Why the tank is important

Chris_Sanders

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This is the deepest draft in years.

http://www.espn.com/nba/insider/sto...lonzo-ball-more-freshmen-tiers-2017-nba-draft

Just two freshmen were taken in the first round of the 2006 draft, the first one after the high school senior ban. By 2008, that number grew to 11, including eight in the lottery. A new record was set in 2015 with 13 freshman first-rounders and eight lottery picks.

The 2017 draft has a chance to shatter that record.

Our Top 100 currently projects 20 freshmen to be taken in the first round this year, with 12 in the lottery. And it's not just the sheer number of freshmen that has scouts excited. It's the quality as well.

I asked a number of NBA GMs and scouts to apply the tier system that I've been using for years.

A whopping 11 freshmen fell in one of the top three tiers, which essentially means a range from NBA superstars to regular starters. The most we've ever had was six in the 2014 draft, headlined by Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins.

So, let's get to the tiers.

Note: Players in each tier are listed alphabetically.

Tier 1 (Potential superstars)
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington


Only eight players have been ranked in this slot since we started doing this in 2009: Blake Griffin, John Wall, Anthony Davis, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons.

That's pretty elite company.

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This year, there is still a major question among NBA scouts and GMs about whether there are any Tier 1 prospects. Most of the NBA people I spoke with were hesitant to make the call just yet and said they won't be sure until we get closer to the draft. However, Ball and Fultz have very high ceilings and pretty high floors. They received enough votes to rank here, despite a number of GMs and scouts ranking them as Tier 2 players.

Fultz's all-around game, athleticism and versatility make him a virtually can't-miss prospect. Ball's unique combination of size and court vision have some scouts comparing him to Jason Kidd with a jump shot.

"I'm not sure there are superstars in this draft," one GM said. "I'm not sure I see the guy that turns around a franchise. But both Ball and Fultz have that potential. The position that they play and the lack of great, young point guards right now in the league give them that potential. They could really lead a new generation of big, multi-positional point guards."

Tier 2 (All-Star potential)
Harry Giles, F/C, Duke
Josh Jackson, G/F, Kansas
Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke


All five of the players here got a small handful of Tier 1 votes -- especially Smith and Tatum. The general consensus in the race for the No. 1 pick seems to be wide open. Only Monk and Giles received any Tier 3 votes from NBA folks.

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Smith and Jackson both have elite athletic ability to go along with great passing skills, but inconsistent jump shots (especially for Jackson) hurt their cases for Tier 1.

Tatum is a prototypical small forward in the NBA physically, though his 3-point shot is still a question mark. Monk may be both the best scorer and most explosive athlete in the draft, but he lacks positional size.

Giles is an especially compelling case. Virtually every team I spoke with believes he is a Tier 1 talent, but two major ACL surgeries and another minor knee procedure this fall -- along with a slow start to the season -- give them pause. If he fully recovers, all of them agreed he belongs in Tier 1, but he received only two votes for Tier 1 right now and five votes for Tier 3.
 
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Chris_Sanders

Chris_Sanders

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pokerface

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If we would have traded Bledsoe at the deadline anything would have been possible. Now I'm hoping for a top Five pick.
 

AZCrazy

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Who are you going to convince to take Bledsoe and Knight off your hands?
 

pokerface

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Who are you going to convince to take Bledsoe and Knight off your hands?

Bledsoe isn't a hard sell right now it's just getting an acceptable offer.

Knight may very well earn his paycheck by helping us tank. After that he can rot on the bench for all I care.
 
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Chris_Sanders

Chris_Sanders

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Who are you going to convince to take Bledsoe and Knight off your hands?

Bledsoe is at his highest value ever. He is #33 in PER and 21 in Estimated Wins Added.

He is worth a top pick or 2 mid picks.
 

NashDishesDimes

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Completely agree on all accounts on this thread. Bledsoe should have been traded to ensure a top 3 pick, and also to let Knight play and raise his stock again before Suns draft Lonz.

