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Around the Association: 2010 NBA Draft Previews - Phoenix Suns: shoring up behind Amare Stoudemire?

Draft picks #46 and #60 will do little in affecting the Suns in 2010-11. That's Amare!
Draft picks #46 and #60 will do little in affecting the Suns in 2010-11. That's Amare!

24 days until the 2010 NBA Draft! Well, Hawaii time -- okay, okay, 23 days! Yeah, I'm falling off my one-team-per-day pace here, but I promise to do everything I can to catch up.

Now up, the Phoenix Suns. Like many other teams, they have a lot to be concerned about, Amare Stoudemire being priority #1. With the 46th and 60th picks in the Draft, there's not a whole lot they can do to improve the team on June 24th. It will be interesting whom they pick, as it relates to Amare and the remainder of the roster.

If they can just convince Amare to stay somehow, their roster is pretty rock-solid in terms of impact players...

pg Steve Nash
Goran Dragic
sg Jason Richardson
Leandro Barbosa
sf Grant Hill
Channing Frye
Jared Dudley
pf Amare Stoudemire
Louis Amundson
Earl Clark
Dwayne Jones
Taylor Griffin
c Robin Lopez
Jarron Collins

Phoenix has an interesting lineup in that they have two small forwards (Frye, Dudley) who are really over-sized, slow shooting guards, and a shooting guard who isn't a great shooter (Barbosa) but slashes to the hole a lot, sometimes acting as a small forward in doing so.

While the frontline this past season was pretty deep when Lopez was healthy, you can see from the graphic above that things are on very shaky ground inside the paint for 2010-11. Five of their seven frontcourt men do not have contracts for 2010-11.

Now, at #46 and #60, you're basically looking for backups. Therefore, I think the Suns need to find the next Amundson and Collins.

If an athletic small forward is available that late, maybe you take him because they've got four guys who don't get up the court very fast: J-Rich, Hill, Frye, and Dudley.

Also, Barbosa is probably leaving after 2010-11, if not sooner, because he's got a player option for 2011-12 (thank you, HoopsHype Salaries database) and he didn't play as much this past year, so that means it might be time to groom someone in the "slasher" department. As GSoM blog buddy Bright Side Of The Sun put it, Barbosa

...was the only player who avoided walking out the front way and talking to his friends in the media. We can only speculate what that means, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how expendable Leandro is on this team if he's going to be paid $7m and only play 15 minutes. I don't expect him back -- it just doesn't make sense.

Here's what the mock drafts predict...

Pick No. 46

  • Tim Ohlbrecht (pf, 6'11", 235, Germany, 22 yrs old). I have no insights on him. compares him to Brad Lohaus.
  • DraftExpress: Sherron Collins (pg, 5'11", 190, Kansas, senior). Maybe DraftExpress hasn't checked their mock for actual team needs, but this pick makes no sense, considering the stellar point guard duo of Nash and Dragic.
  • Chad Ford: does not predict 2nd round picks

Pick No. 60

  • Lazar Hayward (sf, 6'6", 226, Marquette, senior). Nice how they did predict a small forward pick here, but Hayward is hardly a slasher type, as evidenced by his heavy-set 226-lb frame. He's a bit slow for my taste and Frye and Dudley would probably beat him in a foot race -- which can be considered embarrassing -- because of longer legs of Frye (6'11") and Dudley (6'7"). If this is a best-player-available pick, I'm not sure I agree that Lazar Hayward is the 60th-best player available. He is not on DraftExpress's mock.
  • DraftExpress: Derrick Caracter (pf/c, 6'9", 265, UTEP, junior): I have not seen Caracter play, but he gets good mentions in the draft boards. has him at #45. This would be a rather solid pick, position-wise. Again, the Suns need a backup power forward and center.

On, you have certain guys like Tiny Gallon of Oklahoma (versatile big man with a soft touch, but possible off-court issues) and Jarvis Varnado (shotblocker) of Mississippi State in the vicinity who could fall to #46. On DraftExpress, Jerome Jordan of Tulsa (7'0", runs the floor decent) is within fall-down range.

As far as guys who are listed past #46, has small forward Darington Hobson of New Mexico (6'7" athlete), Art Parakhouski of Radford (6'11" center), Dexter Pittman of Texas (6'11", weight issues), Miroslav Raduljica of Serbia (6'11"), and Hamady Ndiaye of Rutgers (7'0"). DraftExpress has a few international players at 6'10" or 6'11" whom you've never heard of and Brian Zoubek of Duke (7'0" rebounding machine), and Andrew Ogilvy of Vanderbilt (7'0").

One thing I'd like to say about Ndiaye is that I saw him in Portsmouth and I felt there was another big that was better than him: pf Deon Thompson of UNC (6'9"). Thompson is not listed on any mocks.

All of these guys are decent picks at #46 and #60. However, I think the Draft, or rather the pool of players who will not be drafted, is deep enough in rotation big men that you can invite a few non-drafteds in for free agent workouts.

As such, with your late-2nd-round picks, you might want to try and snag that "slasher/athletic" small forward -- and "project" -- in either Hobson, sg Lance Stephenson of Cincinnati (early entry, raw) or sf/pf Latavious Williams (D-League, 21 yrs old, 6'8"), if they are available that late.

NEXT: Boston Celtics (52nd pick)

ATL - Calling all shooting guards not named Joe (24th, 53rd picks)
ORL - Improving while Dwight improves (29th, 59th picks)
DAL - Depends on Dirk and Dampier dollars (50th, 57th picks)
CHA - S-Jax stuck (no draft picks)
DEN - Just need Coach Karl back? (no draft picks)
CLE - If you leave (no draft picks)

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