When the Phoenix Suns are on the clock they are not deciding between franchise changers like Anthony Davis or Kevin Durant. They are trying to land on the positive side of the very perplexing nature of the 13th overall pick.
Historically this is a boom or bust pick.
Looking at all the picks made from 1980 to 2011 it is a mixed bag. There were some amazing talents that slipped to 13 for whatever reason including Karl Malone (1985), Jalen Rose (1994), and Kobe Bryant in (1996). All of which were great in there own rights and went on to have Hall of Fame careers (minus Rose).
That is the positive side of 13. Then there is the norm, which showcases either fringe NBA talents or quality role players.
Very talented role players such as Dale Davis (1991), Bryant Stith (1992), Corliss Williamson (1995), and Corey Maggette (1999) all made their team very happy at the end of the lottery. That trend continued in recent years with Richard Jefferson (2001), Thabo Sefalosha (2006), and Tyler Hansbrough (2009).
All of those players added something to a playoff caliber team, which is what the Suns should focus on this year. The talent pool offers many role players and specialists at 13 this year that could evolve into something more, but for now they simply need to add talent to a depleated, older roster.
If they overthink it then they could land the next Marcus Haislip (2003), Sean May (2005), or Julian Wright (2007) type talent that fizzles right out of the league.
Who are the Suns looking at?
Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut - This is the best case scenario for a Top 10 type pick to fall to the Suns. What Lamb brings to the table the Suns have not had in, well, probably forever. He is a smooth scorer that can knock down the NBA three, but is even better at moving off the ball to get his mid-range shot off. Think a hybrid of Richard Hamilton and Reggie Miller (without the killer instinct).
Arnett Moultrie, F/C, Mississippi State - Why another big? Well if all the wings are gone they will revert to the player they know best after two private workouts and a trip to his home state to meet the family. Moultrie is an upgrade over Channing Frye and Robin Lopez long-term with his overall game.
Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina - This is the obvious pick, but is it? Marshall is a great floor leader, passer, smart as they come, and has the tools to run a team, but there are drawbacks to his game. He is not an elite shooter and lacks the athleticsim to make up for it. That combo rarely works in the NBA (see: Miller, Andre).
Terrence Ross, G/F, Washington - Likely the last wing scorer on the board is Terrence Ross who does and does not fit the Suns needs. He is a deadeye shooter with potential as a defender, but lacks the play-making skills they will need from the shooting guard position if Nash leaves.
All five of those prospects could be on the board when the Suns are on the clock, but who do they select? Lamb and Ross offer perimeter scoring, Marshall could be the heir aparent to Steve Nash, and Moultrie is talented, but in a position of strength for the Suns today.
A quick poll of SB Nation Arizona writers revealed:
Who Should The Suns Draft? A point guard or a scoring two guard. While Nash might be back, they can't count on it. And based on the talent probably available. They should go with the two guard. Think Waiters, Rivers.
Who Do You Want The Suns To Draft? If it worked out perfectly, Austin Rivers. Phoenix needs someone who can score and shoot and, more importantly, wants the ball in big situations.
What Is The Worst Case Scenario At No. 13? Any big guy. Not interested at that point in the draft.
- Jess Root
Who Should The Suns Draft? The Suns need to draft someone they think is going to be their dynamic scoring weapon of the future. They team is full of talent and depth at a number of positions, but completely lacks star power and a go-to scorer.
Who Do You Want The Suns To Draft? Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters. Austin Rivers is another popular name at the spot and he's got the swagger, but not sure I'm sold he has the talent. Waiters is a hot name right now, though, and might be gone when the Suns are up to pick.
What Is The Worst Case Scenario At No. 13? Lamb, Waiters, and Rivers are all gone and the Suns draft another big man.
- Justin Burning
Who Should The Suns Draft? A piece to the puzzle. Marshall is a nice point guard, but the 2013 class offers a lot of options there. A wing that can score is where the Suns should focus on and Terrence Ross maybe the only there at No. 13.
Who Do You Want The Suns To Draft? Take a risk for once. Move some assets (they don't have many) to try and get into the Top 10 to secure one of their desired players. If that happens Austin Rivers is the best fot on the Suns with or without Nash on board.
What Is The Worst Case Scenario At No. 13? Hearing Waiters, Rivers, Lamb, Lillard, and Marshall's names called before they are up. All very possible. If so they would likely trade down.
- Kristofer Habbas