Suns Evaluate Draft Prospects

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: June 14, 2011

After holding two of their most important draft workouts of the season the past two days, Suns GM Lance Blanks and Suns Director of Player Personnel John Treloar spoke with the press about some of the prospects earlier today. Check out some of the highlights of what they said below.

The player that drew the most inquiries from the local media present was BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. Here’s what Blanks had to say about the 2010-11 Wooden Award winner: “In the hour-plus that I saw him yesterday, he showed very well. As far as his defense goes, he competed very hard. Quite frankly, if he’s there (at No. 13), it’s going to be a tough decision, because he’s a very good player.

Blanks was asked about Fredette’s ability to play point guard in the NBA: “I think he’s very good at it what he did what he had to do to win ballgames, which he did at a very high level. I don’t really question much about his abilities. He’s shown it at the collegiate level and now I’ve seen it in person. He’s a high-quality, high-character guy and he checks all of the positive boxes as an NBA point guard.”

On his shooting at the workout Blanks added, “He didn’t miss much.”

Treloar also chimed in on the BYU star: “He’s not afraid. He doesn’t dodge guys in workouts. Agents won’t let you bring some guys in because they don’t them working out against certain players, but Jimmer will work out against anybody. We matched him up against a very strong and physical guy in (Georgia Tech’s) Iman Shumpert yesterday and it was a war going on in here. Both guys went at it hard and he handled himself like we expected him to."

Treloar was asked about Fredette’s defensive abilities: “The strength and quickness that he has allows him to stay in front of guys in short spaces. The biggest challenge will be the full-speed, 94-foot guys. But in the half-court, I think he’s going to be able to guard people.”

One player that made a name for himself this past season was Morehead St.’s Kenneth Faried. Against Ohio St. star center Jared Sullinger, he posted 15 points and 12 rebounds, while notching 20 and 18 against Florida’s big front line. He also made quite an impression on Treloar:

“Of all the guys that I’ve seen out there, he’s the first guy that I’ve seen since (Dennis) Rodman retired that rebounds like that," Treloar noted. "Obviously, he played at a smaller school so we don’t know until we get him in against higher level competition. But the guy has a knack for rebounding.”

Treloar was impressed by his quickness and ability to get to his second and third jump before opponents. And while he believes his ability to board will translate well into the NBA, Faried still has work to do.

“Offensively he doesn’t have much of a game, but I don’t think that’s why you draft a guy or sign a guy like that," Treloar said. "You got to know what you’re getting; very similar to the Rodman situation.”

Former McDonald’s All-American Tristan Thompson, who left Texas after his freshman season, is also a player likely to be in the mix at No. 13. Treloar likes his sure hands, upside and quick first step.

“He’s got more of an offensive skill set at this time than Kenneth does, but he’s just a freshman," Treloar said. "He’s only played one year, he’s a very young kid, (but he has) explosiveness and athleticism.”

Thompson was included in the same workout as Kansas twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris. Marcus was named the Big 12 Player of the Year last year.

“(The Morris brothers and Tristan) will be able to bang in this league," Treloar said. "I think the Morris brothers are probably a little further ahead offensively than Tristan, but all three had a great workout yesterday.”

Treloar compared Marcus Morris to Utah’s Paul Milsap, but believes Morris has more of an outside game. According to Treloar, due to the challenge he’ll face guarding taller fours, Morris projected himself as more of a small forward than a power forward.

One local player the Suns took a gander at was NAU guard Cameron Jones. Here was Treloar’s take on him: “He did a good job. We saw him play two or three times this year so it was a good chance to get him here. He went against Penn St.’s Taylor Battle, who’s a little smaller and a little quicker. He’s a very physical guard at it was great to see him here.”

Florida St.’s Chris Singleton also made an impression on Treloar: “He’s another guy similar to Faried. He’s a unique athlete and his body is a lot like Scottie Pippen’s was. He runs the floor like Pippen and I think that’s his goal: to become a defender in the Pippen mold. I think he’s a guy that can be a great defender in this league and he’s got the height to be able to guard some fours. I don’t know that he’s 6-10, but he’s a tall guy and a great athlete.”

Although the Suns have a bevy of swingmen, they brought in Washington St.’s Klay Thompson and Texas’ Jordan Hamilton to go head-to-head against each other. According to Treloar, Thompson and Colorado’s Alec Burks are among the top shooting guard prospects that could be available for the Suns at No. 13.

“Clay and Jordan was a good matchup," Treloar said. "Jordan is a thicker stronger guy than Clay, but both of them have a real ability to shoot the deep shot. Clay has been in school for three years so he’s probably a little further along defensively, but Hamilton has a great upside and great NBA body. He’s a really big strong guy.”

The Suns scouts are hoping to have Burks, as well as Kansas’ Josh Selby in for a viewing before the draft. One player that the Suns have evaluated away from the cozy confines of US Airways Center has been Bismack Biyombo from Congo.

Biyombo, who has been compared to the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka, was worked out by a couple of Suns scouts in Spain. That's where Biyombo played professionally last season.

“I saw him at Nike Hoops Summit in Portland and he’s a very raw talent,” Treloar said. “He’s a tremendous weak-side shotblocker and a good defender.

“He’s got a ways to go offensively; he’s not there yet. He hasn’t played a lot at the highest level of the ACB in Spain, but against the top high school guys going into the draft a year from now he had a triple-double and he absolutely held his own in Portland.”

Now with nine days left before the draft and one more major workout left on the calendar, we’ll see which direction the Suns choose to go…

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