Taking a look at the 2021 NBA Draft class as a whole, this is the weak point. The wing depth.
The weakness in wing/forward depth amplifies in Phoenix’s specific range assuming some key guys are off the board by the time they make their pick.
The Suns already have a trio of wings under contract in Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Jae Crowder for next season so while adding a wing shouldn’t be a priority, it’s still a potential need. Torrey Craig and Abdel Nader each hit the open market this summer, and it would make sense to bring one of the two back.
I’d say a guard or big are more likely options looking over this class combined with Phoenix’s more pressing needs. Anyways, let’s dive into who potentially will (and won’t) be there when the Suns make their pick.
Likely Out of Range
I wanted to briefly touch on this trio because they would head my “All James Jones type team” without a doubt. The chances are extremely high that this entire group is long gone by the 29th pick, but they will get a shout nonetheless.
Corey Kispert- Wing, 6’7” (Gonzaga)
Trey Murphy III- Wing/Forward, 6’9” (Virginia)
Chris Duarte- Wing, 6’6” (Oregon)
There’s a less than 5 percent chance any of these three are available with the 29th pick, but crazier things have happened.
7 Wings + Forwards on the Suns’ radar
Round 1, 29th pick overall
Joshua Primo- Guard/Wing, 6’6” (Alabama)
- Role: Secondary Creator + Floor Spacer
- Stats: 8.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG on 43/48/75 shooting splits in 22.5 MPG.
Primo is more on the project side but could be a decent gamble for a team that has patience in their development system. Is that Phoenix? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s tough to tell what Jones has identified as his priority on the draft front, but if they want to take a swing for the fences, Primo should be high on their list.
Kessler Edwards- Wing/Forward, 6’8” (Pepperdine)
- Role: 3 & D Wing + Versatile Defender
- Stats: 17.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 BPG on 49/38/87 shooting splits.
Edwards is an elite team defender that can knock down shots and will likely be ready to carve out a role from day one. Wings that can shoot and defend are a hot commodity in the modern NBA and fairly scarce in this draft class, so keep an eye on the forward from Pepperdine.
Joe Wieskamp- Wing, 6’7” (Iowa)
- Role: Elite Floor Spacer
- Stats: 14.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.9 SPG on 49/46/67 shooting splits.
Wieskamp is one of the best shooters in the draft and has an effortless, high release point that should translate at the next level. While there are some clear limitations to his game, I ultimately view him as a playable wing that can space the floor. Those don’t exactly grow on trees.
Sam Hauser- Wing/Forward, 6’8” (Virginia)
- Role: Elite Floor Spacer + Stretch Four
- Stats: 16.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.6 SPG on 50/40/89 shooting splits.
Hauser is in the same grouping as Wieskamp for me in terms of taking a gamble on a wing/forward with size that can space the floor at a high level. He just missed joining the exclusive 50/40/90 club by a couple of decimal points from the charity stripe.
Brandon Boston Jr.- Guard/Wing, 6’7” (Kentucky)
- Role: Slasher + Scorer
- Stats: 11.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.3 SPG on 35/30/78 shooting splits.
Boston had a disappointing freshman season at Kentucky, as he was pinned as a lottery-level talent entering the year. The efficiency was putrid to put it nicely, but there were some impressive flashes that reminded you why he was so highly thought of early on.
I’m not really seeing the fit in Phoenix, but he could be a decent 2nd round gamble for a team that wants to play with house money.
Herb Jones- Wing/Forward, 6’8” (Alabama)
- Role: Swiss Army Knife + Playmaking Forward
- Stats: 11.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.7 SPG on 44/35/71 shooting splits.
Herb Jones may not have the flash that will catch your attention, but he certainly has substance to his game. He fits the mold of an all-around low-maintenance connecting piece that could thrive alongside creators.
There are some limitations to his game offensively from a scoring standpoint, but his value lies in the ability to create for others, defend and crash the boards.
Aaron Henry- Wing/Forward, 6’6” (Michigan St.)
- Role: Versatile Defender + Slashing Wing
- Stats: 15.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.3 SPG on 44/29/76 shooting splits.
Aaron Henry has had a very up and down career at Michigan State filled with some impressive peaks and not-so-impressive valleys, but the talent is undeniable. If he can find a way to put it all together there’s a shot he winds up a steal if he’s taken in the 2nd round as currently projected.
Ideally, he becomes a floor-spacing wing that can defend multiple positions, but the jumper remains the question mark.
Tomorrow we will cover the bigs in the draft that could be in Phoenix’s range to fill out the remainder of this draft primer.
Here’s an updated list of players that have either worked out with or met with Phoenix:
Full list of players (to my knowledge) connected to the Suns pre-draft process so far:— Zona (@ZonaHoops_) July 27, 2021
•Trey Murphy III