With the draft lottery less than two weeks away now is a good time to start up our annual mock draft checkups around the web.
The results of the draft lottery on May 19 won’t really factor in to who is available for the Suns unless of course they jump to the top three. There’s still a reason to tune in of course to see if the Lakers pick falls outside of the top five and we can all collectively headbutt a wall if the worst case scenario for that pick does indeed happen.
Before we get to the mocks, the one thing to watch in the draft from the Suns perspective in my opinion is how much shuffling occurs in this second tier of players. There is a clear first tier of players on the top with Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, D’Angelo Russell, Kristapas Porzingis, Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Mario Hezonja.
That group of eight has been pretty clear all season. Beyond that, there’s a group of about fifteen players that are ranked differently on just about every top site and one of those players is going to be the Suns selection.
The shuffling in that second tier of the players we went over is something to watch from now until June 25. An example of this already is Cameron Payne jumping from the end of the first round to perhaps going at the end of the lottery. That sort of movement on Chad Ford’s board from just the past month shows how much can change in these mock draft situations.
Here’s a look at the latest editions of the major mocks:
ESPN: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
Another point guard? With Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight already on the roster? Hear me out. Both Bledsoe and Knight are really 2-guards in point guard bodies. They'll work well together and will get a ton of minutes playing both guard spots. But Payne is more of a pure point guard and frankly, sees the floor better than both of them. I love him and I think you take the best talent on the board -- especially with Knight a free agent and the long-term results of this experiment still very much up in the air. Long-term, the Suns will need help to back them up anyway. Remember they traded away Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Ennis at the trade deadline and only brought in Knight in return. They could choose to re-sign Kendall Marshall this summer, but I think Payne is a much better long-term solution.
Draft Express: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin (player rankings only for now)
CBS Sports: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
This is the perfect marriage between scheme and player. Kaminsky is going to be able to space the floor for the slashing play of Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe, as well as attack closeouts from players who charge at his shot too hard. The collegiate national player of the year will always have some defensive deficiencies, but he'll always be effective as long as he can shoot and handle the ball in space.
USA Today: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
A good defender with a ton of physical tools, Looney could rise up draft boards if decision makers feel confident in his offensive game expanding down the line.
Sports Illustrated: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
On a deep Kentucky team, Lyles numbers are misleading; scouts see the potential for a skilled inside-out player. The Suns badly need an offensive presence in the frontcourt. Lyles will take time to develop, but his upside is pretty high.
This was a confusing initial round of mocks. The three players Sean and I really liked for the team in Bobby Portis, Montrezl Harrell, and Stanley Johnson all got passed on in at least one of these mocks. Portis and Harrell were passed on in every one of these mocks. The Suns could definitely use a backup point guard, but if there’s players on the board that can give them size and shooting down low or more talent and shooting on the wing then I think that’s who they will take. That’s more like the selections of Frank Kaminsky by Sam Vecenie at CBS Sports or Trey Lyles by Chris Mannix at SI.
Even with that, I still see better fits on the floor in every mock. I’d go into a state of psychosis if the Suns passed on Stanley Johnson like Ford did.
We are still far away from these mocks being solidified though. Ford’s in particular was just a "needs" mock and his will be moving around as he gains more and more knowledge through his sources leading up to June.
What do you think Suns fans? Is there a particular player that you are hoping slips to 13? What about a player you like that’s perhaps ranked a little higher? Let us know in the comments.