Prospect profile for Kansas Jayhawks' 6'9" Freshman Cliff Alexander. Highlighting his strengths, weaknesses and his potential fit with the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns 2014-15 season has not even started yet, but it is never too early to look at potential prospects for next year's draft. Especially, with the Suns having the Lakers first round pick along with their own. (The lakers pick is top 5 protected) The Suns have five players already at the guard position (not including Bogdan Bogdanovic), one guard/forward in Gerald Green, two small forwards, one combo forward in Marcus Morris, two power forwards, and three centers. The Morris twins will be restricted free agents next year and center Shavilk Randolph most likely won't be resigned, so expect the Suns to be looking to draft a power forward or center. Enter Cliff Alexander.
Cliff Alexander 6'9" 254 lb Kansas Freshman
Alexander's biggest strength is his athleticism, he runs up and down the floor with ease and has explosive hops, which lead to a lot of dunks. He boasts a 7'3" wingspan and a good frame at 254 lbs, which he uses to his full advantage bullying people down low and then dunking overtop of them. Alexander is very efficient in the paint and typically finishes strong with a dunk. He has good hands and is able to catch and finish alley-oops. Alexander is also a tremendous rebounder at both ends of the court using his wingspan and athleticism to grab rebounds above the rim. He works hard for position and has great timing on put-back dunks/shots. Alexander is one of the hardest workers on the court at all times, he has a great motor and it is a rarity to see him take a play off. Being 254 lbs he already has an NBA ready body and isn't afraid of contact, which he uses to his advantage. He has a good looking form on his jump shot and will occasionally step out and hit a mid-range shot. His consistency should improve the more he works on his shot. Defensively he uses his athletic ability to block shots consistently and powerfully, he has a natural instinct when timing his blocks. It's easy to see why he is a top ten prospect for the 2015 draft class.
Alexander's first weakness is his height disadvantage. He is only 6'9", which is considered under the average for a power forward, but his strength and wingspan should make up for his height. In an interview with DraftExpress, Alexander tells them he needs to work on his ball handling and consistency on his jump shot. He also needs to work on learning more post moves on the block and should establish a go-to move. His footwork on both offense and defense could use improvement too.
Fit With the Suns:
When is the last time the Suns had a post presence opposing teams didn't want to play? The answer is most likely Amar'e Stoudemire in 2009-10 and before Amar'e it would be Charles Barkley in 1996. The Suns could use a new all-star caliber big man to control the paint. There is still hope for Alex Len (Sir Lencelot) to come back from injury and put up a solid season, but until that happens I'm going to look past him. Markieff Morris is a good player but will be a restricted free agent next offseason and if he keeps up his play from this season, we might not be willing to pay him the type of money he will demand on the market. Anonthy Tolliver is not a longterm solution, so let's just forget about him. Alexander could join a already good Suns roster and improve it or replace Markieff with a more athletic forward. Alexander fits great with the Suns run and gun system and would give the Suns a good defensive presence to go alongside Len or Miles. He would also improve the Suns' poor rebounding. Worst case scenario Alexander ends up as a competent pick and roll player who rebounds well on both ends of the floor.
Click here to watch his high school senior year mix tape.
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