Experts Grade Suns 2016 NBA Draft Class

The Suns' three 2016 draft picks pose for a picture at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Suns.com
by Tyler Emerick

With the dust settled from Thursday night's NBA Draft, pundits from around the league have begun handing out grades for each team's haul.

The Suns received high marks across the board for their selections of Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis. Below are five such examples of analysts putting Phoenix at or near the top of the class.

ESPN – A

Chad Ford: "The Suns added an elite backcourt shooter last year in Devin Booker. This year they addressed a huge need at the 4 with two of the best shooting bigs in the draft. Bender is very skilled, can guard multiple positions, protects the rim and plays with a great motor. Chriss is the freakiest athlete in the draft. It's rare to see a 6-foot-10 guy who can move the way he can. And adding Ulis in the second was great. If he were three inches taller, he would've been a top-10 pick. Things just got brighter in the Valley of the Sun. I'm bullish on the Suns again."

Fox Sports – A-

Aaron Torres: "The reason the Suns get an A- is their pick-up of Tyler Ulis in the second round. Sure, it plays up the moniker of the "Kentucky Suns" even further (there are now five former John Calipari players on their roster). At the same time, Ulis will bring immediate toughness and leadership to a super-young team. Even if he's only a backup, Ulis immediately makes Phoenix better simply by being in their locker room."

Sporting News – A+

Kevin O'Connor: "What a masterstroke of a night for Suns general manager Ryan McDonough. He was able to nab both players they reportedly wanted with the fourth pick, in Bender and Chriss, while consolidating picks and still acquiring Ulis in the second round. Bender and Chriss are highly versatile players who are great fits in the modern NBA. They can stroke threes, handle the rock and potentially bring other attributes to the table. Ulis is undersized, but he does it all on offense, as a reliable floor general, leader and shooter."

CBS Sports – A

Sam Vecenie: "The Suns had a lot of picks in this draft and essentially did what the Celtics couldn't. They consolidated them into a single resource for a player they wanted. First, they took Bender, the No. 4 overall player on my board and just an absolutely tremendous fit for what they want to do. Then, they moved up to grab Chriss, a home-run swing, upside player that could really work out as a stretch-four next to Bender if he grows into his role as a center. Oh, and they took one of my favorite prospects in the draft in Ulis, who is just a gamer in every sense of the word. He'll figure out an NBA role."

Sports Illustrated – B+

Andrew Sharp: "Dragan Bender AND Marquese Chriss. Brandon Knight AND Eric Bledsoe AND Devin Booker. Tyson Chanlder AND Alex Len. The Suns are a mess in the best way possible. They came into this draft looking for a stretch four, and they'll leave with the two best stretch four options on the board, and all it took was giving up a role player to the Kings. The long-term Suns outlook is remarkably positive. Chriss and Bender are insurance policies for each other, but provided one or both pans out, Phoenix will have a killer pick-and-roll partner for Devin Booker when it's time to start really competing in the West in a few years."

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