Day four of 2017 NBA Draftmas discusses the Phoenix Suns. Let’s break down the Sun’s season and what their draft needs are.
It has been a rough several years for the Suns. The last time they made the postseason was 2010 when the team was led by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.
The last time Phoenix finished with a winning record was during the 2013-14 season when they went 48-34 and still managed to miss the playoffs due to an extremely competitive Western Conference.
This season, Phoenix finished with the second-worst record in the NBA. There haven’t been too many exciting things happening in Phoenix lately, except for the offense, which is lead by its young backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker.
The offense this season was solid. Phoenix ranked ninth in the NBA in points per game at 107.7. Booker averaged 22.1 per game and Bledsoe averaged 21.1. T.J. Warren, Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss also chipped in a combined 34.6 points per game. Phoenix can definitely put the ball in the basket.
The problem in Phoenix was defense. Phoenix ranked dead last in opponent points per game at 113.3, giving them a point differential of -5.6. In fact, Phoenix has not had a positive point differential since their last postseason birth in 2010. This simply cannot continue.
If Phoenix is ever going to turn its franchise around, they need to improve defensively. That negative point differential has gone on too long.
PHOENIX suns nba draft Picks & Needs
The Suns have three picks in this draft, one in the first round and two in the second.
First Round: No. 4
Second Round: No. 32, No. 54
Phoenix seems set on offense. They need to address their defensive issue in this draft. Their first-round pick will be used on a two-way talent, while the second round can be used on guys to help cut down on the amount of points the Suns allow.
Targets & Thoughts
Pick #4: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball seem to be a sure thing at picks one and two. The 76ers will most likely add to their backcourt as their frontcourt seems set with Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor. That leaves Jackson available at the fourth pick, and Phoenix should most definitely take advantage.
Jackson is a two-way talent that could thrive in Phoenix. In his one year at Kansas he averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and three assists per game.
The main concern about Jackson is his shooting, despite his field goal percentage being 51.3 percent and his 3-point percentage at 37.8. His form and mechanics are all odd, similar to Lonzo Ball. Not to mention his free-throw percentage is an atrocious 56.6 percent. The shooting definitely needs some work.
Luckily for Jackson, he won’t have to worry about being a primary scorer as Booker and Bledsoe will take care of that. Jackson is not ball-dominant anyway, evidenced by his 12.3 field goal attempts per game while managing to average 16 points.
Jackson plays with energy, which is going to help Phoenix on the defensive side of the ball. Jackson has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard due to his offensive and defensive talent. Jackson is a guy who will dive for loose balls and draw charges. He also had 2.2 steels and 1.4 blocks per 40 minutes.
Jackson is a great fit in Phoenix. He should be able to develop his shot over time. His defensive skills can help the Suns cut down on their points allowed as well. The Suns won’t regret taking Jackson.
Pick #32: D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
Wilson was a late bloomer at Michigan. The junior forward went from 6.6 minutes per game last year to 30.4 this year. He averaged 11 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, but really boosted his stock during the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
In those seven games, the 6-foot-10, 240 pound forward averaged 15.6 points, five rebounds and two blocks per game. Wilson’s size and athleticism help his defensive versatility as he can guard multiple positions on the court.
Wilson also has the potential to be a stretch forward. His season field goal percentage was 53.8 and his 3-point percentage was 37.3.
Wilson needs to improve his strength and post-up game, and his lack of experience also makes him a question mark. However, as a second-round pick, Phoenix only needs him to be a role player. Wilson won’t face too much pressure if that is the case and Phoenix could benefit from his versatility.
Pick #54: Kennedy Meeks, PF/C, North Carolina
Meeks just closed his four-year career at North Carolina with his best season yet. Meeks finished with averages of 12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
Meeks is mostly known for his rebounding and defensive skills. It is unclear if Meeks will get drafted at this point, but if he is available at pick 54, he might be worth taking a chance on.
The Suns need defense. They need to address this in the draft, as well as the offseason. Josh Jackson is the best option at the fourth pick. D.J. Wilson and Kennedy Meeks would be other good options to consider in the second round.
Thanks for checking out the Phoenix Suns 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day five of NBA Draftmas to see what the Sacramento Kings are going to do.
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