The folly of the 2014-15 Suns was rooted in poor chemistry, lack of shooters, roster turmoil and post-trade deadline injuries. It's easy to place the blame on too many point guards, but the Suns were a much more effective team with the three-headed monster of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas than they were when forced to resort to the likes of Archie Goodwin and Jerel McNeal at point late in the season.
With the PG deck cleared of Dragic, IT and Tyler Ennis at the trade deadline, the "help wanted" sign is again posted for the Suns. Bledsoe is the only player certain to return, with Brandon Knight a restricted free agent. It's difficult to imagine the Suns letting Knight go after giving so much for him in trade, but this still leaves only the raw Goodwin and towel-waving Reggie Bullock as backcourt depth (projecting Gerald Green's exit as a free agent).
Even if Hornacek didn't appear to have a PG fetish, the Suns would need one. The only question is whether to find one via free agency or the draft. Jerian Grant is the perfect fit should the Suns choose to fill this hole through the draft.
Measurables (all courtesy Draft Express)
- Height (with shoes): 6'5"
- Weight: 198 lbs
- Wingspan: 6'7"
- Age: 22, played four years college basketball
- Last season's basic stats: 16.5 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.0 RPG on 48% overall shooting and 32% from 3
- Consensus First Team All-American as senior
- Led Notre Dame to NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, losing in that round to Kentucky.
He possesses better pure PG skills than either Bledsoe or Knight, which would make him a nice fit next to either of them when the other is resting. Additionally, it's easy to envision his strong pick and roll game, post passing and ability to find cutters creating easy shots for the likes of Len, Markieff Morris and T.J. Warren.
The Suns' offense was a train wreck down the stretch, with iso ball and lots of poor, contested shots the main culprits. Grant can help alleviate those problems by creating easier shots and getting to the FT line.
Also making him a strong fit in Phoenix are that he shared playmaking duties with Demetrius Jackson at ND, so is used to the arrangement, and is strong in transition offense. Include that he's the brother of current NBA player Jerami Grant, son of former player Harvey Grant and nephew of former player Horace Grant, and Jerian checks nearly every box of a Suns player profile. He seems to agree:
Draft Express has Grant at #19 in their mock draft, so it might be a bit of a reach for the Suns to take him at #13. However, there's always the option of trading down and acquiring another asset in the process, or scoring a second first round pick by trading a current player such as P.J. Tucker.
The prospect of drafting yet another PG after the debacle of Kendall Marshall and draft/flip of Ennis, while the team has other needs, is sure to give many Suns fans indigestion. But Jerian Grant is an excellent prospect who fits a current need: a smart, skilled, accomplished playmaker. He's also more athletically gifted than both Marshall and Ennis.
Will he be the best player available at #13? Maybe not. He will go on to be a successful pro player, though, and his fit on the Suns looks like a glove. One way or another, I'd like to see him in purple and orange next season.