The Phoenix Suns had the 10th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and selected Maryland C Jalen Smith on Wednesday night virtually from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The Suns finished last season with a 34-39 and were a perfect 8-0 in the Orlando bubble before being eliminated from playoff contention. The Suns hope Smith can help them reach the postseason in 2021.
The Suns sent Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr. Jalen Lecque, Ty Jerome, and a 2022 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul on Monday to give Devin Booker another All-Star to work with in the backcourt. This deal allowed Phoenix to retain the young core that helped it go undefeated in the bubble while adding veteran leadership. If CP3 can rally a Suns team that’s more talented than the OKC squad he led last year, they could assert themselves as a force in the Western Conference.
First-round pick analysis
This was a bit of a reach for the Suns, but it’s one to fill a need in the frontcourt. Of course, the Suns have Deandre Ayton as the center of the future, but behind him, there isn’t much depth. Smith is a big 6’10” center who can stretch the floor, which is perfect for the Suns and what should be a fast-paced offense. The Suns traded for Chris Paul and have Booker and Ayton. If they can work Smith in, possibly as a power forward at the next level, he would give the Suns another 3-point threat and somebody who can defend down low.
Smith was viewed more as a player who would go in the 20-25 range. He’s a great shot blocker and rebounder. Smith makes sense as a pick-and-roll partner with CP3 and Booker when Ayton isn’t on the floor. Smith is a fine prospect, but again, bit of a reach. He’ll potentially have some fantasy basketball value if the Suns opt not to bring in another big via free agency.