Ja Morant is no longer an option for the Phoenix Suns after slipping to No. 6 overall, but they are now in prime position to still land their point guard of the future if they wanted to. Two prospects who will go in the 4-7 range, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and North Carolina’s Coby White, could check the boxes Phoenix is looking for to pair alongside Devin Booker.
Between the NBA Draft Combine and the actually NBA Draft on June 20, we are in peak smokescreen season. Take these rumors with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to pre-draft promises, but they usually end up happening (ex: Chandler Hutchison selected by Bulls after combine promise).
Shams Charania reported last week that Garland left Chicago on Day 1, immediately fueling rumors about a promise from a team in that 4-7 range. Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro immediately came out saying the Suns didn’t promise Garland, but Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman was hearing speculation in the Windy City from executives about Phoenix indeed being the team.
If someone promised Vandy point guard Darius Garland it wasn’t the Phoenix Suns. I’m certain the Suns will have interest in him but no promise.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) May 16, 2019
Draft buzz: Some belief among NBA teams that Darius Garland left the combine with a promise from the Phoenix Suns— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) May 16, 2019
What’s even more interesting is that Darnell Mayberry, Bulls beat writer for The Athletic, says they aren’t being immediately connected as the team linked to Garland. If we are to go with the vetting from Gambadoro and Mayberry, that means Rich Paul could be steering his client to join the Lakers with fellow Klutch Sports representative LeBron James.
From an on-court standpoint, Garland’s sharpshooting element would definitely fit alongside James and even Lonzo Ball. The question is, would the Lakers make Ball available if they indeed select Garland at No. 4? Definitely something to monitor over the next month before Phoenix is on the clock.
Meanwhile, another point guard who will 100 percent be on the board at No. 6 has some chatter building around him as well. Widespread belief in Chicago of a promise made to White appeared after his quick combine visit, with his floor now appearing to be the Bulls selecting right behind Phoenix.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relayed some interesting information about White over the weekend.
Two league executives who spoke with the Tribune believe White’s promise is from a team that picks before the Bulls.
Well, this is interesting because if Garland and his Klutch connects land him in Los Angeles, then there isn’t a realistic option for White before Chicago except the Suns.
White leans more towards a score-first combo guard than an actual facilitator, but the 19-year-old has enough upside to blossom into a Jamal Murray type player in the right situation. The question is could that be in Phoenix alongside Booker?
During his one season with North Carolina, White averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 assists (+1.5 AST/TO), and 1.1 steals in only 28.5 minutes on 42.3/35.3/80.0 shooting splits. If the 6’5” guard can learn how to balance his dynamite scoring ability with proper playmaking nuance, there’s a chance he could be the Booker backcourt partner everyone has been clamoring for.