Monday morning, the Phoenix Suns had their final pre-draft workout heading into Thursday night’s NBA Draft. What stood out about this particular one compared to the rest was the familiar faces throughout.
Out of the six total prospects that came to Phoenix, only Sterling Brown and V.J. Beachem had not visited prior. Josh Hart, Semi Ojeleye, Davon Reed, and Dillon Brooks all made this a second trip to the Valley, as all have gone through a draining circuit in June.
Hart, who the Suns’ front office has now seen three times in the past three weeks, including a contingent at his pro day in Los Angeles, finished up his fourteenth total workout and is looking forward to finally kicking back and relaxing before draft night.
“I was looking forward to tonight at midnight when I get back to New York, that’s all I’m looking towards,” Hart said. “The next couple of days I’m just going to get away from it, not even think about it, because I know if I do long nights just laying in bed, being anxious, not sleeping. I’m just going to try and get away from it.”
Media only saw two minutes of three-on-three action between the prospects, but I did take notice of a couple of things. Hart, Ojeleye, and Brown were on one team, while Reed, Beachem, and Brooks were on the other.
Reed was carrying the point guard duties and was vocal with calling out screens and or attacking the rim. From a 6’5” wing with a 7’ wingspan, Reed’s length stands out when you’re right next to him. Reed has ballhandling and playmaking capabilities, so it’s something to keep an eye on if he’s a Sun come Thursday.
The scrimmage ended with Hart stealing the ball from Reed, with Brown picking it up and finishing through contact for the and-one. That’s how Phoenix’s final workout ended, too, with no three-minute run at the end this time since many had done it a couple weeks back.
This session was high in intensity, and Reed wanted to show that off alongside what he can provide as a point-forward.
“This one was a little-bit high level, not to say the last workout (in Phoenix) wasn’t, but a lot of highly regarded guys. We got after it today, so it was a good workout,” Reed said. “I know I’ve been labeled as a 3-and-D guy, but I just wanted to show them that I can do a lot of things off the dribble, off the pick-and-roll. Just showing my athleticism, playmaking, and just showing my versatility.
Meanwhile, Brown made his presence felt in Phoenix for the first and final time before the draft.
Brown, the brother of former NBA player Shannon, expects his defensive prowess to translate immediately to a franchise. The former SMU Mustang has a thick build and can finish through contact with regularity. He certainly fits the mold of a 3-and-D player on the next level, much like all of Monday’s participants.
“I’d say my defense, being able to shoot the perimeter shot as well,” Brown said. “I feel like my whole game is going to transition pretty well, just got to keep working.”
Brown, who is projected as a mid to late second-round pick, but could go much earlier dependent upon draft boards, is a perfect example of just how deep this draft class is. In any other year, Brown would be a late first rounder. That speaks to the overall abundance of talent in the 2017 draft class, which general manager Ryan McDonough echoed when he met with the media.
“I think you can get good value in the early second round, especially in a deep draft like this one is,” McDonough said. “If you look at this group we had in today, there are a lot of guys who fit that criteria of guys who might be a little older, might not measure or test the best, but when you get in games they’re pretty darn effective. Three or four guys in that group fit that description. If those guys are there in the early second round at 32, we’ll take a long look at them.”
If I had to take a guess at those three or four who stand out as options at No. 32, they would go in this order: Hart, Ojeleye, Brown, and Reed.
I fully expect the Suns to keep their top second round choice, as this class will provide a team an immediate rotation player right off the bat. That rings true when mentioning the Suns' roster, too.