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Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns (who in the real NBA draft pick at 51) are picking here at 34.  Their first round pick having been gone to Boston.  Their GM is Trevin Wagener who selects:

Samual Dalembert, C, 6'11", Seton Hall


The Phoenix Suns are a team with plenty of talent, but there is still improving to be done. They finished the season with a 51-31 record. They ended up 3rd in the Pacific Division and advanced to the playoffs as the 6th seed in the West. They were eliminated in the first round by the Sacramento Kings 3 games to 1. This draft will not provide much relief for the Suns, but there are some 2nd round possibilities that could provide the right contribution to a winning team.

Draft History

  • 2000- #25 Jake Tsakalidis
  • 1999- #9 Shawn Marion
  • 1998- None
  • 1997- #43 Stephen Jackson
  • 1996- #15 Steve Nash, #39 Russ Millard, #43 Ben Davis
  • 1995- #21 Michael Finley, #27 Mario Bennett, #56 Chris Carr
  • 1994- #23 Wesley Person, #29 Antonio Lang, #50 Charles Claxton, #52 Anthony Goldwire
  • 1993- #27 Malcolm Mackey, #49 Mark Buford, #54 Brian Wilson
  • 1992- #22 Oliver Miller, #48 Brian Davis, #49 Ron Ellis
  • 1991- #32 Chad Gallagher, #46 Richard Dumas, #50 Joey Wright
  • 1990- #21 Jayson Williams, #31 Negele Knight, #48 Cedric Ceballos, #52 Stefano Rusconi

Team needs


Summary: Tony Delk was an offseason acquisition from Sacramento. This season Delk proved he is a very capable player and a very good backup to have around. Delk dropped 53 points on his former team in an amazing individual effort. Vinny Del Negro came over in a midseason trade and produced very little. I was surprised the Suns traded with the Golden State Warriors for Del Negro, mainly because they gave up Paul McPherson, a young talent who provided athleticism to an aging Suns team. Mario Elie was another player signed during the offseason, and he was somewhat disappointing. Although he contributed, he didn't have the big impact that he had in San Antonio. Penny Hardaway was injured for a big portion of the season, so his numbers were disappointing as well. Jason Kidd was his usual self, and had another productive year. A domestic violence incident was a low point for the team during the season, but Kidd was able to handle it maturely and responsibly. Elliot Perry provided depth although his numbers don't tell much.

Analysis: The Suns could use a scoring threat or a capable point guard. There could be improvement upon Elliot Perry as the 3rd point guard and with Hardaway's absence, there was no one to step into his shoes as a natural scorer. A combo guard would be ideal, or a point guard with height and scoring ability.


Summary: Tom Gugliotta wasn't the solid contributor he had been in the past, but he suffered from some injury problems this season. Shawn Marion is proving to be one of the top players from the class of 1999, and should be a star for years to come. Cliff Robinson, the 12 year vet, helps solidify the small forward position with Marion, making it the Suns strongest spot. Rodney Rogers has proved he is one of the best bench players in the league, let alone a tremendous all-around player. He is a great asset for the Suns.

Analysis: The Suns could use an extra big body to throw into the mix with Rogers and Gugliotta. As Gugliotta ages, his injury problems will only get worse, so drafting a player to develop now would be insurance. As for small forward, they really don't need to look for one in the draft.


Summary: Well, this is the position of greatest need for the Suns. If they can get an able big man, they could compete with the monsters of the West (Shaq, Duncan, Webber, etc.) better. Iakavos Tsakalidis should not be overlooked however. The European big man put up some meager numbers this year, but had a few strong outings and showed lots of promise for the future. If the Suns can work with him a little more, he could become a very effective player, whether starting or coming off the bench. No one gets really excited when they hear Daniel Santiago or Chris Dudley as the only other options at the position though. Santiago is young and could blossom a few years down the road, but Chris Dudley isn't getting any younger.

Analysis: This is the most glaring need, and no matter what other players may be available, I think the Suns need to think about need first. A great find in the 2nd round would be very beneficial to the success of this team.

Free Agents Analysis: The Suns will have to decide the fates of Mario Elie, Elliot Perry, and Dan Santiago. Santiago has a player option to decide whether he would like to return, and has hinted that he may not come back. Elie didn't do anything spectacular last season, but he may be worth bringing back for a veteran's minimum. Elliot Perry could be brought back if no one else can be found, but that would be the only reason I see.

My Selection

Samuel Dalembert 6-11 232 C Seton Hall So.

Dalembert stood out from the available players on the draft board because in my opinion, he is a better first round prospect than Alvin Jones or Ken Johnson. He's mobile and a decent shot blocker who had to compete with Eddie Griffin, the nation's leading shotblocker. He brings a different style of play than Jake Tsakalidis, which helps to give opposing teams different looks. He still needs development, but athletic ability alone will get you drafted. He is a big body to bang around in the West and pick up fouls if necessary. If he can become a Theo Ratliff type, he could put the Suns in a strong position for big things in the future.

