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The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem

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What Do You Think of James Jones's Draft?

I like that he just goes and gets his guy
4
14%
I hate that he doesn't try to maximize his assets
5
17%
I hate that he doesn't draft BPA
0
No votes
Hey, now, maybe he is trying to draft BPA, he just disagrees and thinks his guy is BPA
4
14%
The fact that he's thinking about the team, fit and culture when he drafts makes all the difference
9
31%
That approach is bound to spoil this rebuild as we fail to get high-ceiling players year after year
2
7%
Bla bla bla, why doesn't he just trade further back?
1
3%
Because you risk not being able to get the guy you want, of course!
2
7%
If you care so much about fit, culture, etc., just trade the pick for a vet already!
2
7%
Guys, we should be trading up for big talent, not trading down... CP3 is old and we will need a third star!
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 29

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The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#1 » by ImNotMcDiSwear » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:27 pm

Just wanted to separate the pre- and post-draft discussion.

I know a lot of people are disappointed in last night's selection. I gotta admit, as the draft was getting closer and closer, I was still uncomfortable with our options. Many here wanted Haliburton, and while I saw the appeal, I had lots of concerns (frame, shooting form, injuries, role). I worried that Vassell basically is Mikal Bridges, and neither can create their own shot. Didn't love any of the other wings, and Bane was becoming more and more ordinary to my eye the closer I looked. Never liked Kira, because frankly, I don't think he's that fast!!

Instead we did exactly what we did last year - drafted a player way outside of consensus who was high-character, focused, mature, part of a winning program, and fit a need. A lot of people hated that we - and all the pundits have panned us for - not finding a way to trade down and still get our guy, or just take a player who everyone agrees is arguably BPA.

We didn't buy any SRPs and we've yet to sign any undrafted players. My guess is that's because our goal is to fill out our roster with guys who can play, rather than fringe- or maybe-NBA players. Still, gotta admit it was a little painful watching Reed and Riller go off the board so late.

Personally, I'm excited about this pick. Maybe the only guy on the board who, at the end, I was excited to see us draft. Because this guy doesn't worry me. This guy will make it, and he will make us better next season--first by adding much-needed depth at the center spot, and if we're lucky, solidifying himself as a rotation player. There was a lot of talk last night about backup center being the least important position in the NBA, but I think that's a bunch of BS. The truth is, there are very few bigs who can defend the rim and nail the 3. Most of todays superstar centers do one or the other, but not both. So I totally get the pick, myself, but I think there's a lot of legit argument to be had...
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#2 » by Golanator » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:31 pm

My quick thoughts:

- In a vacuum like the player. Guys with his skill set and size don’t grow on trees
- The fit next to DA is weird and until I see them in a game I probably won’t be sold on it
- With so many needs (backup PG, wing, another big even after Smith), I think we could have used our assets better by just resigning Baynes and used this pick elsewhere
- That said he’s a Phoenix Sun and I’m excited to watch him play. I hope he kills it in the NBA
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#3 » by NTB » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:40 pm

Great options in the poll, wow. I wish I could choose more than 1 though.

As I mentioned in other threads, JJ and co. seem to have a specific type of team (play style, culture etc.) in their minds and they go for it. Some of the moves are great, some of them are maybe not. I like what I've seen so far and we are in a much better situation than previous 9 years. Therefore I tend to trust the front office for now.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#4 » by WeekapaugGroove » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:30 pm

It's perfectly fine to argue that Haliburton or Vassell or anyone else was a better prospect but one misconception I've seen thrown around a bit is this is a low upside pick. Smith is only 20 and he's actually a fairly raw player. Some of the things he needs to work on like his body and defensive footwork are absolutely things you can improve with work.

On Haliburton, I liked him but there was always a little buz that teams were far more mixed on their feelings with him than the draft internet was. The biggest concerns were he's not the type of pg who can really get his own shot or break down a D in today's NBA that matters. Defensively he's a good team defender but might be in a little no man's land where he's a little stiff to defend the ultra quick/athletic pgs but so damn skinny he could struggle with 2s. Now a lot of this same stuff could be said about a guy like Malcolm Brogdon and he's done just fine, but he's much much stronger than Hali so not a perfect comp. Again I think teams might have over thought this and good smart players figure it out.

