Arizona Sports’ 2019 Phoenix Suns NBA Mock Draft Tracker

Well, Zion Williamson isn’t coming to Phoenix.

Neither is Ja Morant.

But the Phoenix Suns will have options with their sixth pick — a draft order that was determined at the NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago on May 14.

In this space, we’ll keep you updated with all the latest projections on what the Suns could do with that selection leading up to the NBA Draft on June 20.

Date Outlet Author Mock Draft Suns’ pick at #6
May 16 The Ringer Danny Chau and Justin Verrier 2019 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 and Lottery Reactions Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 16 NBA.com Sam Smith SAM SMITH’S 2019 POST-LOTTERY NBA MOCK DRAFT Coby White, PG, North Carolina
May 16 Forbes Tommy Beer Post-Lottery 2019 NBA Mock Draft: Pelicans Win The Zion Sweepstakes Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 15 Arizona Sports Kellan Olson Empire of the Suns post-lottery NBA Mock Draft: Suns fall to 6 Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 15 CBS Sports Gary Parrish NBA Mock Draft 2019: Lottery lets Pelicans take Zion Williamson at No. 1, Grizzlies get Ja Morant at No. 2 Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 15 Los Angeles Times Dan Woike NBA mock draft: A look at the players that lottery teams will select Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 15 The Big Lead Ryan Phillips 2019 NBA Mock Draft: Zion Williamson To The Pelicans, Ja Morant Lands With The Grizzlies Jarrett Culver, Wing, Texas Tech
May 15 NBADraft.net Staff 2019 Mock Draft Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 ESPN Jonathan Givony NBA mock draft: What will the lottery winners do now? Jarrett Culver, Wing, Texas Tech
May 14 SI.com/The Crossover Jeremy Woo 2019 NBA Mock Draft 7.0: Projecting All 60 Picks After Pelicans Win Zion Sweepstakes Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 The Athletic Sam Vecenie Vecenie: 2019 NBA Mock Draft, 4.0 — Draft order set, post-lottery edition Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 The Ringer Staff The Ringer NBA Mock Draft Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 New York Post Brian Lewis NBA mock draft: How it will line up after Zion Williamson Jarrett Culver, Wing, Texas Tech
May 14 Chicago Sun-Times Joe Cowley Joe Cowley’s NBA mock draft has the Bulls taking Duke forward Cam Reddish Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 NBC Sports James Ham NBA mock draft 2019: Projected picks after lottery order is finalized Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 Bleacher Report Jonathan Wasserman 2019 NBA Mock Draft, Post-Draft Lottery Edition Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
May 14 NBC Sports Boston A. Sherrod Blakely A. Sherrod Blakely’s NBA Mock Draft 3.0 Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson gives statement on 6-game PED suspension

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Patrick Peterson didn’t take long to break his silence.

On the same day it was announced the Arizona Cardinal cornerback would be suspended six games for a PED violation, Peterson made a statement at his welcome party before the eight-time Pro Bowler’s charity golf tournament Thursday night in Scottsdale.

“Definitely, definitely sorry for what broke out today,” he said. “For the most part, I think you guys understand my character and also understand my commitment on and off the field and also to my teammates and also to the Arizona Cardinals organization.

“That’s why this is very, very hard for me because I’ve obviously never been in this situation and never wanted to have my name attached to anything like this. I’m looking to move forward and put this behind me.”

Peterson said that he had known about the suspension and the plan was for the news to be released next week. For the cornerback, the timing of the announcement couldn’t have come at a more “horrible” time.

“Deeply disappointed that it had to come out today, but it did, and I’m just happy that now I can put it behind me,” Peterson said.

“I knew about it for a months so I’m just happy — not happy but relieved — that it’s out and … I can move forward. It’s deeply disappointing that I’m obviously attached to something like this but now I can put it behind and just looking forward to coming back and facing the New York Giants.”

When asked if he will be at OTAs on Monday, Peterson responded that he “has to be a father,” but would still do his “due diligence” to make sure he’s in shape for the upcoming mandatory mini-camp in June.

Peterson said his “relationship is great” with the Cardinals and that he has spoken with Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. He also spoke on his recent social media “scrubbing” that took place recently.

“The relationship’s good, I knew [the media] speculated me erasing pictures, I had a lot going on and now I want to have a new look,” Peterson said. “I want to put up a lot more fashion, the pictures are up there right now on Instagram to definitely promote life after football.

“But for the most part, our relationship is great … and I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Peterson did not participate in the team’s late-April voluntary mini-camp. John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station reported at the time that Peterson was upset with the organization.

The cornerback will be available to participate in all offseason practices and preseason practices and games. He will, however, have to sit out in the regular season until Oct. 14, after a Week 6 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

“Patrick recognizes how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization as well as our fans,” the Cardinals said in a team statement. “As we all do, he understands that regardless of intent he is ultimately responsible for everything he puts in his body. Our coaching staff and our players are now aware that we will have to play the first six games without Patrick and they understand they have to rise to the challenge that it presents.”

