In a way of authenticating their stated need for serious talent upgrades for their roster, regardless of position, the Phoenix Suns summoned a few point guards. Of the seven draft prospects under scrutiny Thursday at the US Airways Center practice court, five will spend some (if not all) of their professional work as a primary ballhandler. That’s interesting in these parts because the most productive player on that aforementioned roster is Suns point guard Goran Dragic. Last year’s lottery pick, former North Carolina Tar Heels star Kendall Marshall, is a point guard, too. “Like I said when I took the job, and it still continues now, we’re going to draft the best player,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough pointed out. Over a two-day span, McDonough, coach Jeff Hornacek and crew have hosted enough highly regarded players to – if most projections are anywhere near accurate – cover at least half of the lottery spots in the June 27 NBA Draft. “These guys over the past few days made my decision tougher,” McDonough said. The cast of point guards featured Michigan sophomore Trey Burke (the Wooden Award winner as national player of the year), Miami sophomore Shane Larkin, lanky Syracuse sophomore Michael Carter-Williams and Lehigh senior combo (not his favorite designation) guard CJ McCollum. Thursday’s three-on-three format also included point guard Korie Lucious of Iowa State, Akron center Zeke Marshall and 18-year-old French post player Mouhammadou Jaiteh. McDonough did allow that some current roster considerations would apply when the Suns are on the clock. “But if one of those guys emerges as the clear best guy at (pick number) five, we’ll take him,” he said. We’re not sure where Burke will emerge, but he arrived as the presumed leader (in terms of draft range) of this year’s point-guard-prospect pack. And, just like Ben McLemore one day before him, the 6-foot-1 Burke – under business-oriented marching orders from his agent – passed on a group workout to star in a solo audition. “I wouldn’t mind competing with a group,” said Burke, who demonstrated considerable pluck while almost willing Michigan into the championship game of the NCAA tournament a couple of months ago. “My agent tells me it’s best to compete by myself. I really don’t have a lot to gain by playing with others.” Taken out of context, that quote would offer a scary bit of philosophy. But in following the typical scripts written for players who could go off the board early, it makes sense. Burke and/or his agent, by the way, are of the opinion he could go “anywhere from 2 to 8 or 2 to 9. We won’t really know until the draft.” And with a seeming absence of clear-cut elite prospects, we’re seeing a fluid draft lead-up that could be impacted by some of the other players visiting the Suns on Thursday.
Suns work out Burke, other top point guard prospects
Fox Sports Arizona | Jun 7