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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#5 » by ImNotMcDiSwear » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:54 pm

WeekapaugGroove wrote:It's perfectly fine to argue that Haliburton or Vassell or anyone else was a better prospect but one misconception I've seen thrown around a bit is this is a low upside pick. Smith is only 20 and he's actually a fairly raw player. Some of the things he needs to work on like his body and defensive footwork are absolutely things you can improve with work.

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Yeah, his age and where he's at in his physical development are pretty objective measures of potential. Which is why I too have wondered why he was never spoken of as a high-upside player.

And frankly, I love the goggles. They tell me this is a guy who cares about substance over flash, and that he expects and intends to receive physical contact. I love toughness, and this kid seems tough to me.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#6 » by bigfoot » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:16 pm

USATODAY - Grade F
What were the Suns doing in this draft? After making a big move to acquire Chris Paul, there were plenty of roster voids. The frontcourt wasn’t necessarily one of those holes, however, so drafting forward Jalen Smith at No. 10 —when there were several more talented pieces out there — makes little sense. Especially because Smith is expected to be Deandre Ayton’s back-up. Vassell or Nesmith would've been much smarter picks for the Suns' young nucleus.

SBNATION - Grade: C
Phoenix made the most shocking pick of the lottery last year when they selected Cameron Johnson far ahead of his projections. The Suns have done it again this year by taking Jalen Smith at No. 10 when he was widely projected to be picked in the 20s. The 6’10 big man had an awesome sophomore year for Maryland, blossoming into an All-American. He’s certainly not an elite shooter like Johnson, but Smith is a solid floor spacer who should get plenty of open looks with Devin Booker and Chris Paul running the show. Smith’s issue is that he isn’t super quick or a great leaper, which limits his defensive impact. Johnson certainly had a nice rookie year for the Suns, so maybe Smith will surprise, too. This feels like a major reach, though.

NYPOST - Grade: D+
The Suns pulled off another surprising pick when they took Smith well ahead of where most had him projected to go. He can block shots and shoot the 3, but there were plenty of other intriguing options here

CBSSPORTS - Grade D-
It's a surprise on every level. I don't understand it. I thought I liked Jalen Smith more than most, but I had him in the late-teens. But not in the top 10, and not on a team that already has DeAndre Ayton. He's more of a stretch five than a stretch four, and that's simply not a position of need or a great value. But Phoenix does have a history of doing things that don't make a lot of sense.

THE RINGER - Grade C
The Suns clearly don’t believe in draft ranges, that’s for sure. A year after shocking the NBA draft community by taking Cam Johnson at no. 11, they did it again with Smith, who was ranked no. 17 on The Ringer’s big board. There are more than a few similarities between the two players. Both are 3-and-D prospects with great size and big question marks surrounding every other part of their game. Shot-blocking centers with legitimate 3-point range aren’t quite as unusual as they used to be, but players like Smith are still fairly uncommon. The question is how much he can play as a power forward next to Deandre Ayton. Otherwise the Suns just used a top-10 pick on someone who can play only 15 minutes per game on their roster.

SPORTING NEW - Grade C-
Well, this is a shocker. For the second consecutive year, Phoenix selects a prospect much higher than his initial projections.
Smith brings size (6-10, 225 pounds) and shooting to the frontcourt, but he has limited mobility and isn't a superior athlete. A curious choice here with other options available.

BLEACHERREPORT - Grade C+
Outside of the Bulls selecting Williams, this might have been the most head-scratching pick of the lottery. Most analysts had Smith pegged in the mid-teens at the highest, and likely in the 20s. He does, however, have lots of potential as a rim protector alongside DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix likely could have gotten him a lot later, though.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - Grade C-
The Suns have now made surprising lottery picks in back-to-back years after drafting Jalen Smith with the No. 10 pick on Wednesday. Smith is a skilled shooter for his size, but his lack of mobility as a defender really calls into question his viability at the four. Deandre Ayton will likely anchor the paint in the desert for much of the next decade. Will there be room for Smith? Perhaps he can become a quality backup five, but it’s hard to imagine him thriving next to Ayton. Cameron Johnson had a strong rookie year after being the surprise of the 2019 lottery. Perhaps Smith can do the same, though I wouldn’t count on it.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#7 » by bwgood77 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:19 pm

NTB wrote:Great options in the poll, wow. I wish I could choose more than 1 though.

