I say "at least" because the leaked participants in yesterday's closed workouts included a solo workout for Croatian forward Dragan Bender, a strong candidate for the 4th overall selection, and a group workout with an odd number (5) of participants. Since the workout includes a 3-on-3 scrimmage, the Suns may have brought back a local kid like ASU's Gerry Blakes to even up the numbers or may have had another lottery-level participant not yet released.
Saturday's closed group workout, as reported by Paul Coro of azcentral.com, included three candidates for the 13th overall selection: French swingman Timothe Luwawu, Michigan State senior SF Denzel Valentine and Michigan State freshman Deyonta Davis.
Coro also reports that another candidate for the 4th overall selection gave the Suns a private, solo workout on Friday: Washington freshman PF Marquese Chriss.
After inviting the local media to interview almost 70 prior workout visitors over the past 4 weeks, including many of the projected first round picks, the Suns have locked down the workout process since June 10 as they bring in the very top prospects leading up to the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
As a media member, I very much appreciate the open door policy the Suns have cultivated since GM Ryan McDonough took over in 2013. The Suns have hosted 60+ players every May-June for predraft workouts and made nearly all of them available for post-workout interviews for the local media.
But this year the process changed a bit, okay a lot, as player agents have decided to flex their limited muscle and make it harder for teams to get the lottery-level talents to compete in group workouts against like competition. The downside, from the agent's perspective, of making workouts public for their top talent is that publicizing a group workout for a guy already rated highly can only knock them down a few rungs on the ladder if they perform poorly.
For example, not only does a Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield not want to look bad in heated, competitive workout against each other, they absolutely cannot afford to have a bad day against Malachi Richardson or Malik Beasley.
#4 Overall Pick
Of the top 7 rated prospects on the DX Top 100, the Suns have now hosted only Dragan Bender (3) and Jaylen Brown (5). Marquese Chriss, still rated 11th by DX but also a candidate to be taken as high as 3rd, has visited Phoenix as well. It's been reported the Suns have Jamal Murray (6) on tap for a private workout too.
Of the remaining players in the Top 7, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are locks for #1 and #2 overall. There's no need to force a visit from either player even if they were open to it.
PG Kris Dunn (4) has refused to visit the Suns as he tries to force his way to Minnesota at 5 or New Orleans at 6 so he doesn't have to compete for big minutes as a rookie.
Buddy Hield (7) has visited very few teams but since, according to local radio host John Gambodoro, the Suns are still considering Hield at #4 you can make an educated guess that Hield will find his way to Phoenix for a private, unannounced workout in the coming days, just like Murray, Bender and Chriss.
The best guess here is that, if the Suns keep the #4 overall pick, the choice is down to Bender or Chriss. We don't know in what order the Suns would rate these players on their draft board if both are available at their pick.
I would suspect that Murray, Hield or even Dunn would only be considered in the context of a small trade-down or other draft day trade that otherwise lightens the roster imbalance at guard.
#13 Overall Pick
Who knows what the Suns will do here. It all depends on what happens at 4. If the Suns end up with a fresh new guard after the 4th pick, then you can bet one of the many PF prospects will hear his name called at #13 overall.
But if the Suns take a PF like Chriss or Bender at #4, then the Suns would likely turn to a wing player or point guard at #13.
One important consideration here is the pending decision by Serbian SG Bogdan Bogdanovic on whether to join the Suns for 2016-17 or not. If Bogdan declares the intention to join the Suns in the coming days, and the Suns have already taken a PF at the #4 spot, the door suddenly opens on a million possibilities at 13.
With the visits of Luwawu, Davis and Valentine on Saturday, the Suns have now hosted almost every possible candidate for the #13 selection and then some.
The only exception would be Furkan Korkmaz, a shooting guard from Turkey. Like Bogdan, Korkmaz was still playing ball until last week's Turkish League Championship so he has not been to the US for workouts. Korkmaz would almost certainly be a draft-and-stash selection at 13.
You could make the case that Korkmaz would be a perfect pick for the Suns if Bogdan declares. The Suns would already have as many as 6 players on rookie deals (Booker, Warren, Len, Goodwin, #4 and Bogdan) before they are on the clock at 13, so a highly talented Euro would make sense.
Alternately, the Suns could trade down from 13 to pick up another asset and still get a good 3-and-D player in DeAndre Bembry, Taurean Prince or even Denzel Valentine if he falls based on concerns over his knees.
It should be noted that Washington PG Dejounte Murray, who has had visits with teams drafting as high as 10th including the Suns at 13, is one of less than 20 prospects invited to the Green Room by the NBA. So is Malachi Richardson.
