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Bright Side's NBA Draft Big Board for the Phoenix Suns' First Pick

We came together to talk about our big boards for the first of the Suns' four projected picks in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

With the Suns' season over, the Bright Side staff decided it was high time to start thinking about the upcoming draft. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be providing you with some diverse content on the draft, including mock drafts, player profiles, roundtable discussions and other pieces.

To start with, we thought it would be a good idea to create our collective Big Board for the Suns' first overall pick. This pick will fall somewhere between 1st overall and 7th overall.

The Phoenix Suns finished the 2015-16 season with the 4th worst record, giving them these odds in the lottery that takes place in mid-May.

  • 11.9% chance to jump to the #1 overall pick
  • 12.6% chance to jump to the #2 pick
  • 13.3% chance to jump to the #3 pick
  • 9.9% chance to stay there at #4
  • 35.1% chance to drop to the #5 pick
  • 16% chance to drop to the #6 pick
  • 1.2% chance to drop to the #7 pick

As you can see, the Suns currently sit at #4 overall but staying there is unlikely. The Suns have a slightly better overall chance to drop to 5-7 range (52.3%) than to stay in the top 4 (48.7%). There is no chance the Suns drop any lower than #7 overall.

As such, we (Dave King, Kellan Olson, Sean Sullivan and myself) each ranked our Top 7 players, which should ostensibly cover all possible selections the Suns may make.

We then totaled up the relative rankings for each player, assigned them a point total based on those rankings, and constructed the Aggregate Big Board, shown below.

Dave Sean Kellan Geoff Points Rank
Simmons 1 1 2 1 27 1
Ingram 2 2 1 2 25 2
Bender 3 NA 3 3 15 3/4
Brown 5 3 4 5 15 3/4
Dunn 4 6 6 4 12 5
Murray 6 4 7 6 9 6
Ellenson NA 7 5 7 5 7
Hield NA 5 NA NA 3 8
Poeltl 7 NA NA NA 1 9


As you can see, there were some obvious, and less obvious differences of opinion. We ended up with 9 players, for one. And some players are massively different placed. So we're going to address some of those differences below.

What do you think is your most controversial placement on this big board, and why did you make it?

Geoff Allen: I'm a little lower on Jaylen Brown than the rest. He collapsed at the end of the season for Cal, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but isn't a glowing endorsement either. Brown doesn't seem like a great shooter, but I'm also not convinced he is all that effective as a slasher. Some have noted that he has some of the court mental issues - consistency and decision making are noted by multiple scouts as major weaknesses. For those reasons I have him lower down my board.

Dave King: I think many Suns fans would rather stick a fork in their neck than see the Suns draft another point guard. After taking (and trading) Kendall Marshall in 2012 and Tyler Ennis in 2014, and acquiring Eric Bledsoe in 2013, Isaiah Thomas in 2014 and Brandon Knight in 2015, Suns fans have seen enough point guard acquisitions. Yet, if the Suns are drafting in the 4-6 range this year, I'd advocate taking Kris Dunn, the point guard from Providence. Dunn is a better passer and defender than Knight, though not as good a shooter. He would be a great backup to Bledsoe. He's a little bigger than Bledsoe and a better passer. He profiles as a good defender too. Dunn's problems are age (he will be 23 next year) and shooting (he can't), but all of his other skills are quite playable right away. If Bledsoe goes down to injury again, Dunn could slide right into that starting role. They could also play next to each other with Booker sliding to SF in what could be a very disruptive defensive back court.

Kellan Olson: I rate Brandon Ingram higher than Ben Simmons as both a prospect and a fit for the Suns. In order for a team to get the most out of Simmons, he's going to need the ball in his hands a fair bit because of the issues with his jumper and how dynamic he is as a playmaker. That's not going to work as well in Phoenix, with Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Knight taking most of the possessions. His defense is also a red flag, and while Booker should grow as a defender over time, the Suns would not be anywhere close to an effective defensive team with three major pieces of the rotation (Knight) being huge liabilities on defense. Ingram is the more raw prospect, but his catch-and-shoot game is ready right now, he has more upside on offense and defense, and is far more suited to play a lesser role while he grows as a player than Simmons is.

What player on this list do you have the most questions about, and why?

GA: I'm totally unsold on Jamal Murray. I may just irrationally dislike Kentucky combo guards, but Murray really seems problematic to me. He's listed as a combo guard, and he certainly has the size to play both positions. But I never really saw much ability to create opportunities for teammates from Murray. Some of that might have been that he was playing with Ulis, but I'm still not sold. If he can't distribute, he has to be a score first guard. And that's problematic if he isn't a great athlete, which to be honest he doesn't appear to be.

DK: I have questions about every player on this list. Ingram is raw. Simmons can't shoot. Bender might be the next Tskitishvili. Brown might be SF version of Goodwin. Dunn can't shoot. Murray is another combo guard too small to be an SG and not a great PG. Poeltl and Ellenson shouldn't be Top 10 players. But the player I would take totally off the Suns board is Buddy Hield. Hield reminds me too much of Dion Waiters - he's undersized as a shooting guard and can't play any other position. And he won't be a good defender. The Suns have enough of those kinds of players already.

KO: From a pre-draft position, this drat class looks terrible and Dave covered the major flaw of every top prospect. On our big board, you arguably start talking about just role player potential after Murray for most prospects. Hield could be a sharpshooting version of a microwave scorer off the bench, Poeltl could be a better Robin Lopez and Henry Ellenson could be an offensive stretch four off the bench with major problems elsewhere on the floor like Mirza Teletovic.

What player on this list do you expect to make a precipitous fall or rapid rise?

DK: Dragan Bender will eventually come over the states for likely private workouts. I doubt he'd do all the drills at the Draft Combine or join group workouts. I'd guess he'll only do private, one-on-one workouts with top drafting teams (one of which will be the Suns). The latest rumors have Bender definitely coming to the NBA next season, with an out clause in his contract right-sized for the NBA team who drafts him. Bender's been rumored with #1 overall pick talent but has only shown second round pick production overseas. By draft night, the top teams will know where he should really rank on their board and that could be very different than the scouts' #3 ranking as of today.

GA: I think Poeltl is destined for a fall. This is already reflected in our board - earlier in the year, it would have been hard to imagine a top 7 that didn't feature Poeltl. But he was exposed a bit by Sabonis in the tournament, and there were already concerns that had mounted throughout the season about his professional role. I wouldn't be surprised if, as the process goes along, he ends up outside the top 10, with potential suitors looking to Skal Labissiere as a better option.

KO: I completely agree with Geoff on Poeltl. To continue on my point from the last question, outside of the top 6 is not a part of the draft to get crazy about because of the lack of serious upside. That's a reason why I think someone like Marquese Chriss, Timothe Luwawu or Labissiere will get picked in the top 10 and possibly even higher.

Now it's your turn

Take it away, Suns fans.

What's your Top-7 Big Board? Do you have any differences at the top of the draft so far?