As I mentioned in other threads, JJ and co. seem to have a specific type of team (play style, culture etc.) in their minds and they go for it. Some of the moves are great, some of them are maybe not. I like what I've seen so far and we are in a much better situation than previous 9 years. Therefore I tend to trust the front office for now.


Yeah, I was going to say, I think everyone probably agrees with at least 2 of the options (if not more), even if they don't like the pick. It can be changed if the guy that's not McD wants to.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#8 » by bwgood77 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:22 pm

WeekapaugGroove wrote:It's perfectly fine to argue that Haliburton or Vassell or anyone else was a better prospect but one misconception I've seen thrown around a bit is this is a low upside pick. Smith is only 20 and he's actually a fairly raw player. Some of the things he needs to work on like his body and defensive footwork are absolutely things you can improve with work.

On Haliburton, I liked him but there was always a little buz that teams were far more mixed on their feelings with him than the draft internet was. The biggest concerns were he's not the type of pg who can really get his own shot or break down a D in today's NBA that matters. Defensively he's a good team defender but might be in a little no man's land where he's a little stiff to defend the ultra quick/athletic pgs but so damn skinny he could struggle with 2s. Now a lot of this same stuff could be said about a guy like Malcolm Brogdon and he's done just fine, but he's much much stronger than Hali so not a perfect comp. Again I think teams might have over thought this and good smart players figure it out.

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His shooting release is so low too, that with the length and quickness in the NBA, there is a good chance he will get a lot of his shots blocked.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#9 » by bwgood77 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:22 pm

WeekapaugGroove wrote:It's perfectly fine to argue that Haliburton or Vassell or anyone else was a better prospect but one misconception I've seen thrown around a bit is this is a low upside pick. Smith is only 20 and he's actually a fairly raw player. Some of the things he needs to work on like his body and defensive footwork are absolutely things you can improve with work.

On Haliburton, I liked him but there was always a little buz that teams were far more mixed on their feelings with him than the draft internet was. The biggest concerns were he's not the type of pg who can really get his own shot or break down a D in today's NBA that matters. Defensively he's a good team defender but might be in a little no man's land where he's a little stiff to defend the ultra quick/athletic pgs but so damn skinny he could struggle with 2s. Now a lot of this same stuff could be said about a guy like Malcolm Brogdon and he's done just fine, but he's much much stronger than Hali so not a perfect comp. Again I think teams might have over thought this and good smart players figure it out.

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His shooting release is so low too, that with the length and quickness in the NBA, there is a good chance he will get a lot of his shots blocked.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#10 » by jcsunsfan » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:18 am

Draft grades right after the draft are pointless. We were praised for drafting Chriss, Bender, and Josh Jackson, and Ty Jerome. The average grade for those guys was A-
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#11 » by darmani » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:24 am

Some good talk about draft grades and the Jalen Smith pick in the latest episode of the Daily Ding podcast.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#12 » by Blonde » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:41 am

I don’t really care what the taking heads grade our draft, it’s irrelevant. I think Smith has a good chance to be a good player, and don’t think it was that wild of a reach for 10. I simply disagree with the logic of drafting a non-elite big man in the lottery. Rookie scale wings and guards can be immensely valuable and there were some pretty good ones available so I feel we missed out. Weird fit if he does pan out and a suboptimal use of resources so my initial impression is quite low.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#13 » by bwgood77 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:50 pm

Blonde wrote:I don’t really care what the taking heads grade our draft, it’s irrelevant. I think Smith has a good chance to be a good player, and don’t think it was that wild of a reach for 10. I simply disagree with the logic of drafting a non-elite big man in the lottery. Rookie scale wings and guards can be immensely valuable and there were some pretty good ones available so I feel we missed out. Weird fit if he does pan out and a suboptimal use of resources so my initial impression is quite low.


Their ultimate goal could be to groom him as our future C and use Ayton hopefully in a package for a star (or close to one maybe).
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#14 » by ImNotMcDiSwear » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:24 pm

bwgood77 wrote:
Blonde wrote:I don’t really care what the taking heads grade our draft, it’s irrelevant. I think Smith has a good chance to be a good player, and don’t think it was that wild of a reach for 10. I simply disagree with the logic of drafting a non-elite big man in the lottery. Rookie scale wings and guards can be immensely valuable and there were some pretty good ones available so I feel we missed out. Weird fit if he does pan out and a suboptimal use of resources so my initial impression is quite low.


