SB Nation hosted a blogger mock draft with some of the brightest minds from each team’s site making the picks.
You can find the full 30-team mock draft at SBNation.com.
Oftentimes, mock drafts where each pick is made by a plugged-in individual that is familiar with team situations are more accurate than one person making picks down a straight line. I made the pick for the Phoenix Suns in this one, going into the draft with this in mind:
In my opinion, the Phoenix Suns have two primary needs this offseason.
- a) a guard that can score/create for themselves
- b) a big man that can provide Ayton insurance
Given that the Suns already have Jalen Smith in their system combined with how easy it is to sign a veteran big man that can provide immediate depth, I think targeting a guard creator should be the focus of this draft from a long-term perspective.
Based on how the board shook out in this mock draft, I thought it was best to address a long-term need with some upside as well. Some of my favorite targets were off the board in Jaden Springer, Tre Mann, Bones Hyland, and Trey Murphy III to name a few.
The “consolation” prize wasn’t bad either though, as Christopher is in that same tier as my aforementioned personal favorites.
29th pick: Joshua Christopher- SG, 6’5” (Arizona State)
- Role: Versatile, Downhill Scorer + Off-Ball Secondary Creator.
- Stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG, on 43/30/80 shooting splits.
Christopher is a powerful athlete with a solid frame and size for his position standing at 6’5” weighing in at 215 pounds. His main appeal as an off-guard is the self-creation off the bounce in a variety of ways. I believe he has the ability to develop into an effective three-level scorer as he develops and continues to add to his bag.
He was limited to just 15 games during his freshman campaign due to a leg injury, but he showed some flashes of excellence throughout.
Phoenix has struggled to score at times when Paul and Booker are either off the floor or having an “off game”, so adding someone that can provide an offensive spark along with Cam Payne off the bench would be ideal. Plugging him into a low-pressure, low-usage role to start his gradual development would be the best for him long-term.
It sounds crazy to say this given their somewhat recent history, but Phoenix’s development environment is an overwhelmingly positive one at this point. Going from Arizona State’s chaotic iso-heavy offense a season ago to Monty’s “0.5” system would be a night-and-day positive leap for Christopher.
I believe Arizona State’s supporting cast and offensive scheme really limited him in some ways while simultaneously exaggerating some of his weaknesses. They were a talented team but the pieces just didn’t mesh, as they had far too many score-first guards and a lack of interior threats and ball movers.
In a stagnant offense, he was tasked to do too much which led to the occasional rough outing. Overall I really like his finishing and think the jumper will improve in a less burdensome role.
Impressive play from Josh Christopher using his handle+footwork to get to the rim in transition, and his strength+balance to finish with his left through contact. Shot 72.7% at the rim this year. pic.twitter.com/SGcxwS6QB7— Will Morris (@w_a_morris) June 11, 2021
For a more in-depth analysis on Christopher (and other guards in Phoenix’s range), I recommend checking out this excellent breakdown by Will Morris: Analyzing 4 Guard Prospects in the 2021 Draft.
The NBA Draft is just a week away, so we’ll have plenty of draft coverage on the way. The loss in the NBA Finals is certainly tough to swallow, but the offseason will move very quickly given how deep this Suns playoff run was.