Buying or Selling Phoenix Suns Rumors Ahead of NBA Draft

Sam CooperCorrespondent IIIJune 19, 2013

Ben McLemore is one potential candidate for the Suns to draft.
Ben McLemore is one potential candidate for the Suns to draft.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

All eyes are still on the NBA Finals, but that doesn't mean that lottery teams such as the Phoenix Suns haven't shifted their focus to the upcoming NBA Draft.

The draft is just about a week away, and the Suns have now had dozens of prospects work out for them. The varying range of the talent of these prospects has been quite wide, as the Suns are looking for potential candidates to select with the fifth, 30th and 57th picks in the draft.

Of course, there have been a few rumors floating around about the Suns and what they will do on draft night.

Now, let's tackle some of the latest rumors with a game of Buy or Sell.


Suns Looking to Acquire More Draft Picks? 

The Suns already have two first-round picks this year, but they could always use more. Among all of the "rebuilding" teams in the league, the Suns are one of the oldest and desperately need an influx of young talent soon.

After missing out on the Lakers' potential lottery pick earlier in the season, the Suns may try to acquire a new draft pick beyond the fifth and 30th slots.

In fact, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Suns may do just that. He also spoke to GM Ryan McDonough, who had this to say about acquiring draft picks:

 "We’ve talked to a few teams about getting in the draft at different ranges. We have good assets to do that. We have to evaluate all of these guys, figure out where they’re going to go. And then if we can get in at a particular range where a guy is undervalued, we’ll try to get in and get him there.”

If the Suns were to make a trade on draft night, Marcin Gortat is perhaps the greatest asset at their disposal. As a 29-year-old center entering the final year of his contract who didn't live up to expectations this season, the Suns could flip Gortat to another team in exchange for a pick in the 10-20 range and some salary cap relief.

Right now, the Portland Trail Blazers could be the best potential partner for Phoenix. They own the 10th pick in the draft, which they could send to Phoenix along with a contract, such as Joel Freeland's for Gortat, a veteran center that could help them make the playoffs and add to a core that already includes Lamarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard.

From there, the Suns would have a plethora of young centers to choose from, all of whom could potentially be the long-term solution at the position.

Verdict: Buy


Suns Interested in Mason Plumlee?

The Suns could use help at every single position, from point guard to center, and if they do decide to trade for an additional pick, a center such as Mason Plumlee could be on their wish list.

In an interview with Bright Side of the Sun's Dave King, McDonough had this to say about the second of the three Plumlee brothers:

"I know Mason in the NBA right away will be able to rebound. He will be one of the better bigs running the floor. He plays above the rim. He rebounds above the rim. There were a number of times today where he got loose and the guards threw the ball up to the rim and he caught it and dunked it."

McDonough sang his praises about the center prospect, and he seems very high on Mason.

However, should the Suns acquire the 10th pick from a team like Portland, would Mason Plumlee be worth selecting?

There are many big men who are potential lottery picks, and they will all be competing with Plumlee. Cody Zeller and Alex Len are two candidates for the 10th pick if they haven't already been taken, and Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams and Gorgui Dieng could all be selected in the late lottery instead of Plumlee. 

Plumlee does have plenty of strengths, as he is a great rebounder and an above-average post defender. Also, he contributes on offense by scoring on putbacks and lobs, even if he isn't a go-to scorer down low.

But again, the Suns have so many options to consider here if they do chose to trade for another pick. For now, you can buy the rumors that the Suns are merely "interested" in Plumlee, as McDonough has said so himself.

However, do not necessarily expect Phoenix to call his name on draft night. 

Verdict: Buy


Is McLemore an Ideal Prospect for Phoenix?

Perhaps the most critical need of the Suns right now is a primary scoring option. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be many of those in this draft.

However, Ben McLemore could be the best scorer of his class, and while he could still be taken by another team, Paul Coro sang McLemore's praises in a recent article. He said:

"There are no greater Suns needs than perimeter shooting and athleticism. McLemore checks both boxes. The Kansas redshirt freshman is a 6-foot-5 scorer who could combine Ray Allen’s shot and Paul George’s bounce if he has the alpha dog aggression that he is claiming."

Coro is correct in saying that the Suns need perimeter shooting and athleticism. The team finished 28th in three-point shooting last season, and some highlight plays could also potentially fill more seats at the U.S Airways Center.

However, more and more questions are being raised about McLemore's game. For example, in a recent workout with the Suns, McLemore declined to compete against other top prospects, such as Victor Oladipo and Shabazz Muhammad.

This did not sit well with some scouts. According to ESPN's Chad Ford, one GM said, "He needs to compete, or it's only going to reinforce our biggest fears about him. There is no consensus in this draft. He's got to come and earn it."

We already knew about McLemore's issues with inconsistency on the court. Now, the fact that he isn't competing in workouts only exacerbates those concerns. 

So, let's say that McLemore actually drops to the fifth pick. Even if that happens, I'm not so sure McLemore is the ideal candidate anymore. If Victor Oladipo out of Indiana is still on the board at that point, the Suns shouldn't hesitate to take him and allow McLemore's stock to drop even more. 

Verdict: Sell