Peterson has already appealed and decided to drop it, and he will lose $3,882,352 in wages, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Last season, Peterson requested a trade before the midseason deadline but later backed off that stance, affirming his commitment to the Cardinals this offseason.

Suns plan to introduce new head coach Monty Williams Tuesday

The Phoenix Suns plan to introduce new head coach Monty Williams on Tuesday, per 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.

Williams was hired by the team on May 3, replacing the fired Igor Kokoskov. Kokoskov posted a record of 19-63 in his lone season as the Suns’ head coach.

Williams has five years of head coaching experience with New Orleans. He went 173-221 (.439) from 2010-15, making the playoffs twice and losing in the first round both times.

While there, Williams worked under new Suns senior vice president of basketball operations Jeff Bower and was hired to replace Bower, who filled in as head coach in 2009-10.

Williams stepped away from coaching after the 2015-16 season when he was the associate head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He returned this past season as an assistant head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Prior, Williams was with the Blazers from 2005-10 as an assistant, wherein 2007-08 he coached Suns general manager James Jones.

Williams becomes the 20th Suns head coach in franchise history and the fifth in seven seasons.

Cardinals should not give up on suspended Patrick Peterson

We cheer for athletes.  We believe in people.  I’m not bailing on Patrick Peterson.

And you?

At the moment, the Cardinals and their star cornerback are in a rough patch of marriage. The arguments are more frequent. Each must be wondering if the other side is worth the hassle.

Peterson has been suspended by the NFL for six games.  The harsh penalty reflects a secondary circumstance, such as masking a banned substance, making Peterson’s bad decision even worse.

The suspension comes after a 2018 season when Peterson demanded a trade on the watch of a rookie head coach, undermining Steve Wilks beyond repair.

Put these events together, and Peterson is running low on blind faith in the Valley. His actions have once again distracted a team from its newborn mission.  There are questions of his captaincy and if he’s truly fit to wear the vaunted letter. Or whether the Cardinals should trade him now or wait until his value is re-established.

Nonsense.

Patrick Peterson is a great player. He cared enough about Arizona fans to deliver a mea culpa on the 16th hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  And to fairly evaluate the current situation, you must start by eliminating the previous skirmish from all conversation.

After all, he apologized for that. We accepted. And in fairness to Peterson, things were really that hopeless under the leadership of Wilks, a man so narrow and bland that he would’ve fined Kyler Murray for wearing gym shoes with a pink suit, the outfit he debuted at the NFL draft.

So that limits the story to Peterson, PEDs and what the Cardinals are going to do about their disgruntled cornerback. And let’s start here:

The suspension created a terribly embarrassing situation for Peterson on Thursday, as his foundation’s golf tournament and fund-raising event in the Valley began the same day his penalty was disclosed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and confirmed by the team hours later. It’s hard to rally the community around an athlete who was sacked with a six-game, league-mandated suspension.

Peterson knew a suspension was coming, according to a source. His explanation is tied to his relationship with Type 2 diabetes, a condition that made him feel extremely sluggish and slow in 2015. The condition made headlines. You can look it up.

Peterson allegedly began feeling the same way in recent months. He unknowingly took supplements that included a banned substance, realizing his error after it was too late. He asked the team for a big favor. And at the very least, he asked the Cardinals to sit on the news until after his fundraising event, thereby safeguarding his charitable interests.

Peterson’s current level of unhappiness with the team was surely fueled by the harmful timing of his suspension, with great suspicion of where the leak occurred.

Clearly, the Cardinals have no motive to throw fuel on a growing fire, and would never drop a dime on Peterson in this manner. Not if they desire a long-term relationship with their star defender. But Peterson already felt betrayed by the organization and any paranoia must be expected.

According to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, Peterson grew angry at the Cardinals when they rejected his request for a restructured contract prior to the impending suspension, thereby protecting him from NFL-sanctioned financial losses that will exceed $4.5 million with missed bonus incentives.

In effect, they didn’t let Peterson game the system. And in the NFL, where most contracts aren’t guaranteed and physical damage is profoundly inevitable, the quickest way to lose a player’s heart is to get inside his wallet.

Peterson is deeply offended by the Cardinals’ hardline stance, for not fighting for his rights or mitigating his losses through loopholes. But this doesn’t have to be the end.

Von Miller served a six-game suspension and is still beloved in Denver. Julian Edelman is still revered in New England despite his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. This isn’t like Barry Bonds destroying baseball’s record book.  PEDs aren’t a death sentence in football, and this doesn’t have to spell divorce for Peterson and the Cardinals.

After all, you can’t replace Peterson on the football field. You can’t take away Larry Fitzgerald’s best golfing buddy.  And you don’t give up on good people, especially when they do dumb things.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@bonneville.com.  Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke meets with Suns at NBA Draft Combine

Gonzaga big Brandon Clarke told The Athletic’s Gina Mizell he interviewed with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.

