ESPN continued its tradition of a “Grade A” NBA mock draft, and with it, continued the tradition of the Phoenix Suns acquiring a guard out of Kentucky.
In the exercise by Jonathan Givony, Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz, the trio makes picks through the lens of who they think each team should take, thus earning a grade of “A” on each selection.
The Suns took Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey 10th overall, and Schmitz provided his reasoning.
The Suns are in dire need of another shot-creator alongside Devin Booker, which opens the door for Maxey, who could become the next great under-drafted Kentucky guard. Maxey is a tough, long-armed defender with deep range and excellent touch in the paint. He averaged 19.0 points per game last season against top-25 teams, bringing confidence and a joyous nature to the floor that fits perfectly with what Monty Williams is building.
As Schmitz hit on at the end, some of the biggest appeal in Maxey is the person itself.
The 20-year-old is one of the highest regarded prospects in the class when it comes to winning the interview process, and his personality would certainly interest Williams and general manager James Jones. It comes across in the way he plays, too.
Maxey’s shot-making ability is touted but he wasn’t efficient in college, shooting 42.7% from the field and only 29.2% at three-point range. His defensive upside and length (6-foot-8 wingspan) are a big part of his potential.
The Suns taking Maxey 10th, though, might be less about Maxey and who the Suns would be passing up.
Florida State’s Devin Vassell has clear 3-and-D traits, his college teammate Patrick Williams has a very high ceiling at forward and, for a handful of experts, Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. is the best point guard available in this scenario. That’s also not even hitting on some other wings, like Vanderbilt sharpshooter Aaron Nesmith or the smart and skilled Saddiq Bey out of Villanova.
This is to say that while the Suns are in a good spot of the draft when it comes to having a variety of options to choose from, they still have to pick the right one.