Thursday , Jun , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Phoenix Suns 2006 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns lost in the Western Conference finals
for the second straight year, as they were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks
in six games. In the 2005 conference finals, San Antonio knocked out the Suns
in five contests.

Phoenix enjoed its succes without star forward Amare Stoudemire, who tried to
comeback from a left knee injury but was limited to just three games. The team
is hopeful that the former All-Star can recover and return 100 percent
healthy.

Guard Steve Nash won his second straight MVP. The Santa Clara product
averaged 18.8 points and a league-best 10.5 assists, while All-Star forward
Shawn Marion led the Suns in scoring (21.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.8 rpg).
Nash and Marion led Phoenix to an excellent season and make the Suns one of
the elite teams in the NBA.

Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Tim Thomas, who signed with the
team after being released by Chicago during the season, had excellent
playoffs. Thomas is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and his
value is extremely high after his stellar performance during the postseason.

Barbosa, Bell and Diaw all stepped up big time in the postseason. The
versatile Diaw has a complete game and can play all five positions, while
Barbosa showed his skill and quickness in the playoffs and Bell is solid
defender who can also hit the outside jumper.

The Suns have a pair of first-round picks (21st, 27th). They will try and add
some size and rebounding to their roster. Phoenix’ roster is made up of
shooters who can play alongside Nash. This organization has a plan and will
continue to follow it on draft night.

Key Player(s): Leandro Barbosa (Guard), Raja Bell (Guard), Boris Diaw
(Guard), Shawn Marion (Forward), Steve Nash (Guard), Amare Stoudemire
(Center/Forward), Kurt Thomas (Center/Forward), Tim Thomas (Forward).

Team Needs: Rebounding and size down low.

Draft picks: 1st round (21st overall), 1st round (27th overall).

PHO