Their ultimate goal could be to groom him as our future C and use Ayton hopefully in a package for a star (or close to one maybe).


IMO, the idea is having superior play on both ends from the 5 all the time, with the ability to play multiple styles. We don't need to have all the answers right now - specifically, whether Smith and Ayton can co-exist out there, even for just 10 minutes a game. Hopefully that happens, it may just take some time.

Imagine how good we would have been last year if Ayton and Baynes were healthy. If Smith can be more consistent from 3, and hopefully both he and Deandre stay healthy, I think it'll put the rest of the team in a great position to succeed.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#15 » by bwgood77 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:27 pm

ImNotMcDiSwear wrote:
bwgood77 wrote:
Blonde wrote:I don’t really care what the taking heads grade our draft, it’s irrelevant. I think Smith has a good chance to be a good player, and don’t think it was that wild of a reach for 10. I simply disagree with the logic of drafting a non-elite big man in the lottery. Rookie scale wings and guards can be immensely valuable and there were some pretty good ones available so I feel we missed out. Weird fit if he does pan out and a suboptimal use of resources so my initial impression is quite low.


Their ultimate goal could be to groom him as our future C and use Ayton hopefully in a package for a star (or close to one maybe).


IMO, the idea is having superior play on both ends from the 5 all the time, with the ability to play multiple styles. We don't need to have all the answers right now - specifically, whether Smith and Ayton can co-exist out there, even for just 10 minutes a game. Hopefully that happens, it may just take some time.

Imagine how good we would have been last year if Ayton and Baynes were healthy. If Smith can be more consistent from 3, and hopefully both he and Deandre stay healthy, I think it'll put the rest of the team in a great position to succeed.


Yeah, the main thing is having one on the court at all times. Ayton will get into foul trouble, could get injured, etc.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#16 » by DirtyDez » Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:42 am

A backup 5 at #10 is certainly something.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#17 » by bwgood77 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:24 am

DirtyDez wrote:A backup 5 at #10 is certainly something.


Many of the top 10 players are probably backups. Haliburton or Vassell would have been backups for us.

Avdija probably a backup for Bertans. Patrick Williams at 4 probably a backup. Okongwu probably a backup for now. Hayes probably too behind Rose for a year.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#18 » by DirtyDez » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:20 am

bwgood77 wrote:
DirtyDez wrote:A backup 5 at #10 is certainly something.


Many of the top 10 players are probably backups. Haliburton or Vassell would have been backups for us.

Avdija probably a backup for Bertans. Patrick Williams at 4 probably a backup. Okongwu probably a backup for now. Hayes probably too behind Rose for a year.


I wouldn’t have minded a temporary backup for 1-2 years. A longterm depth guy at #10 is leaving a lot of value on the board. I don’t see Smith having the feet or hips to get by anywhere else than the 5.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#19 » by bwgood77 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:29 am

DirtyDez wrote:
bwgood77 wrote:
DirtyDez wrote:A backup 5 at #10 is certainly something.


Many of the top 10 players are probably backups. Haliburton or Vassell would have been backups for us.

Avdija probably a backup for Bertans. Patrick Williams at 4 probably a backup. Okongwu probably a backup for now. Hayes probably too behind Rose for a year.


I wouldn’t have minded a temporary backup for 1-2 years. A longterm depth guy at #10 is leaving a lot of value on the board. I don’t see Smith having the feet or hips to get by anywhere else than the 5.


I think Ayton can though and Smith a better shot blocker anyway.
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Re: The 2020 Draft: A Post-Mortem 

Post#20 » by dremill24 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:38 am

bwgood77 wrote:
DirtyDez wrote:A backup 5 at #10 is certainly something.


Many of the top 10 players are probably backups. Haliburton or Vassell would have been backups for us.

Avdija probably a backup for Bertans. Patrick Williams at 4 probably a backup. Okongwu probably a backup for now. Hayes probably too behind Rose for a year.


There are many more minutes available at backup guard/ wing than there are at backup center, especially when the starting center plays big minutes

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