I think most people finally are starting to understand the art of the tank, it must be done. Every game I watch I hope Suns are competitive and progress, but still lose...
 

chickenhead

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Who's to say they didn't try to trade Bledsoe and didn't get those offers?

We have to remember that it's a lottery as well. Trading Bledsoe and then not getting the ping pong balls to bounce our way (remember, we're Suns fans) is also a risk. It would be even worse if it were a bad trade just to move him.
 

JCSunsfan

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It would make more sense to sit Bledsoe than trade him.
 

AzStevenCal

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It would make more sense to sit Bledsoe than trade him.

I don't know, do you think we can be the first? I know someone will bring up Robinson but it just wasn't the same. Eric is healthy and far too young to use age as an excuse. We can cut his minutes a little, maybe hold him to 30 at max and give him an occasional day off but that's probably it. But after sitting back and watching Philly send out all the veterans, maybe the league is ready to say okay to phase two tanking?

Under Stern, intentionally sitting a prime age starter, likely would have been penalized, probably with the loss of a first round pick. But the league today seems more willing to recognize that a team has the right to focus strategically even if that comes at the cost of competing in the short term.
 

NashDishesDimes

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Cant just sit Bledsoe, the art of the tank is at least not making it obvious to the world you are tanking. sitting him creates turmoil within the team and organization.

As far as whether or not they tried to trade him, i highly doubt it. McDonough said repeatedly as of late referring to a core of Booker and Bledsoe. Its also worth noting that they didnt need to get fair value back, if they got a future 1st rounder from a bad team would have been sufficient.
 

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Bledsoe is really turning the corner. He is becoming a star player, and we don't want to trade him just to get a chance at getting a star player in the draft.

I think resting him in back-to-backs. Maybe a few games of with "tendonitis" etc. All that would be good. Trading PJ was good for the tank.
 

pokerface

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No one can say what the right move is or was concerning Bledsoe because we are dealing with incomplete information. We don't know if he was seriously being shopped... offers that were made... or what the suns general strategy is for the future. As a matter of fact they might be having dual strategies going right now...constantly evaluating which is more realistic and achievable. I think they have an eye for the playoffs next season and want to keep Bled to explore that route. However, depending on how the draft goes or if certain players get taken off the market they may reevaluate the whole thing because in fact they are dealing with incomplete information as well.

Trading Tucker was a good stop gap move because it helped the tank without slamming the door shut on a future playoff run. It keeps their options open.
 

Krangodnzr

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From what I'm seeing, I think McD wants to add a high pick and be competitive real soon. I don't think he's getting the leash that he needs to get for a proper rebuild. So in his mind he can't give up a Bledsoe without getting something back that will make the Suns competitive in the near term.

I lurk on this forum all of the time but rarely post. I think I'm in the minority in that I think McD has overall done a decent job, but the Knight trade has been a major disaster. I've liked his draft picks for the most part and have liked his trades for the most part. I think this offseason is critical; if the Suns don't get a big time player from this draft McD is done. A corps of Bledsoe-Booker-Stud young player, with Chriss, Warren, Bender and Ullis could be a pretty good team, but if that young player doesn't at least look like a all star quickly, McD should be fired.


EDIT: What I meant by adding a high pick, is that he wants to use the Suns pick this year and be competitive.
 
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AzStevenCal

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I lurk on this forum all of the time but rarely post. I think I'm in the minority in that I think McD has overall done a decent job, but the Knight trade has been a major disaster. I've liked his draft picks for the most part and have liked his trades for the most part. I think this offseason is critical; if the Suns don't get a big time player from this draft McD is done. A corps of Bledsoe-Booker-Stud young player, with Chriss, Warren, Bender and Ullis could be a pretty good team, but if that young player doesn't at least look like a all star quickly, McD should be fired.


