I don't love it. Len reminds me of a mix between Meyers Leonard and our own Marcin Gortat. He has the size of a modern day prototypical center, but seems much too passive and finesse for my liking. Still, he is young and played on a team in Maryland who certainly didn't seem to try to maximize his talents, so the jury's still out on how effective he can really be. I would love to be proven wrong, but so far I just haven't seen anything from Len that makes me overly optimistic.

RP: I like Len a lot, actually. I think he projects to be a very solid big man who has skills on both ends. He's young (both in terms of actual age and basketball age) and he really has some solid upside.

Question 3: Were you surprised that the Suns chose Len considering who was left on the board?

JC: Very. My thought process when the Suns were on the clock was that they were taking one of Noel, McLemore or Len (in that order). I would have been completely floored if it wouldn't have been one of them. Like I've said before, if Noel was still on the board at five I would sprint to the podium... The Suns big board was obviously disparate from mine.

DK: Not really. I guess I thought they really wanted a shooting guard but I give them props for taking who was #1 on their board. Noel was red flagged by the Suns doctors on some level greater than we thought.

KH: Not surprised he was selected over Noel because he never came here and the vibe his camp was sending out was very unflattering. This will now be a game for Suns fans for the next 5-10 years picking apart the statlines of Len, Noel, and McLemore to see if they got the best player.

SS: That would be an understatement. Let's just say I heard the sounds of trumpets blowing, teeth gnashing, and women and babies weeping.

RP: I'd be lying if I said no. My pick was Noel but I can understand choosing Len. Like I said, I like him a lot so I'm going to give McDonough the benefit of the doubt at this point.

Question 4: Do you like Archie Goodwin with the #29 pick?

JC: High ceiling is a good way to go there. I personally liked Tony Mitchell (who went #37), but Goodwin has the same category of boom potential. While on the subject, is there really such a thing as a "safe" pick at #30? Don't guys at that slot have a pretty low success rate regardless?

DK: The #30 pick is rarely a quality player so I think the worst thing you can do is take a "safe" guy. Fill a specific need or draft for upside. Suns took the latter.

KH: Yes. Had that pegged for weeks actually, but was one of the few picks anyone got "right" based on the way the draft played out. The kid has talent, but he is immature like any 18 year old is. If the Suns can max out his potential... Look out.

SS: I do. At first I was a little disappointed given the other players who were still available, but I understand exactly why they drafted him. They are swinging for the fences here, and there's a pretty good chance we'll hit this one out of the park.

RP: Yes. I like it a lot more now than I did initially. I was hoping for Franklin or Crabbe but looking at it now, I really like the Goodwin pick. He's only 18 right now (!!) and he already has some solid talent. He just needs to develop his skills and get more polished. So good luck Hornacek...hopefully you can help Goodwin fulfill his very high potential.

Question 5: Should the Suns have been more active with trades?

JC: Absolutely. They pulled off the vanilla draft except for the shocking development of moving up one spot from #30 to #29. I don't agree with the rationale of Gortat being on the roster moving forward (hopefully that's not the intention). I would have loved to hear the internal discussion to help explain the lack of activity. Is it possible that other teams value our "assets" even less than I do?

DK: Of course I think so. Yes. But I don't blame them for not completing much if the demands were too high. I do expect a lot of activity in July. This team cannot return as constituted with just adding a couple of kiddies.

KH: Only if it positioned them well going forward. I was never in favor of giving away Jared Dudley or Gortat just to get another lottery pick. That is too risky and the player could easily be like a lot of recent late lottery picks, below average. Sometimes the best trades are the ones that do not happen.

SS: Absolutely. But we don't know what their options were either. Gambo reported we were trying to move Gortat and Dudley, but nothing ever materialized. I guess we have to assume that the opportunity never presented itself. We can still move them before the trade deadline though, and if we get a couple picks in 2014 that would be even better.

RP: Definitely. Like I said, I was hoping they'd trade Gortat. But I doubt it wasn't because they weren't trying. A lot of us (fans) like to think that just because we like a trade and think it's fair, it must happen in real life. GMs operate differently in the NBA than in mock drafts (shocker of the day).

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