Suns Notes: Morant, Oubre, Warren, Bender

Suns owner Robert Sarver and many of the team’s front office executives attended the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links).

That’s noteworthy because they were taking a closer look at Murray State sophomore guard Ja Morant. Interim GM James Jones, assistant GM Trevor Buckstein, director of player personnel Bubba Burrage and director of basketball analytics Jake Loos were also in attendance.

Phoenix currently has the second-worst record in the league behind only the Knicks. Morant is ranked third on ESPN’s Top 100 prospect list and first among point guards, a position of major need for the Suns. He scored 36 points against Belmont in the OVC title game to carry the Racers into the NCAA Tournament.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. reached his starter criteria and is eligible for a $4.9MM qualifying offer, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. He met the criteria by averaging 2,000 minutes during the course of the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. His cap hold of $9.6MM in the offseason remains the same, Marks adds. Oubre is averaging 16.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 28.8 MPG over 36 games since he was acquired from Washington.
  • It might be time for the Suns to shut down T.J. Warren, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Warren missed his 19th consecutive game on Sunday due to right ankle soreness. The injury can be more accurately characterized as a bone bruise, Rankin notes. Coach Igor Kokoskov indicated no decision had been made on Warren’s season status. “I don’t have that answer,” he said. “My approach is whoever is available to play, I’m going to try to use and incorporate in the game plan and the rotation and try to see if he can help us win games.”
  • Power forward Dragan Bender has seen his minutes uptick in Warren’s absence, Rankin points out in the same piece. Bender has averaged 16.0 MPG in five March games, though he has posted a modest stat line of 3.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG. Bender, the fourth pick of the 2016 draft, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after the club declined his fourth-year option prior to the start of the season.
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19 thoughts on “Suns Notes: Morant, Oubre, Warren, Bender

  1. hiflew

    Dragan Bender is going to go down with Anthony Bennett, Thomas Robinson and Nicholas Tsivikilitzitititi (sp?) as one of the worst top 5 picks ever. The Suns had 2 top 7 picks and blew them both.

    • MiserablePadreFan

      And with the first pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select.. a Small Forward!

    • hiflew

      The Suns are one of the few teams that should pick Ja ahead of Zion. Drafting for need is a mistake if you really reach and take the #10 prospect at #1. But drafting for need by taking the 2nd or 3rd best prospect #1 is better than having to shuffle your existing parts to find a PG.

      • SuperSinker

        I’m curious how Zion’s game will transition to the NBA. Reminds me of a more athletic Julius Randle

      • x%sure

        TJ Warren as PF is pretty hopeful. Ayton needs more help inside due to slow reactions; PHX is thin on bigs.
        They also have 3 new PGs to work in/ evaluate. I would put them on the ZionW list.

  2. ottomatic

    lol why is Sarver scouting Morant himself in person? doesn’t that just speak more to his overall meddling in the Suns basketball operations? I guarantee most owners would not be there scouting a prospect like Morant in person. some things never change I guess.

  3. Is it just me but I feel Morant is been a bit over hyped, I still take the Duke trio & Bol Bol ahead of him. Phoenix has a bright future ahead if they do things right, 2 stars like Booker & Ayton, good players like JJ, TJ Warren, kOJ, Bridges, if they pick well… is looking real good for them.

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