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Phoenix Suns Early NBA Mock Draft: Potential Targets

Who are the top prospects at each of the spots that the Suns are most likely to pick? Here is a compilation of some of the more popular names being mocked to the Suns in this very early look at the upcoming NBA Draft.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have accumulated a total of three first-round picks in the coming draft, and a very early second round pick to boot. With the fans of most teams watching the standings to see who gets into the playoffs, or where they'll be seeding, many Suns fans are already looking at the likely draft order of the Suns' picks this year, and studying up on the prospects who could be available.

With an understanding that this is still very early in the process, I figured, why not get things rolling with our first (of many to come) Bright Side of the Sun NBA Mock Draft...focusing on just the Suns.

Here is an aggregation of some of the more popular Mock Draft sites, and who they see the Suns picking at each spot. Along with that information, I'll also mention some of my personal favorites who could be targets later down the road...some of whom will be very different than the names being mocked at those spots today.

So, without further adieu...Let the mocking begin!

Phoenix Suns' First, 1st Round Pick

Likely Range: 2-4

Current lottery slotting: 3rd/4th

Popular Picks for the Suns:

Draft Express: Dragan Bender

NBAdraft.net: Buddy Hield

ESPN (Chad Ford/Insider): Dragan Bender

My Picks: If the Suns get lucky enough to land either the first or second pick in the draft, then Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram are no-brainers. However, if they stay at three, or get knocked back to four, there are many different players I could see them choosing. Players like Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn; while giving the Suns yet another guard, could be real possibilities here. Or, possibly the explosive small forward, Jaylen Brown, who would likely be my first choice outside of the top two players in the draft. So why not Bender? First off, I'm just not sold on Dragan, whatsoever. I understand the intrigue, certainly. However, he is all potential and no production yet. At 18 years old he is just now starting to get regular, extended minutes during international play, and while he has put up some decent numbers overall, there are just too many questions right now. He's riding the Kristaps Porzingis coat-tails all of the way into the top 5 in many mocks so far. But let's see if that continues as the draft approaches.

Phoenix Suns' Second, 1st Round Pick

Likely Range: 12-13

Current lottery slotting: 13

Popular Picks for the Suns:

Draft Express: Timothe Luwawu

NBAdraft.net: Jakob Poeltl

ESPN (Chad Ford/Insider): Furkan Korkmaz

My Picks: The waters start to get a little murkier here already with the big draft sites, and I'm going to muddy them even more by completely disagreeing with everyone. Jakob Poeltl is the only name I'm really familiar with having seen most of his games. And, while I think he would be a great pick here, the problem is, the Suns already have his closest comparison in Alex Len. As for the other two? Let me preface this by saying that I am no expert on international players besides highlights and the occasional video that makes it to Youtube. My arm-chair scouting begins and ends with the NCAA. But if the Suns are going to take a chance on a young, international prospect like these two, why not swing for the fences with the newly declared, Thon Maker? Why take a risk so early? Well, first of all, this is a very weak draft outside of the top 5-7. There just aren't very many game-changers in this year's class. But Thon Maker could be a hidden gem. His size and skill-set is one of the most intriguing out of any prospect. He has blue-chip potential and a great work ethic by all accounts. At a lanky 7' 1" with great mobility and ability, shot-blocking, and shooting out to three-point range, I think he has a much better chance of becoming the next Kristaps than Bender who is currently mocked in the top three. If the Suns play it safer here, I'd rather see them take a shot on Ivan Rabb, who is another intriguing freshman who has the tools to be a very good post defender, shot-blocker, and rebounder...especially once he puts on some more muscle.


Phoenix Suns' Third, 1st Round Pick

Likely Range: 27-28

Current lottery slotting: 28

Popular Picks for the Suns:

Draft Express: Juan Hernangomez

NBAdraft.net: Damian Jones

ESPN (Chad Ford/Insider): Jonathan Jeanne

My Picks: All credibility for everyone goes out the window here, as it is anyone's best guess who will be available here, and who could be selected. However, my personal favorites at this point in the first round whom I think all have a good shot of making it this far are: Brice Johnson, Taurean Prince, and Diamond Stone. Brice Johnson is my favorite here, as I see him being tremendously undervalued as a senior. He's had an outstanding year for UNC, and averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. If the Suns want a capable rotational power forward while they let a guy like Thon Maker develop in the D-league, or one of the many international prospects continue to develop overseas, Brice is the guy.

Phoenix Suns' 2nd Round Pick

Likely Range: 33-34

Current lottery slotting: 33/34

Popular Picks for the Suns:

Draft Express: Brice Johnson

NBAdraft.net: Tyler Ulis

My Picks: DraftExpress actually has one of my favorites, Brice Johnson, going to the Suns here. But I just don't think he'll last until the second round. As for Tyler Ulis? Well, he's a very good floor general and would give the Suns another pure point guard with whom they could use as a third option while he develops. However, I'm not sure he makes it this far either. My picks here would be Fred VanVleet, Cheick Diallo, and Perry Ellis. VanVleet is my personal favorite here, and it is almost a certainty that he will still be available when the Suns pick in the second round, because he is tremendously undervalued in my opinion. Not since the Suns drafted Dragic in 2008 has a Suns' second round pick contributed in any meaningful way. Well, VanVleet can change that. He's an NBA-ready, true point guard, who could be a realistic third option next season. It's a real long-shot that the Suns will find that diamond in the rough this late in the draft, so why not go with a solid, proven contributor instead?

Not really any great analysis videos, but here's a great story about him instead:

Bottom Line

Even if the Suns can't land one of the top-two picks, and come away with Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, there are still quite a few players who could help this team. In addition to the high-end prospects who could potentially make an impact as early as next season, there is a good mix of high-ceiling players, some more ready that other, whom the Suns could invest in for the long-term, and stash overseas or in the D-League for a few years until they're ready.

On the other hand, there are also quite a few plug-and-play prospects, mostly later in the draft, whom the Suns could take to be rotational pieces on the team for the time being, while they wait for some of their young talent to develop.

Of course, once the season ends and the lottery selections are complete (May 19th-mark your calendars!), we will have a much better idea of where, and whom the Suns could be picking. The NBA Draft Combine also takes place from May 11-15, so that will give us a much better idea of some of the physical abilities and attributes of many top players.

We at Bright Side of the Sun will continue to have updated mock drafts as we continue to march closer to the day of reckoning. Until then, google some of these names, look at some highlight videos, read their player analyses, and get yourselves ready for June 23rd!