Zach Collins, from Gonzaga, discusses his performance in the Suns’ pre-draft workout, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Phoenix Suns Assistant GM Pat Connelly describes Zach Collins’ pre-draft workout, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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The Cleveland Cavaliers needed an all-time performance to beat the Golden State Warriors and force a Game 5.
USA TODAY Sports
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Oregon’s Jordan Bell talks about his pre-draft workout with the Phoenix Suns, June 9, 2017. Andrew Vailliencourt/azcentral sports
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Phoenix Suns Assistant GM Pat Connelly talks about his impressions of Jordan Bell from the pre-draft workouts, June 9, 2017. Andrew Vailliencourt/azcentral sports
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Phoenix Suns prospects do a three-minute run during a pre-NBA draft workout, with Oregon’s Jordan Bell leading the way, June 9, 2017. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Tim Kempton Jr., from Lehigh University, talks about his Phoenix Suns pre-draft workout, June 9, 2017. Scott Bordow/azcentral sports
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Andrew White III talks about his pre-draft workout with the Suns, June 9, 2017. Andrew Vailliencourt/azcentral sports
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Suns Assistant GM Pat Connelly discusses Tim Kempton Jr. and Andrew White III during a pre-draft workout, June 9, 2017. Andrew Vailliencourt/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Scott Bordow discuss the upcoming NBA draft and the drama surrounding the Lakers’ pick. Could they pass on Lonzo Ball?
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James and the shaky status of Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin.
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Oregon’s Dillon Brooks discusses working out for the Phoenix Suns on June 7, 2017.
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Former Paradise Valley star Paul Watson talks about working out for the Phoenix Suns on June 7, 2017.
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Pat Connelly discusses the Phoenix Suns’ workout on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.
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Kentucky’s Malik Monk discusses his fit with the Suns after his workout on June 6, 2017.
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Pat Connelly discusses Malik Monk’s shooting performance at the Kentucky guard’s workout on June 6, 2017.
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Watch Kentucky’s Malik Monk runs the -3 minute drill at the end of his workout with the Suns on June 6, 2017.
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Semi Ojeleye discusses the Phoenix Suns pre-draft workout on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at Taking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Luke Kornet discusses the Phoenix Suns’ workout on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at Taking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Kennedy Meeks discusses the Phoenix Suns’ workout on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at Taking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Kobi Simmons, a guard from Arizona, talks during the Phoenix Suns pre-draft workout on Monday, May 29, 2017 at Taking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Josh Hart, a guard from Villanova, talks about being part of the Phoenix Suns pre-draft workout on Monday, May 29, 2017 at Taking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller discuss Lonzo Ball skipping a Celtics workout and a dark-horse pick for the Suns at No. 4.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and JJ Hensley discuss the Suns draft as well as ‘The Bartender,’ the key reliever for the Diamondbacks.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller discuss the NBA lottery and the ASU football quarterback situation.
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azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Dan Bickley discuss Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, in which the Suns fell to the No. 4 overall pick, at Talking Stick Resort Arena. David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports
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Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough discusses the Suns earning the No. 4 overall selection in next month’s draft at the team’s NBA draft lottery party at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday. David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley talk NBA lottery picks and a team that might be eyeing the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke.
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With a top-five pick and five players with star potential, the Suns are in a good place. But how has each selection shown success?
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Suns star guard Devin Booker went to Navarrete Elementary School to surprise student Noah Smith with a trip to the NBA draft lottery in New York City on Friday. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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LaVar Ball won’t affect whether the Lakers select his son Lonzo in the upcoming NBA draft, Lakers president Magic Johnson told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
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Lonzo Ball’s signature shoes garnered a lot of attention when they were first released. But the sales numbers suggest the sneakers aren’t selling as well as the Big Baller Brand would like.
USA TODAY Sports
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As the Suns look to rebuild through the NBA draft, they are looking to Golden State and Oklahoma City as examples of how to do it right.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller discuss how Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas has become one of the best players in the NBA and who the Suns want in the NBA draft.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley talk about the possibility of the NBA draft lottery is rigged and an updated on Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington on Friday. Diana Payan/azcentral
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the Rockets’ explosion against the Spurs and a possible pitching implosion for the Diamondbacks.
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The Suns are guaranteed to have a Top 5 NBA draft pick. Here are some players they could take.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Kevin Durant and the Warriors as well as Zack Greinke’s start against the Padres.
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Several former Phoenix Suns players are in the NBA playoffs.
