The Suns went 23-59 last year, with only an abysmal Lakers season keeping them from last place in the Pacific Division. Luckily for them, at the moment they have 4 picks in the first 34 slots. That gives them opportunities to make trades and move up, or they can stay put and look into several talented players that can spur a rebuild. Whatever they choose to do, we’ll be here updating this page with pick names and information.
The most important pick for the Suns is their first one, all the way at number 4. Mock drafts have had several theories for what the Suns will be doing with this pick. A couple of them have suggested that freshman phenom Marquese Chriss could be heading to Phoenix. Others believe Dragan Bender could be the pick. Some of these drafts have also suggested Skal Labissiere, power forward from Kentucky, could be a Sun with the 13th overall pick.
With several picks tonight, the Suns have plenty of options. Here are the Suns’ draft picks in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia
Dragan Bender is someone with a lot of potential. At 7 feet tall, he has a 7’2 wingspan. He has played on the Croation Team KK Split, and the Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv. He’s also the youngest player in the draft, and according to SB Nation, played just 12 minutes a game with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
But he’s seen as a tremendous passer and a project worth working on for the right team. He’s also got a respectable three-point shooting percentage, suggesting that with the right coaching and development, he can score a lot for Phoenix eventually.. It’s an impressive rise in the draft, considering how recently he did his pre-draft workout with teams.
Though not technically a draft pick, the Phoenix Suns now also reportedly have Marquese Chriss, after the Sacramento Kings drafted him 8th overall and are trading him. Until this trade is confirmed and not merely proposed, we’ll keep you updated on the Suns’ picks. Even if they might eventually be Kings players.
Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece
Papagiannis, 18, is 7’2. He’s a huge guy who can score a lot for you. In two combined leagues last season, he had a phenomenal .630 shooting percentage. ESPN’s scouting report, though, suggests there’s not a ton of athleticism there just yet.
One scout called his offensive game “predictable,” but noted that he’s still very young and can grow. They also questioned his discipline on defense. Still, he’s a big guy with a ton of potential for Phoenix or, assuming the trade goes through, Sacramento.
Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky
Labissiere, 7 feet tall, came to America in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Labisierre is tall and his wingspan is long, at 7’2″. He has speed and he uses it well, though scouts say his decision-making is something that will need to improve. His quickness didn’t quite translate to elite defense at Kentucky, but it showed promise, and that he can easily grow into that role.
Labissiere is, above all else, a project, which is likely why he fell so far. The talent is there, but the tools are raw, and the strength hasn’t yet developed. Still, this late in the first round Labissiere is a project that seems like it could easily be worth it.
Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
Ulis showed promise his freshman year at Kentucky, and then took it to another level in his sophomore year. He added a lot more minutes per game to his average, and scored 17.3 points per game, with an impressive 7 assists per game.
One scout said that Ulis was possibly the best point guard in all of college basketball this season. He’s aggressive, he commands the floor well, and he has a real solid jump shot. What likely caused a player with such impressive stats and scouting reports to fall to the second round is not just a shooting average that needs work, but his 5’10” stature. He thrived in college, but we’ll see how an undersized player like Ulis will translate.