The full list is here. Less than 20 players will be filmed live with their family and friends as they wait for their name to be called, so the NBA goes to great lengths to make sure they have good intel that every one of those players will be taken early in the draft.
#28 and #34 overall picks
If you haven't listened to Kellan Olson and Geoff Allen talk about the candidates on the latest BSotS pod, then you simply haven't lived.
We are lucky to have such knowledgable students of the game like Kellan and Geoff on staff for their insights on the lesser-known players who just might become household names for the Suns this summer as late picks, Summer League participants and/or D-League Northern Arizona Suns prospects.
Here's a list of all 76 known draft prospect visitors to Phoenix for individual or group workouts. You can't say the Suns don't work hard at this process to get it right.
June 18 (no media):
- Michigan State PF Deyonta Davis
- Michigan State SF Denzel Valentine
- France G/F Timothe Luwawu
- Louisville F/C Chinanu Onuaku
- Arizona State PF Eric Jacobsen
- Croatia PF Dragan Bender (solo)
June 17 (no media):
- Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington (solo, no media)
- Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington (solo)
- North Carolina F/C Brice Johnson
- France F/C Alpha Kaba
- Kentucky F/C Skal Labissiere
- Columbia G Maodo Lo
- Utah C Jakob Poeltl
- Syracuse G Malachi Richardson
- Wyoming G Josh Adams
- Arizona State G Gerry Blakes
- France F Petr Cornelie
- Spain F Juanacho Hernangomez
- UC Irvine C Mamadou Ndiaye
- Greece C Georgios Papagiannis
- Marquette F Henry Ellenson (solo)
- Jaylen Brown, SF, California (solo)
- Purdue C A.J. Hammons
- Tulsa G Shaquille Harrison
- Gonzaga G Eric McClellan
- Iowa St. F Georges Niang
- Maryland C Diamond Stone
- SPO Rouen (France) F Geurschon Yabusele
- Arizona F Ryan Anderson
- Notre Dame F Zach Auguste
- James Madison G Ron Curry
- Kansas F Cheick Diallo
- Baylor G Lester Medford
- Wake Forest G Codi Miller-McIntyre
- Gonzaga F Domantas Sabonis (solo)
May 30 (two separate group workouts):
- NC State G Anthony Barber
- Maryland F Robert Carter Jr.
- Denain ASC Voltaire G Isaia Cordinier
- Kansas F Perry Ellis
- Syracuse G Michael Gbinije
- Vanderbilt F Damian Jones
- Athlete Institute F Thon Maker
- Kentucky F Alex Poythress
- Kentucky G Tyler Ulis
- California G Tyrone Wallace
- Indiana F Troy Williams
- Arizona G Gabe York
- Vanderbilt G Wade Baldwin
- St. Joseph's F DeAndre' Bembry
- Virginia G Malcolm Brogdon
- Oklahoma G Isaiah Cousins
- Florida F Dorian Finney-Smith
- Boise State F James Webb II
- Clemson F Jaron Blossomgame
- Memphis F Shaq Goodwin
- Maryland F Jake Layman
- Baylor F Taurean Prince
- New Mexico State F Pascal Siakam
- Iowa F Jarrod Uthoff
- UC Santa Barbara G Michael Bryson
- Pepperdine F Stacy Davis
- Notre Dame G Demetrius Jackson
- Louisville G Damion Lee
- Iowa State F Abdel Nader
- Alabama G Retin Obasohan
- China PF/C Zhou Qi
- Arizona State C Eric Jacobsen
- Providence PF Ben Bentil
- Weber State F Joel Bolomboy
- Indiana G Yogi Ferrell
- Connecticut G Daniel Hamilton
- Wisconsin F Nigel Hayes
- Oregon State G Gary Payton II
- Purdue PF Caleb Swanigan
- USC PF Nikola Jovanovic
- Wake Forest PG Codi Miller-McIntyre
- Georgia Tech PG Adam Smith
I want to thank our newest contributor Owen Sanborn for attending and recapping every single one of these that's been open to the media. Owen's only flaw is that doesn't speak enough Chinese to have gotten the exclusive interview with Zhou Qi when he visited on May 21.
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads, step-dads, guardians and single moms out there!
It's tough to be a dad, and I include stepdads, guardians and single moms in that sentiment because fatherhood comes in many forms for one reason or another.
To me, being a good dad is the largest part of my identity. Sure, I am proud of the work I do all day to support my family and the BSotS work I do a few hours a week to satisfy my basketball and writing addiction. I'm proud of the number of lives I positively impact between my day job and the blog. But these things could disappear tomorrow and I'd still base my happiness on my success as a father and husband.
So if you fill the role as the father of any children, pat yourself on the back for all the work you do whether they recognize and appreciate it or not.