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Suns Draft Preview Series: Ty-Shon Alexander Scouting Report and Interview

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If the Suns trade for a 2nd round pick, Ty-Shon Alexander is one of the best fits as a running mate alongside Devin Booker in this entire class.

St. John’s v Creighton Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

I was able to chat with potential 2nd round pick Ty-Shon Alexander in Phoenix earlier this week. He was initially slated to feature in an upcoming article (that is still on the way) on my favorite 2nd round fits for the Suns if they decide to buy a pick or acquire an extra pick if they trade down, which is a definitely an avenue they could look to explore.

I can confirm there is some mutual interest between both parties in making this fit happen if the stars align properly on draft night, so it’s worth diving into what Ty-Shon brings to the table and how he could potentially fit in Phoenix both short and long-term.


General Background

Position: PG/SG, Combo guard

Measurables: 6’4”, 6’8” Wingspan

Age: 22 years old on draft day

School: Creighton

Projected Role: Physical 3 & D combo guard

Projected Draft Range: Mid-to-late 2nd round (37th on my big board)

Quick Scouting Notes

-Alexander is an absolute menace that brings a tenacious approach to the defensive side of the ball. He hounds opposing guards at the point of attack and has shown that he has the ability to slow down some of the top scoring guards in the country throughout his tenure at Creighton.

-He can step on an NBA court tomorrow and make an impact defensively against guards by making them uncomfortable with constant pressure and his ability to fight over screens. He is a top 5 on-ball defender in this entire class, and the team-defense is sound as well.

-Outside of the defense, I believe his next best skill will be the shooting. He shot 79-for-200 (39.5%) from three point range last season at Creighton and also boasted a robust .595 True Shooting Percentage.

Additional shooting numbers (via Barttorvik):

  • Dunks: 4-4 (100%)
  • Close 2’s: 45-84 (53.6%)
  • Long 2’s: 32-85 (37.6%)
  • FT’s: 114-132 (86.4%)
  • 3 Pointers: 79-200 (39.5%)

-His three point attempt rate is ideal at 54.2 percent, which essentially means he’s leaning into his strength (shooting threes) and the sample size of 200 attempts in one season is enough to convince me that the shooting will translate since he shot it at a nearly 40 percent clip along with the excellent free throw shooting.

-I believe in his passing and vision enough for him to become a part-time ball-handler on the perimeter. There are areas to clean up on that end and room for improvement of course, but the passing flashes he’s shown are fairly encouraging. I believe there is some untapped playmaking ability that could be unlocked at the next level as long as he commits to it.

-He will likely be limited to guarding 1’s and 2’s and occasional 3’s depending on the size/player, though his plus-4 wingspan (6’8”) should help combat some of those potential issues against bigger wings. While the defense will translate, there is only so much value a guard can bring because of size.

Fit in Phoenix

Ideally in the short-term he can play alongside both Ricky Rubio or Devin Booker due to his ability to play off-ball while handling some secondary playmaking duties if need be. His ability to spread the floor and defend at a high level gives him a pretty clear pathway towards establishing a role early on in his career. He has also shown that he is an intelligent cutter off the ball, and in Phoenix’s offense that often gets rewarded as shown by Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson on numerous occasions last season.

While there is quite a bit of guard depth at the moment, there are no guarantees with free agents, or the young prospects that have yet to establish themselves. As far as I’m concerned the additional competition would be welcome, especially since he’s a better fit next to Booker than someone like Ty Jerome or Elie Okobo at this moment.

Interview

I asked him what he’s working on most in order to get ready for the NBA Draft and he replied, “I’ve been working a lot on my ball-handling, because I want to be a combo guard that can play the 1 and the 2, and also just being able to read the defense more and shoot off the dribble or run off screens.”

That would certainly help find him more playing time right away so he isn’t strictly limiting himself as a shooting guard. In today’s NBA having positional versatility is essential in carving out a role, so it’s a great mentality to have.

When asked which player he tries to model certain parts of his game after he mentioned Portland guard CJ McCollum, saying he watches a ton of his film and studies what he does on the court for his own game. “He (CJ) is a mentor for me”.

Suns fans will love this one.

The player that he’s looking forward to guarding the most in the NBA? Devin Booker. “During college I used to watch all of his highlights, him and CJ (McCollum). The way he carries himself and the way he showed up after Kentucky... he wanted to show people who he can truly be, and that’s my mindset. I want to show people who I can truly be. I look up to him (Booker) because of what he’s doing, so that’s why I’m looking forward to guarding him one day.”

Booker is one of the toughest defensive assignments in the league, but like all great defenders Ty-Shon is up for the challenge as a sign of respect. Maybe that day will come sooner than expected in a practice setting if the Suns do wind up acquiring Ty-Shon.

When asked what his most bankable skill is that could get him on an NBA court right away he said, “I know defensively I can come in and provide a ton of energy and just be dialed in and guard the opponent’s best player”.

In a private workout against many NBA players and pros, let’s just say he more than held his own.


Overall from the brief time I spent around him along with everything I’ve read or hear about him, he seems like a genuine person that is down to earth and would make a great addition to any NBA team’s locker room.

If Phoenix winds up with a 2nd round pick, Alexander will indeed be on the Suns’ radar and he is one of my personal favorite sleeper picks in this year’s draft. There is even a possibility he could go undrafted with how unpredictable this draft is, so if they could land him as an UDFA that would be a massive steal, although I think plenty of teams would regret it if they passed up on him come draft night.

Here’s an awesome film room breakdown if you want a deeper dive into Ty-Shon’s mindset and overall skills he brings to the table.