Suns strengthen frontcourt, include Jalen Smith with No. 10 choice
PHOENIX (AP) – The Phoenix Suns picked forward Jalen Smith with the No. 10 general choice in the NBA draft, deciding for a young frontcourt player to build around their newly formed All-Star backcourt duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The 20-year-old Smith played two seasons at Maryland and averaged 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per video game last season. His selection was a little bit of a surprise thinking about potential customers like guard Tyrese Haliburton were still on the board.
But Smith does have an intriguing mix of defense, rebounding and shooting. At 6-foot-10, he was the only Department I gamer to have 60 blocks and 30 3-pointers last season and was a third-team AP All-American.
Phoenix has actually currently made a great deal of noise this offseason, adding the 35-year-old Paul in a blockbuster trade with Oklahoma City on Monday. The Suns got the 10-time All-Star and forward Abdel Nader, while sending Kelly Oubre Jr., Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a protected 2022 first-round pick back to the Thunder.
It was a strong relocation for the Suns, who are trying to make the playoffs for the very first time because 2010. They have actually got substantial momentum after going 8-0 to finish the routine season in the NBA’s reboot bubble in Florida, which left them simply shy of a playoff berth.
The Suns now have 3 prominent players in Paul, Booker and forward Deandre Ayton, who was the No. 1 overall choice in the 2018 draft. They also have young function gamers like guard Cameron Johnson and forward Mikal Bridges, who both can play numerous positions.
FILE – In this Dec. 7, 2019, file image, Maryland forward Jalen Smith dribbles up court against Illinois during the second half of an NCAA college basketball video game in College Park, Md. Smith was chosen by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA draft Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File).
Smith might play a supporting function for Ayton, who averaged 18.2 points and 11.5 rebounds last season.
Booker has actually grown into one of the league’s best young scorers in Phoenix. The 24-year-old averaged 26.6 points per video game last season and made his very first All-Star appearance.
Paul is owed about $41 million in the upcoming season and has a player option for $44 million in 2021-22, so it’s crucial the Suns find some younger, affordable skill to complete the lineup.
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