Suns Get a Little Bit of Everything on Busy Draft Night
Scoring. Passing. Potential. Shooting.
The Suns nailed everything on their shopping list and then some thanks to a generous budget of four selections in the 2014 NBA Draft, including three first-round selections.
Phoenix snagged a variety of skill sets, starting with ACC Player of the Year and North Carolina State standout TJ Warren at the 14th overall pick. They followed with Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis (18th), Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (27th) and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay big man Alec Brown (50th).
“We think it was a great night for us,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “I feel like in the draft, with our four picks, we got a blend of a little bit of everything.”
“Sometimes you have to move or give up a lot, give up future picks, give up players to get exactly what you want,” he added. “We didn’t have to do any of that. We just kind of stayed where we were and the guys fell to us.”
Warren to Provide Elite Scoring Ability
There were times, in tight games last season, when Phoenix needed two points in stingy circumstances.
Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek thinks TJ Warren can supply that – a lot.
“He’s a guy that we think can get tough buckets,” he said.
Warren’s points are not only hard-earned, but plentiful. The 6-8 small forward averaged 24.9 points per game for N.C. State on his way to conference player of the year honors.
His value stems from a throwback style that produced efficient points in the paint. Warren shot 52.5 percent overall and 74 percent in the restricted area last season, a mark just below those of NBA league leaders LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Brendan Wright.
“He has a unique ability to put the ball in the basket,” McDonough said. “He’s got good size and strength, but more importantly he has terrific instincts and a fantastic touch around the basket. So we feel like he has a lot of the things you can’t teach.”
Ennis to Lend Steady Hand to Backcourt
The 2013-14 Suns were wildly successful when playing dual point guard lineups that kept the offense humming and defenses on their heels.
With Syracuse leader Tyler Ennis in the fold, Phoenix is that much more capable of staying true to that style of play.
“We really value having multiple ball-handlers on the floor,” McDonough said. “We think our ability to run pick-and-rolls on either side of the floor and also to push the ball in transition – either via the pass or via the dribble – we feel like that’s a strength for us. We wanted to keep adding to it.”
Ennis’ particular brand of playmaking, as well as his crunch-time chops, made him Phoenix’s target at No. 18.
“His composure at his age stands out,” McDonough said. “If you looked at his numbers in close and late games, they were terrific, like unbelievably good with what he did down the stretch of games with the game on the line…that’s pretty rare for a 19-year-old freshman.”
Suns Invest in Bogdanovic
It could be one to two years before Bogdan Bogdanovic dons a regular season Suns uniform, but Phoenix seems confident he’ll be worth the wait.
The 6-6 Serbian guard made a name for himself in one of the most highly competitive European leagues, averaging 12.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals for Belgrade Partizan in Serbia.
“Bogdan Bogdanovic is one of the top players in Europe,” McDonough said. “[6-foot-6], good strength. He’s very productive in the Adriatic League and the Euro League as well. He’s a fairly proven commodity for a 22-year-old player. We anticipate that he’ll return to Europe and play with Partizan…we’ll be very interested in his development.”
“We feel like he’s a guy who has a good chance to be an NBA rotation player at some point down the road,” he added.
Versatile Brown Caps Off Suns Draft
Phoenix’s busy night finished in a big way in the form of Alec Brown.
The 7-1 big man made his mark on both ends of the floor with Green Bay, rejecting 3.1 shots per contest while shooting 42 percent from three-point range.
“Alec’s an elite shooter at 7-foot-plus,” McDonough said. “We feel like he will be a very good fit for our team with our style.”