Friday, June 22, 2018

Suns Get Their Local Star, Could They have Done More?

The Phoenix Suns entered the 2018 draft with the grad prize their for the taking as for the first time in their history, they were drafting #1. The all around consensus was that the Suns were going to be selecting Deandre Ayton the local prodigy with that pick.

Suns fans are have to live Ayton no matter how much they wanted Luka Doncic or Trae Young. Passing on a player like Ayton would curse a teams franchise if he winds up in the Hall Of Fame.  If he's a bust, well at least we can say we made a safe pick.

For one, Doncic and Young both have low floors as well. Doncic has excelled at the European level but sometimes it doesn't translate to North America. Young is great, but defensively he is flawed.

The other three picks irritate me. Mikal Bridges is a good player but the log jam at the three and four spots are triggered again. More importantly, I'm not sure it was that much of an upgrade from Zhaire Smith the Texas Tech explosive sharp shooter to give away Miami's 2021 1st round pick.

With the Suns third pick of the night, they reached out all the way to France to pick Élie Okobo. This pick has me baffled as he becomes the sixth forward to be taken by the Suns since 2014. My pick would have been Jalen Brunson who was on Villanova's National Title winning team this April. Drafting a Point Guard with one of their first three picks was a must for me.

The last pick, is almost a whatever pick. I want to say I'm surprised it was another forward but I'm really not. George King will likely be a G League player next year so its really a pick for the future. Still, not going with a Point Guard was bothersome to me.

Let's predict the Depth Chart for opening night next October.

Eric BledsoeDevon BookerJosh JacksonMarquese ChrissDeandre Ayton 
Tyler UlisTroy DanielsTJ WarenDragan BenderAlex Len
Élie Okobo
Mikal Bridges
George King

Now, here's what my roster would have looked like if I was the GM after the Isaiah Thomas deal.

De’Aaron FoxDevon Booker Zhaire SmithMarquese Chriss
Deandre Ayton  
Jalen BrunsonBuddy HieldTJ WarenGeorge King Alex Len
For me, we have too many forwards with not enough playing time. The winners of the draft were Dallas, Charlotte and Philadelphia.

I give the Suns a C for not filling holes and not being creative enough with their four picks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It's Time For Benning to Shine

Well, here we go again. The Vancouver Canucks are picking Top 10 in the NHL Draft Friday night but for some reason, this time around it feels different.

For the first time since 2001, the Canucks won't have anyone bailing them out of jail. From 2001-2006, the West Coast Express line and from 2007 to 2018 it was the Sedin line.

Offensive talent such as Bo Horvat, Brock Boesser and Elias Pettersson give this team the hope that the fanbase has despretly prayed about for a long time now. That forward group has a supporting cast of Adam Gaudette, Jake Virtanen and Kole Lind among others.

The strong forward group has most fans and experts believing that the Canucks will be picking a Defenseman come Friday and fortunately, the Canucks will have a number of defenseman to choose from.

1Sweden Rasmus Dahlin (D)
2Canada Evan Bouchard (D)
3Sweden Adam Boqvist (D)
4  Canada Noah Dobson (D)
5United States Quinton Hughes (D)
6Sweden Adam Ginning (D)
7Sweden Filip Johansson (D)

The Canucks pick seventh, needless to say, that first one on that list won't be around much after the first pick. After that, D-Man two through five right now are tight. 

Theres a few forwards that if they fall down, I would have to consider taking them. However, building a D core is just as important as a forward core. 

This is the full list of Jim Benning's draft picks since he was hired in 2014:

2014 Draft[edit]

Rd #Pick #PlayerNatPosTeam (League)Reg GPPl GPNotes
16Jake Virtanen CanadaRWCalgary Hitmen (WHL)1380
124Jared McCann CanadaCSault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)690
236Thatcher Demko United StatesGBoston College (NCAA D1)10
366Nikita Tryamkin RussiaDAvtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL)790
5146Gustav Forsling SwedenDLinkopings HC (SHL)00
6156Kyle Pettit CanadaCErie Otters (OHL)00
7186Mackenze Stewart CanadaDPrince Albert Raiders (WHL)00

2015 Draft[edit]

Rd #Pick #PlayerNatPosTeam (League)Reg GPPl GPNotes
123Brock Boeser United StatesRWWaterloo Black Hawks (USHL)710
366Guillaume Brisebois CanadaDAcadie–Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)00
4114Dmitri Zhukenov RussiaCAvangard Omsk 2 (Russia Jr.)00
5144Carl Neill CanadaDSherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)00
5149Adam Gaudette United StatesCCedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)00
6174Lukas Jasek Czech RepublicRWHC Ocelari Trinec (Czech Extraliga)00
7210Tate Olson CanadaDPrince George Cougars (WHL)00

2016 Draft[edit]

Rd #Pick #PlayerNatPosTeam (League)Reg GPPl GPNotes
15Olli Juolevi FinlandDLondon Knights (OHL)00
364William Lockwood United StatesRWU.S. NTDP (USHL)00
5140Cole Candella CanadaDHamilton Bulldogs (OHL)00
6154Jakob Stukel CanadaLWCalgary Hitmen (WHL)00
7184Rodrigo Abols LatviaCPortland Winterhawks (WHL)00
7194Brett McKenzie CanadaC/LWNorth Bay Battalion (OHL)00

2017 Draft[edit]

Rd #Pick #PlayerNatPosTeam (League)Reg GPPl GPNotes
15Elias Pettersson SwedenCTimra IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)00
233Kole Lind CanadaRWKelowna Rockets (WHL)00
255Jonah Gadjovich CanadaLWOwen Sound Attack (OHL)00
364Michael DiPietro CanadaGWindsor Spitfires (OHL)00
495Jack Rathbone United StatesDHarvard University (NCAA)00
5135Kristoffer Gunnarsson SwedenDFrolunda HC (SHL)00
6181Petrus Palmu FinlandLW/RWOwen Sound Attack (OHL)00
7188Matthew Brassard CanadaDOshawa Generals (OHL)00
It's been four drafts. His players are slowly coming up. I'm glad Benning is our GM. Picking in the Top 10 next year is likely unavoidable but by 2020, Vancouver should be at least a 500. hockey team.