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.
57).


From ESPN
Insider’s
Chad Ford:
B-

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
him.”

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:
B-

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.”

From
CBS
Sports’
Matt Moore: F, B+, B+ (picks graded
individually)

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-

Joseph
didn’t have any particularly strong takes; his assessment of all three
picks could basically be summarized as “meh.”

“Some
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.”