After taking the 2013-14 NBA season by storm with a 48-34 record, surpassing everyone’s expectations, the Phoenix Suns still failed to land a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
Even though the Suns seem to be a more complete team than we thought, adding pieces in what’s been previously regarded as the best draft class in 25 years should make for an even better 2014-15 season. With the 14th and 18th picks in the upcoming draft, here are some of the predicaments they’ve got to deal with and the pieces they could be targeting to solve them.
Issue: Eric Bledsoe‘s knees
Eric Bledsoe’s knees are an issue. Goran Dragic‘s not the youngest guy in the league so, going on 29 years of age, his rest minutes are only going up. At 24, Eric Bledsoe’s knees shouldn’t look/feel that old. This past season he cemented his place as an undependable backup taking on Goran Dragic’s rest minutes.
The Phoenix Suns are on the clock with the 14th pick in the draft:
Option 1-A: Tyler Ennis; PG, Syracuse (Not the hockey player)
At 19 years old, Tyler Ennis has emerged as the greatest available option to replace Bledsoe. Proving to be a dependable point guard for the almost-perfect Syracuse Orange and logging 35.7 minutes and 12.9 points per game on 41/36/76 shooting, he’s an above-average option to take on said Dragic’s rest minutes and provide a solid effort off the bench.
Often regarded as an amazing glue guy, he’d fit right into the great chemistry they’ve got in Phoenix.
Option 1-B: Gary Harris; PG/SG, Michigan State
This 19-year-old is an amazing shooter. He’s great coming off screens. He’s got a mean step back jumper.
Last season stats: 32.3 min/game, 16.7 ppg at 42/35/81 shooting. Great on ball defender, has very quick hands (2.2 steals per 40 min). Uses his strength to fight over screens. His quickness makes him great on the closeout.
If the Suns are playing isos and/or “hero ball,” he’s most likely the guy they’d want.
Option 2: Jordan Clarkson; SG, Missouri
At 22 years old, shooting/point guard Jordan Clarkson would give the Suns versatility in the offensive and defensive end. He’s great at attacking the rim. He looks like a young Dwyane Wade when he posts, lots of floaters and side-steps–GREAT finisher since he’s strong enough to handle the contact.
He’s not the greatest defender but he’s bigger than most PGs so he’d be able to manage on that end of the floor.
The Suns ran the pick and roll more than any other team in the league. Clarkson’s pick and roll game was 51.7 percent of his offense.
Issue: Gerald Green‘s not getting any younger and wants big, sorry, BIG money
The Suns have been adamant in wanting to trade Green. He’s due. He wants big money and the Suns might not be willing to give it to him. So free agency’s a big possibility in the future.
Who do you replace him with? Well, at 49/40/84, it certainly won’t be easy. But those are not the numbers of a max salary player. Here are cheaper options:
Option 1: Adreian Payne; PF, Michigan State
Adreian’s a 23-year-old with a HUGE upside. He’s been previously regarded as this draft’s most overlooked player. Make no mistake, he took the Spartans up to the third spot, making them a favorite to win it all.
He attacks the rim fiercely. He averages 16.4 ppg shooting 53/42/79; those are LeBron James numbers (2013-14: 57/41/80). He doesn’t have the greatest defensive awareness but he’s above average in shots blocked and rebounds.
With the 14th and 18th picks in the 2014 draft the Phoenix Suns have a chance to make a much needed splash and improve their rotation immediately. Taking any of the aforementioned players would make for a great offseason, and, hopefully, a (way) better regular season afterwards for the Suns.