The Suns meant to tank this season. They shuttled off a bunch of assets, nabbed additional first-rounders and prepared to ride out a rough year, then come back rejuvenated with young draftees. Then Goran Dragic turned into an All-Star, Jeff Hornacek turned out to be a decent coach and they won 48 games and just barely missed making the playoffs. If the Suns were in the East, they probably would have risen.
(disappears in a puff of smoke, amazed at the cleverness of his own wordplay)
Sorry, guys. It's been a long draft season.
Anyway, we won't really know what the Suns' needs are until the Eric Bledsoe situation is resolved--does he stay? If so, for how much? If not, what might come back in a sign-and-trade? But let's assume that he's back, and let's also look at the roster as it's constituted with the Suns' first two first-rounders, Adriean Payne and Doug McDermott.
I see two areas of need: guard depth and size. The Suns are pretty well squared away at forward, particularly with the addition of Payne and MacDo, but apart from Alex Len, there's no real tentpole, no second big body, no real motherfucker, if you will, at the five. I wanted to go that way at first, but didn't, for several reasons:
- They might only have one beast center, but they've got about a million skilled power forwards in Channing Frye, los Morris hermanos and now Payne.
- They didn't exactly get killed on the boards last year, despite being a little small on the front line.
- The NBA is heading away from the Greg Ostertag model of backup center, so the Suns can, and have, play smallish and still compete.
- With Jusuf Nurkic and Clint Capela off the board, I'm not in love with any of the bigs that are still around.
- You can get a big body for peanuts on the free agent market or for a protected second-rounder. Not literally Jamaal Magloire, but someone like him.
Which brings us to Bogdanovic. I do worry that my obsession with the 2009 Orlando Magic has made me unable to conceive of an offense constructed around anything but an immobile point forward with tremendous ball skills, but Bogdan has the potential to be a serious offensive contributor. Good size for a two-guard, good length, good shooting stroke, handle and court vision. With most of your core returning and two other first-rounders coming in, the Suns can live with Bogdan staying in Europe for another year or two, if that's how it shakes out, and instead of taking a stopgap, they could take a chance on a player who has real skills now and the potential to turn into a starter. And even if you're worried about Bogdan's game translating to the NBA, consider this: two-guard in the NBA right now is such a colossal waste that the Sixers are talking themselves into James Anderson as a starter. Are we really abolishing positions to a certain extent because the game's getting faster and more fluid, or are we abolishing positions because we can't fill out an All-NBA ballot anymore? Bogdan could be an above-average shooting guard right now, for all we know.
But most of all, I like Bogdan to the Suns because it's been a long draft process, the three guys I was eyeing for this spot all got taken and I figured I'd take the guy I liked and figure out how he fits later.