EDIT: What I meant by adding a high pick, is that he wants to use the Suns pick this year and be competitive.

I guess we could do a poll but I think that's actually the majority opinion here. He's made mistakes, he's done some good things. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say he's done well, but it's too soon to call him a bust. We won't know that till we see how Bender and Chriss work out IMO. But I hope you're wrong on using the pick to become competitive.
 

Krangodnzr

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I guess we could do a poll but I think that's actually the majority opinion here. He's made mistakes, he's done some good things. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say he's done well, but it's too soon to call him a bust. We won't know that till we see how Bender and Chriss work out IMO. But I hope you're wrong on using the pick to become competitive.

I think the evidence is there. Why not trade Bledsoe and Chandler? Because that would hurt the chances of the Suns being competitive soon.

It sucks that strength of this draft is PG, because I think Bledsoe is a pretty decent one. I'm not as emotionally invested in this, since the Suns are like my distant 3rd favorite team. I have no special love for any of the recent players on the team, so I think I can look at the situation objectively.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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And those tiers don't include euros. This is a dynamite draft. Just think if we had the 4th and 8th picks this year! (THough would still want top two)
 

AzStevenCal

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I think the evidence is there. Why not trade Bledsoe and Chandler? Because that would hurt the chances of the Suns being competitive soon.

It sucks that strength of this draft is PG, because I think Bledsoe is a pretty decent one. I'm not as emotionally invested in this, since the Suns are like my distant 3rd favorite team. I have no special love for any of the recent players on the team, so I think I can look at the situation objectively.

I should have worded it differently. I KNOW he'd like to trade assets, probably including the 17 pick for a star. I don't know that he's set on doing it though. It's clear this draft has some fortune-changing players and if he lands in the right spot there's not likely to be a better player available via trade.
 

Krangodnzr

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I should have worded it differently. I KNOW he'd like to trade assets, probably including the 17 pick for a star. I don't know that he's set on doing it though. It's clear this draft has some fortune-changing players and if he lands in the right spot there's not likely to be a better player available via trade.

And I agree with that. From an opportunity cost perspective, the best chance of adding an all star to star caliber player is with the Suns 2017 1st round pick. Even trading Bledsoe would likely get the Suns an outside the lottery pick/s, which honestly isn't worth it until you know that you have Ball/Fultz. Trading Bledsoe just to ensure you get Ball/Fultz isn't the best option IMO, because now you have Ball/Fultz but you gave up Bledsoe for an outside the lottery pick who most likely at best is a role player.

I think it's a bird in hand vs two in the bush scenario. Firstly, we are all assuming that Ball/Fultz will be better than Bledsoe. I think it's a fairly good assumption, but what happens when you trade Bledsoe and Ball Fultz AREN'T better than Bledsoe?
 

AzStevenCal

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And I agree with that. From an opportunity cost perspective, the best chance of adding an all star to star caliber player is with the Suns 2017 1st round pick. Even trading Bledsoe would likely get the Suns an outside the lottery pick/s, which honestly isn't worth it until you know that you have Ball/Fultz. Trading Bledsoe just to ensure you get Ball/Fultz isn't the best option IMO, because now you have Ball/Fultz but you gave up Bledsoe for an outside the lottery pick who most likely at best is a role player.

I think it's a bird in hand vs two in the bush scenario. Firstly, we are all assuming that Ball/Fultz will be better than Bledsoe. I think it's a fairly good assumption, but what happens when you trade Bledsoe and Ball Fultz AREN'T better than Bledsoe?

I'm in favor of trading Bledsoe but it has nothing to do with this upcoming draft for me. I think he's playing great and if his knees weren't an issue, I'd gladly keep him through his next contract.

But we don't have a deep pockets owner and we aren't a premium l destination so I just don't think we should have anything to do with his next contract. But that doesn't mean I want to give him away. I might have priced him a little lower to enable the tank movement but even then, I would have demanded a reasonable return.
 
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