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Take a look at the Suns players that have guaranteed contracts for next season.
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Suns coach Earl Watson takes questions from the press at an end-of-season gathering at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Suns guard Devin Booker discusses the 2016-17 season and how his team can improve throughout the offseason on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Doug Haller sums up interviews with Phoenix Suns management and players at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. || Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Breaking down the top five moments in Suns guard Devin Booker’s season.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley disagree on the NBA MVP and share their thoughts on the D-Backs’ hot start.
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Suns guard Devin Booker discusses his 70-point game against the Boston Celtics.
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Gonzaga’s Zach Collins talks Suns workout
Suns Assistant GM Pat Connelly describes Zach Collins’ workout
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Zach Collins started in the post, created space from a defender and then darted to the left wing. There, he caught a pass and launched a 3-pointer.
“That’s off,” the Gonzaga big man said, an accurate assessment as the ball fell short, bouncing off the front of the rim.
Collins, who had an individual workout for the Suns on Tuesday, is an example of how quickly things change in today’s basketball universe. Just more than two months ago, he was 18 miles down the road, coming off the bench for Gonzaga in the national championship game. It’s not a fond memory.
Despite starring in Gonzaga’s national semifinals win over South Carolina, the 6-11 freshman battled foul trouble against North Carolina in the final, playing only 14 minutes in a 71-65 loss. After the Phoenix workout, Collins was asked if he realized at the time that the championship would be his last time wearing the Gonzaga uniform.
“I had no idea,” he said. “I knew it was a possibility, but at the time that wasn’t in my head. What was in my head is that we lost. And you just go everything in your head that you could’ve done better to win.”
It’s not like Collins came from nowhere. In high school, he was a McDonald’s All-American with scholarship offers from schools such as Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. At the same time, he played behind Przemek Karnowski most of his freshman season, coming off the bench in every game, averaging just 17.2 minutes.
Despite the lack of playing time, Collins’ potential was hard to ignore. With a soft shooting touch around the basket, he shot 67.2 percent from 2-point range, but what stood out most was his motor. There’s nothing finesse about Collins. Despite ranking seventh in minutes, he attempted 148 free throws, second-most on the team. According to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats, Collins drew an estimated 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes, which ranked 48th nationally.
All of these skills were on display in Gonzaga’s Final Four win over South Carolina. After a second-half South Carolina charge, Collins helped Gonzaga pull away with his intensity on both ends. He finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. Coincidentally, he also hit the biggest shot of the game – and probably the ugliest – a second-half 3-pointer that hit the back of the rim and rolled in.
“If I didn’t play well in the tournament, who knows if I’d be here right now,” said Collins, the first one-and-done player in Gonzaga history.
Although the Suns likely won’t target Collins with their No. 4 pick, the big man would be an option if they decide to trade down in the June 22 draft. Most experts have Collins going off the board somewhere between 10 and 15. To start, he might spend most of his time at power forward but eventually teams expect him to play center as well.
“He’s one of those intriguing bigs (who) can stretch the floor but he also has a certain amount of toughness where if you put him around the rim he’s really effective,” Phoenix Assistant General Manager Pat Connelly said. “He didn’t show his 3 ball as much at Gonzaga, but he was really effective and his stroke from NBA 3 looks pretty comfortable.”
Phoenix was Collins’ fourth workout. He also has worked out for Orlando, Sacramento and Minnesota. Upon leaving Phoenix, he said he has a workout scheduled for Dallas on Thursday and he’ll be in Los Angeles on Monday.
“I know the Suns like skilled players at every position, not just the guard position,” Collins said. “I think I can fit here well, especially with their play style. They’re tough guys. They like to get up and down. They’re really well-coached. I think I’d fit well in that system.”
In addition to Collins, the Suns recently worked out Duke small forward Jayson Tatum and met with Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac. Both players are candidates for their No. 4 slot. Connelly’s impressions:
On Isaac: “He’s a good player. He’s long, he’s skilled. He’s multidimensional. He’s a really good kid. The Florida State guys did a good job with him. He’s another guy that can kind of really mix it up and doesn’t have really one specific skill that you can kind of say he relies on. He can do a whole of things really well.”
On Tatum: “He’s really skilled. He’s a really good shooter. As he came back from his (foot) injury at Duke, he showed he was one of the better players in the nation down the stretch. The whole season he played really well, but he really kind of found his feet later in the season. Really skilled. Good size and he can do a bunch of different things.”