The NBA draft is a couple weeks away and with the impending arrival of point guard Ricky Rubio, the Minnesota Timberwolves are shopping the second pick in the draft. Minnesota already has Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Sebastian Telfair and Luke Ridnour as guards so they will be looking to add talent at other positions and probably deal a guard or two.
Of course, every team behind them will be looking to move up and the Suns will be one of the teams looking to make a deal. The 13th pick is the only pick the Suns have in this draft so why not try to move up and get that impact player now. The question is who should the Suns go after? Here are my top five suggestions.
1. Kevin Love - The Suns found their center of the future when Marcin Gortat came to town and instantly produced double digit points and rebounds almost every night. Love locks up the frontcourt as a true post up power forward who will always play defense, grab rebounds and make life miserable for the opposition. To boot, Love is a monster from three-point range.
Minnesota must still have reservations about Love because he is a restricted free agent. The Suns could send their pick and a player like the blossoming Channing Frye to the Wolves. How about this year’s number one AND next season’s number one pick? It won’t make a difference, it would be a very low pick because the Suns would be playing in the Finals next season if they got Love in purple and orange without sending away Steve Nash.
2. Derrick Williams – Local boy makes good and becomes the second highest rated guard in the draft. Williams has the size, speed and range to make himself an impact player at the next level. Williams is explosive and is excellent at creating his own shot. An Arizona product, Williams will bring a rabid fan base that got to enjoy watching Williams push the Arizona Wildcats into the Elite Eight last season.
3. Enes Kanter – Kanter is 6’11, 260 pounds of power forward with three-point range. Kanter was declared ineligible because he had already played as a pro in Turkey, but Kanter fits the mold of the beefy, athletic, post up player the Suns need at that spot. Kanter would form an intimidating twin towers tandem alongside Gortat and would be a great insurance policy if anything happens to Frye.
4. Brandon Knight – Knight was the star in his only season at Kentucky, which speaks for his ability to step up in high pressure situations for a major program. His 6-foot-7 inch wingspan makes him formidable defensively. Knight led his team to the SEC championship then into the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. Knight has great potential as his game develops in the NBA, particularly under the wing of the best pure point guard in the NBA in Nash.
5. Kemba Walker – The Suns want to make a splash at the point guard position with Nash nearing retirement and Walker is a player that has come up in talks. Walker and the aforementioned Knight share similar attributes, the only glaring difference is the three-inch height advantage Knight has over Walker. Both have shown great upside, are explosive and handled being the first option on offense at very high level programs.
Walker has two more years of high level college experience as he left after his junior year. He can jump out of the gym and shoot the three effectively. Walker was fifth in the nation in scoring last season and led his team to the Final Four. Walker is a instant impact player who would look great in a Suns uniform.
There you have it, three forwards and two guards who can vault the Phoenix Suns back into the Western Conference playoffs now instead of later. In this weak draft class, the players at the top of the draft are powder kegs of ability that can get your team where they need to be, which is why moving up makes great sense. A move like this is what the Suns need to avoid a complete deconstruction.
If trading a combination of picks and players is what is needed to get the job done, do it. (In Love’s case I’d trade this year and next years entire draft to get him in town and walk away happy). With a solid core developed with Nash, Grant Hill, Jared Dudley, Frye and Gortat, the Suns are one big piece from returning to the Suns of two seasons ago and not the 40-42 disappointment they were last season.