Wednesday , Jun , 22 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Phoenix Suns 2005 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – Shawn Marion, league MVP Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire
makeup the most exciting trio in the NBA, and the Phoenix Suns are lucky to
have the three All-Stars on their roster.

The Suns enjoyed one of their best season’s in franchise history in the
2004-05 campaign. They tied the franchise record for most wins in a season, as
they finished an NBA-best 62-20. Phoenix made it to the Western Conference
finals for the first time since 1992-93, but was eliminated in five games by
San Antonio.

Marion, Nash and Stoudemire, who averaged a team-best 26.0 points and 8.3
rebounds, team up with Joe Johnson, who will be a restricted free agent, and
Quentin Richardson to form the most explosive starting five in the league.
Phoenix also has a solid reserve in veteran Jim Jackson, who can play shooting
guard or small forward.

Nash, who averaged 15.5 points in 75 games this season, led the league in
assists (11.5 apg), while Marion registered 19.4 points and a team-best 11.3
boards per game. Phoenix will do its best to re-sign Johnson, who netted 17.1
points per contest and is the club’s best perimeter defender.

Depth is the only thing that the Suns are missing. Leandrinho Barbosa is
Nash’s backup and Steven Hunter can spell Stoudemire when he needs a break.
However, the Suns found out against the Spurs in the playoffs that they need
more production from their bench.

Phoenix owns the 21st overall pick, but it probably won’t get a player that
can make an immediate impact. The Suns will try and select a player who can
play their up-tempo style and hopefully give them some kind of productive
minutes. Louisville’s Francisco Garcia would fit right in with Phoenix.

Key Player(s): Leandrinho Barbosa (Guard), Steven Hunter (Center), Jim Jackson
(Guard), Joe Johnson (Guard), Shawn Marion (Forward), Steve Nash (Guard),
Quentin Richardson (Guard), Amare Stoudemire (Forward).

Team Needs: Depth.

Draft picks: 1st round (21st overall), 2nd round (57th overall).

PHO