Bright Side of the Sun will be giving you extensive draft coverage all the way up to June 25th. Our first installment of this process is a pre-combine look at the players sorted according to position by Sean Sullivan and Kellan Olson.
The Suns are currently stocked up at wing with the likes of P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, T.J. Warren, Brandon Knight, and Archie Goodwin, with Bogdan Bogdanovic overseas too. Knight will own the backcourt spot with Bledsoe, but there's doubt amongst some as to whether those three small forwards are good enough for the Suns to look elsewhere in the draft.
The way this draft is currently lined up will not help the Suns if they are looking to go the other way, as there is a good chance that one quality small forward prospect will fall to them at the end of the lottery. With that in mind, it's a good idea to check out all the wings available.
6'6", 222 lbs, 19 years old, Duke
I'll be the first one to admit I was wrong when I was all aboard the Stanley Johnson train as far as small forwards were concerned. Winslow proved last month that he is the man to beat at the spot.
Winslow is a super athlete who works his ass off all over the floor to affect the game anyway he can with his NBA ready body. Lockdown defense, rebounding, steals, blocks, leading his team, etc. He can do it all in terms of everything else on the floor. There were concerns about his perimeter shooting coming out of high school, but he shut that down very quickly with a 42% number on the season.
The concerns for Winslow is how he generates his own offense, but scouts rightfully shouldn't be too concerned about that after the way he dominated the NCAA Tournament without being a primary offensive option. In regards to scoring he needs to develop everything he does after dribbling except for finishing at the rim, but there's plenty of time for that while he excels with every other part of the game. That motor and shooting is enough offense for now.
Winslow is the top wing in this draft and it will take something crazy at the combine and in the workouts for that to change. Expect him to be the first off the board.
6'7", 200 lbs, 20 years old, Barcelona
I'm not going to act like I've seen Hezonja play all the time the past two seasons, but I can tell you a few things after watching roughly 5-6 of his games. He is the complete package in terms of a wing when it comes to the way he attacks the basket and shoots the ball. His instincts and vision on the floor really help him as a slasher, but he will occasionally use those to show off that he can really pass as well.
Hezonja looks like a terrific NBA prospect, but the red flags about his selfishness on the court and personality concerns off the court are troubling. I'm not informed enough on him to make a definitive stance, but it sure sounds like he's trouble and that it's going to take the right fit to make it work. The Suns do not seem like that type of team. He's still a top 10 talent regardless.
6'7", 245 lbs, 18 years old, Arizona
Johnson looked like a better version of Winslow coming out of high school, but it turns out that Winslow is everything you want Johnson to be. Johnson is built like a semi and looks like the next guy built like LeBron James in terms of his size, strength, and speed. My favorite description of Johnson is that he's a mix of a gazelle and an ox in transition.
Johnson's biggest doubt coming into this season was his shooting and he proved that wrong by putting up a 37% number. When he's fully locked in, Johnson is the most complete perimeter defender in this draft. He can simply take guys out of the game off of the ball and plays some incredible physical defense. He's a fantastic rebounder for his size and his flexibility defensively means you can get that from the shooting guard position if you want (like Winslow). He's also a developed offensive player, who can score off the bounce with floaters, pull up jumpers, and can dunk on your big.
We stop there though in terms of the prospect we saw coming out of high school. Johnson's motor is not what it waa touted to be, as he takes plays off on defense and gets beat way too often for the type of defender he can be. Despite his amazing frame, he is not that great of a finisher at the rim. He can take a rebound and run with it, but he consistently shows poor decision making and turns the ball over a ton when he really gets going. This occasionally happens in the half-court as well and can be extended to shot selection despite the improvement he showed over the season.
Johnson is going to take much more work than we thought, but I still believe he has the highest ceiling out of any wing in the draft. His offensive game is the most developed out of any of the premier defensive prospects in the draft and he has the body to dominate at the next level. Some teams are moving him way down their board and that's where the Suns could capitalize. He's just begging to be mentored by P.J. Tucker.
6'7", 205 lbs, 19 years old, Kansas
Oubre is the talent that scouts kept waiting for to take over this selection of players and show he was the best player in this group. He recovered from a rough start to the season, but he still wasn't able to live up to all of the hype.
Oubre has everything you could want out of a wing prospect for this NBA. He has the length, can finish in transition, shoots threes, rebounds, and has the potential to defend his position. However, that's speaking more from an evaluation. He's a fantastic athlete and has terrific lateral quickness.
Scouts kept waiting for those two elements to develop more of his game throughout the season, but it never really happened. Oubre is one of the most raw prospects in this draft, but he's right alongside Johnson in terms of a ceiling in the NBA. He's a guy that should really benefit from the combine and workouts. If the Suns want a wing project, this is him and he has a chance of being on the board when they pick.
6'9", 230 lbs, 20 years old, Wisconsin
There are two Dekker's we see and we've seen the best one in March. He is a great shooter with the proper intangibles and athleticism to succeed everywhere else on the floor. He can handle the ball well enough to add more to his game. His inconsistencies at Wisconsin saw him hang around the late first-round last year and this year, but a great March has him possibly going in the lottery. Analytics love this guy and he has a chance to be a super role player in the NBA.
6'6", 195 lbs, 18 years old, Kentucky
Booker is not Klay Thompson, but he is the type of shooter and intelligent basketball player to warrant this range in the draft. Shooters are valuable in the NBA and one this good that really understands how basketball works is going to get lottery looks. There's not much more to his offense, but he has done a good job of showing he can hold his own as a defender and that's the key element of his evaluation.
6'7", 220 lbs, 20 years old, Arizona
Hollis-Jefferson would be one of the better athletes in the NBA right now and was the best perimeter defender in college basketball this season. He was effective in guarding five different positions and has the really high motor to give you that extra gear when you need it. He is a terrific rebounder and is a good enough ball handler and unorthodox finisher to give you at least something offensively. He's tremendous in transition and is a better passer than you think, but he can't shoot at all and that's where his potential comes to a halt. He still projects as a great role player though because of his defense, motor, and rebounding.
6'5", 185 lbs, 21 years old, Georgia State
Hunter is a complete college shooter. He might be the best shooter in the draft and has enough to his game as a playmaker and scorer off the bounce to get looks in the lottery. Unfortunately, I saw a guy that would check out on defense in the tournament and was not impressed by his effort or understanding on that end. He has serious potential to be a heat check guy on your bench, but I don't see much more than that. That's enough to warrant this position in the late first-round though.