COMMENTARY | Projecting an NBA player's ceiling is always hit or miss, but we're going to do our best as we look at the 2013-14 roster.
Can any of the Phoenix Suns make the Hall of Fame someday? Who's going to be a bench warmer?
ESPN.com has the Suns' roster at 18, although that number will be pared to 15 when the season starts. We'll categorize all 18 of those players based on what level they'll achieve from now until the end of their careers.
Hall of Fame
Out of respect for the men who work their butts off every day, we'll skip any snarky comments and just say that no 2013-14 Suns player projects to become a Hall of Fame inductee.
Bledsoe hasn't had the opportunity to be a regular starter in the NBA, which makes this prediction difficult. Still, his 2012-13 averages as a starter help solidify this projection. In 12 games as a starter, Bledsoe averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 2.5 steals per game. That's a complete player who, at just 23 years old, still has plenty of room to grow.
This group of players doesn't stick out for the 2013-14 season, but the potential is there. Dragic averaged 16.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.0 steals after the 2012-13 All-Star break. Morris put up a very respectable 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals during April of 2013. I've previously asserted that he could become a star. Goodwin showed flashes of brilliance in the Las Vegas Summer League and looks to be a player who, while remarkably raw, could become quite the scorer someday.
Marcin Gortat, Alex Len
Gortat has shown that he belongs as an NBA starter already. Yes, his numbers took a dip when Steve Nash left town, but he's still a solid producer that can be counted on for 11 points and eight rebounds each night. Len has yet to play a minute in an NBA uniform, but he has the kind of game that translates well to the center position. He has excellent size (7-1, 255 pounds) and his touch around the basket is solid. Once he develops and as long as he stays healthy, he'll find a starting job for most of his career.
Caron Butler, Channing Frye
Butler will start for the Suns in 2013-14, but, in reality, those days are behind him. He started 78 games for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012-13, but only averaged 24.1 minutes per game. In short bursts, Butler can be productive. Frye is a stretch four who could play the five as well, but he's not starter quality. With that said, he's a great fit in a system like the Suns employ, where the big men can run and stretch the floor. He's a 39-percent 3-point shooter for his career.
Michael Beasley, Shannon Brown, Gerald Green, Marcus Morris, Miles Plumlee, P.J. Tucker
The men on this list don't belong as starters or as the sixth man at this point. Beasley has a ton of offensive talent but can't stay out of trouble. Brown, Green and Morris are extremely inconsistent. Tucker is a fan-favorite for his hustle and energy, but he wouldn't see big minutes on most teams. Plumlee had a solid Summer League, but so did Jonny Flynn a few years back and that didn't exactly turn out well.
End of the Bench
Diante Garrett, Malcolm Lee, Kendall Marshall
Just enough to stay in the NBA but not enough to see significant minutes. If the Suns didn't feel obligated to play Marshall, they wouldn't. Garrett and Lee are both fringe players that could see time in the D-League. None of these players will do much on the stat sheet, but they're good enough to grab a roster spot and are very valuable in practice.
As a second-round pick in 2013, not much is expected out of Oriakhi. That's a good thing, because not much is likely to come from Oriakhi. For now, Oriakhi is being listed on the Limoges CSP Elite team in France.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded, HoopsHabit.com.Follow @DunlapNBA on Twitter!
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