Other players considered

Rashad Phillips 5-10 166 PG Detroit Sr.

Although he doesn't fit the right profile for size, his scoring ability from outside the arc is tremendous. He could provide just the right spark off the bench from the point guard position, but in drafting him, the positions of need do not get filled.

Damone Brown 6-10 202 SF Syracuse Sr.

He has a nice inside game and grabs plenty of boards. With the emergence of an outside game, he could be a special player off the bench, like Rodney Rogers in a way. The only problem is that he projects as more of a small forward, where he wouldn't log too many minutes with the Suns.

Michael Wright 6-8.5 247 PF Arizona Jr.

He plays bigger than he is, but the size issue will still scare some teams away. He lacks shooting range, but makes up for it with strong inside play on the blocks. A ferocious rebounder, Wright will do the dirty work down low night-in and night-out. Drafting him was a tempting idea, but in my opinion it would be a reach to draft him this early.

Brandon Armstrong 6-4.5 188 SG Pepperdine Jr.

Armstrong is the best scorer available, and I believe he will come back to haunt the teams that passed on him. He averaged 22.1 points per game at Pepperdine, but the thing that scares people is that he doesn't do much outside of scoring. Teams passed on Michael Finley, and they are regretting it today.

Brian Scalabrine 6-9 240 PF Southern Cal Sr.

If you watched the NCAA tournament, you saw what Scalabrine brings to the table. He is fluid down low, and has quality moves in the paint. His range outside gives him the ability to be a 3 or a 4. Scalabrine is a hard worker who is very smart on the court.

Eric Chenowith 7-2 264 C Kansas Sr.

Chenowith is still considered a project, but he has skills now that show he could become something good in the future. Offensively, he has got plenty of moves and his height helps his shooting. He could stand to gain some weight, but is still an effective rebounder and shot blocker. All in all, I believe Chenowith may be the best real prospect for the Suns when they pick at #51.

Jarron Collins 6-10.5 252 PF Stanford Sr.

Jarron, the eldest of the Collins twins is more of a power forward, but could be an effective center in the Eastern Conference. A fluid player on offense, he demonstrates good movement down low. He's got great handling ability for a power forward, and flashes an outside game sometimes. His defensive aggression and boarding is questionable, which is why he will slip to the second round.

Terence Morris 6-9 205 SF Maryland Sr.

The one time lottery lock has dropped drastically. His inconsistency and lack of determination will haunt him, but an NBA team will give him a chance. He may excel in a new atmosphere as well. He is a much better scorer than his averages show, and his size allows him to play above defenders. Physically he is gifted with height, but his weight has bogged him down. In traffic, he will get beaten up by much larger competition. He has all the natural ability, but he hasn't been able to capitilize on that.

Karim Shabazz 7-2 225 C Providence Sr.

Shabazz is not highly touted, but he could become a strong player in the NBA. His size is valuable in and of itself, but he has good movement with or without the ball on offense, and runs the floor decently. His scoring ability is average, but is still better than the other centers left. With some experience under his belt, I think Shabazz could become a consistent double-double guy.

Brandon Wolfram 6-9 230 SF/PF Texas El-Paso Sr.

A great scorer and good rebounder, he can shift between the 3 and the 4. His inside-outside combination can make defensive matchups hard for the opposing teams. He would be a great pick for a winning team, like the Lakers, who need an inside body off the bench with some scoring punch.

Who the team will probably take

At #51, it is anybody's guess what the Suns will be thinking, but I see Eric Chenowith still around by then, and the Suns grabbing a youthful big man to develop alongside Tsakalidis. If not a center, I see a point guard, like Cookie Belcher, being drafted.

Other moves the team should make

Well the Suns don't have tons of cap room, so I don't see them spending a great deal on free agents. I don't see any trades that would need to take place either. The Suns are in a very good situation here, and I can't see why they couldn't go deep into the playoffs if Hardaway and Gugliotta can stay healthy. With that said, I still think there is a need for at least one more big man on this team, along with some scorers. A veteran that comes to mind would be LaPhonso Ellis. I don't know how much he'd want to leave Minnesota, but he is very underrated in regards to how much he could help a team. Jabari Smith from Sacramento is a guy that dropped in the draft last season, but a player who could really produce if given a chance. He showed some promise in Summer League play last year. Derrick Dial of San Antonio is a 3 point shooter who could be the perfect fit against zone defenses next season. Jelani McCoy from Seattle is another young kid with some talent, but he needs some playing time to hone that skill. Alvin Williams is a defensive stopper who was valuable in the playoffs, but leaving Toronto may be an issue. Finally, Jacque Vaughn, the heir apparent to John Stockton may not return, making the talented young point guard an option for the Suns. With Vaughn, Delk, and Kidd, the Suns would be stocked. I don't predict any of these players will even leave, let alone for the Suns, but they could be the extra something that is needed.