The Phoenix Suns select D'Angelo Russell with the 3rd pick of the 2015 SB Nation Mock Draft.
From Bright Side of the Sun: Russell fits the Suns favorite mold of combo guard who can score at will but prefers to play point guard. He will immediately start next to Brandon Knight to continue bringing the two-point system to the court every night, and maybe even make an All-Star team in the near future.
Backing them up will be Darren Collison, while Jason Thompson brings some length and rebounding to the front court.
Taylor: This pick makes that trade look even better for Phoenix. They can now develop Russell while they have Collison, having the two share time at the point guard position, but also having Russell spend some time at the two. Russell is a big point guard at 6'5", and he should be able to fit into Phoenix's system. It also allows them to let Brandon Knight walk and save them a good chunk of cap space.
Kevin: Size, size, size! That is the thing that jumps out at you first with Russell. He’s also freakishly athletic. I spent a lot of time watching him play against Maryland with Ohio State. He’s a killer, he knows he’s a killer and he loves to slash.
His size allows him to absorb contact in the lane against bigger defenders and finish. He’s a decent outside shooter and that will continue to get better with time. He’s going to be amazing in Jeff Hornacek’s offense. He’s also athletic enough to become a lockdown defender in the league. With guys like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and numerous other outstanding point guards in the West he’s going to get an education almost on a nightly basis.
Lucas: Not often are draft day trades instantly considered a win-win, or in this case a win-win-win, but at least on paper this seems to be the case. Though the last two seasons have certainly been exciting for the Phoenix Suns, they have failed to make the playoffs, stalling out in back to back years, as they have lacked a star. They are now able to rebuild their team with Russell, without tearing down the entire infrastructure of the team. Russell and Knight should create a nice backcourt, as Russell can play either guard position. Russell is a downgrade in terms of athleticism when compared to Bledsoe, and will need to work on his defensive ability, but he has a higher potential to become a superstar than Bledsoe, despite Bledsoe’s superior athleticism, mainly because of Russell’s ability to score the ball. In Bledsoe, the Kings get what they have wanted since Vivek bought the team in 2013, which is a star point guard. Bledsoe burst onto the radar of NBA fans two years ago, thriving in Jeff Hornacek’s fast paced offense. The pairing of Bledsoe with George karl should certainly be entertaining to watch, and I expect Bledsoe to thrive, especially since he will able to play off of uber talented big man, Demarcus Cousins. The Sixers also made out well in this trade, as they were never married to their third pick, and were hoping of being able to snag three top five picks heading into the draft. Unfortunately for them, the ping pong balls did not bounce in their favor, as they only got one top five pick. This trade allows them to grab two lottery picks, as they continue their quest for a superstar.
Dontae: Great pick for the Suns. Now the trade that brought the Suns into this spot is questionable. Anytime you trade a proven, near-All-Star guard, essentially, for a rookie (I don't believe in Darren Collison and Jason Thompson as anymore than a rich-yacht's flotsam - they look like good pieces, but in reality they're a wreck), it’s always a risk. D'Angelo Russell next to Brandon Knight gives them a multi-faceted backcourt with great size, good shooting, and solid passing, so that is a plus. Their defense though? Meh, at best.
Russell has a lot to learn on that end, but I’ve fallen for the James Harden, poor man’s Stephen Curry in his game. He’ll take some time to adjust, but he’ll be a star in due time. He doesn’t get enough credit for his vision as a guard, he sees passes that are only seen through the eyes of a true point guard. His ability to slash will work well off the ball with Knight, and his defense will be less of an issue guarding the less intimidating group of two-guards in the NBA.