Experts see Suns’ draft as ‘underwhelming’

It’s the day after

the draft, and you know what that means: grades. Ridiculously early,

entirely subjective grades, but grades nonetheless. Compiled below are

the report cards from the prominent NBA analysts who have bothered to

assemble them, and there’s actually somewhat of a consensus on the Suns’

draft, which started with high-upside center Alex Len out of Maryland

(at No. 5 overall) and also included guard Archie Goodwin from Kentucky

(No. 29 via trade) and forward Alex Oriakhi out of Missouri (No.



Insider’s Chad Ford:


Ford’s full analysis remains behind a

paywall, but his issue with the Suns’ first pick seemed to be that, in

his assessment, they passed on more talented players to take one with a

lot of potential but little certainty.

“Len has

upside, but he’s coming off stress-fracture surgery, and in two years at

Maryland he showed only flashes of greatness — he rarely could sustain

it. Len was the riskiest pick of the consensus top six, and Phoenix

passed on two better prospects — Noel and McLemore — to take


Ford was slightly more favorable regarding the

selection of Archie Goodwin at No. 29, saying the former Kentucky guard

“could be special” if his jumper and understanding of the game can catch

up to his athleticism.

From Sports

Illustrated’s Chris Mannix:


Mannix, unlike Ford, seemed more

optimistic about the Len pick than the Goodwin one. His analysis: “The

Suns got a center of the future in Alex Len, whose presence could make

the coveted Marcin Gortat expendable. I thought Archie Goodwin at No. 29

was a reach; Goodwin has not shown me he can be an NBA three-point

shooter and is on the small side for a 2-guard. Still, a lot of teams

had him slotted in the lottery during the college season, when he

struggled more than people expected.”



Sports’ Matt Moore: F, B+, B+ (picks graded


Clearly, Moore is the

outlier. While there’s plenty of skepticism about Len’s transition to

the NBA, this is undoubtedly the most pessimistic analysis: “I’m

probably being too harsh on him. But I look at his pick and roll, I look

at his strength at the basket, and I look at his upside to what he can

possibly be, and I don’t see a dominant player.” Considering that “a

dominant player” is the expectation with a top-five pick, if that’s his

assessment, the grade is a fair one.

On the other

hand, Moore is far more optimistic about Goodwin, giving that pick a B+

and saying, “I like this pick a lot. It gives the Suns a significant

upgrade on the wing.”

Moore’s assessment of Oriakhi,

the team’s second-round pick, also came across as favorable: “High

upside at his slot, could surprise with athleticism.” Still, with the

first-round pick obviously being the most prominent, it’s unlikely that

his overall grade (which he doesn’t provide) would rise to the B- given

by most other analysts.

From USA

Today’s Adi Joseph: B-


didn’t have any particularly strong takes; his assessment of all three

picks could basically be summarized as “meh.”


draft experts called Len the best prospect available and a legitimate

option at No. 1. Others said he wouldn’t be a top-10 pick in most drafts

(and) was doomed to be another 7-foot stiff. The Suns need a home run,

particularly now with new management. They’re counting on Len to become

an elite defender and to develop his soft touch. Goodwin wasn’t a reach

but also wasn’t the best shooting guard on the board. He could get a

chance to start at a position of need. Oriakhi probably won’t make the

team but is tough and physical. The draft is underwhelming, but none of

the picks were bad.”