As a 22-year-old junior for the Bulldogs, Clarke averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.

Clarke, who went to high school in Phoenix at Desert Vista, was First Team All-WAC and helped lead Gonzaga to the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In that March run, Clarke had a Gonzaga-record 36 points against Baylor in the second round.

The Suns pick 6th in the 2019 NBA Draft and Clarke is ranked by ESPN as the No. 12 prospect.

Known for his athleticism, Clarke thrived in the athletic testing portion of the combine. His 40.5-inch max vertical, 34-inch standing vertical, 10.61-second lane agility score and 3.54-second shuttle run were the best scores among power forwards and centers who participated in the testing.

While Clarke didn’t showcase a functioning 3-point jump shot at the college level, the belief is that his defensive versatility and elite finishing around the rim is enough to succeed as an NBA big man. Clarke will need his athleticism to overcome being undersized. He measured in at 6-foot-8 and a wingspan of just over 6-foot-8 won’t help make up for his lack of height. He weighed in at 207 pounds.

In the big department, the roster is awfully shallow for the Suns beyond last year’s No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. Center Richaun Holmes and power forward Dragan Bender are unrestricted free agents. Small forward T.J. Warren has spent time playing power forward, as has restricted free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.

The 5: Ramifications of the Patrick Peterson PED suspension

Patrick Peterson is expected to miss the first six games of 2019 after violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, but this isn’t just about the Arizona Cardinals losing their best player to suspension.

It’s another web woven into the fabric of a complex team facing unique circumstances on and off the field following a 3-13 season.

Arizona ushers in first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a criticized hire, with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The drafting of Murray pushed out former franchise face Josh Rosen after he struggled during his rookie season.

And now this.

Peterson, according to multiple sources of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, was upset that the Cardinals could or would not restructure his contract to save him money, knowing full well the suspension was upcoming. That saga comes just months after Peterson requested a trade before the 2018 deadline, backed off that stance and reaffirmed his commitment to Arizona.

There are ramifications to all this.

Kicking off the Kingsbury era at 100%

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

No doubt Arizona will be hurt on the field without arguably their best player to begin Kingsbury’s tenure as Cardinals head coach.

Peterson was the Cardinals’ highest-graded player in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. His overall grade and coverage grades were both second-highest in his career, unsurprising considering he’s 28 years old. Peterson will be 29 by the time he is eligible to return to the field on Oct. 20 for a Week 7 game at the New York Giants.

In 2018, Peterson tallied 54 tackles with five passes defensed and two picks. He’s received a decreasing rate of targets in four consecutive seasons.

Then consider the competition. He’ll miss games against four receivers graded by PFF above 80.0 on their scale: Detroit’s Kenny Golladay, Seattle’s Tyler Lockett, Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and Atlanta’s Julio Jones.

Legacy

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After Peterson backed off his midseason trade demand last year, he said he wanted to follow in Larry Fitzgerald’s footsteps as the face of the franchise.

How much do Cardinals fans want to stand behind Peterson now? He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler since being drafted by Arizona in 2011, but his actions dating back to before the 2018 trade deadline, which have been widely publicized, might be tainting his reputation.

Adding a PED suspension to it doesn’t help, and it’s even more concerning that he was dinged for six games. Standard NFL protocol usually calls for a four-game suspension for first-time offenders, which Peterson is. There is one theory that could suggest why Peterson earned six games instead of four.

“First of all, I do not know the details of Patrick Peterson’s suspension,” said ESPN’s Dan Graziano while joining Bickley & Marotta Thursday. “If you’re a first-time offender, positive test for a masking agent, you get two games. Positive test for a drug, and anabolic agent or stimulant, is four. If you test positive for both of those things, it’s six.

“That’s one potential reason that a suspension could be six for a first-time offender.”

Oh, and also hurting his legacy is this: Peterson has been as consistent on the field as he’s been consistently on the field. He’s not missed one of his 128 regular season games or three playoff appearances.

Peterson will miss his first game Sept. 8 when Arizona hosts the Lions.

Pro Bowl streak ends

(AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Speaking of legacy, Peterson’s Pro Bowl streak will come to an end.

Suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs automatically disqualify players to make the All-Star event.

Peterson made the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight years in the NFL, making him one of seven defensive players in league history to reach such a benchmark. And that list is more than impressive:

Dick Butkus

Lawrence Taylor

Derrick Thomas

Joe Greene

Merlin Olsen

Mel Renfro

Patrick Peterson

Less money in the bank

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Peterson reportedly took his financial losses from this matter very seriously — so seriously, in fact, that he took some offense to actions either by the Cardinals or at least someone within the organization.

While we don’t know whether he missed April voluntary mini-camp directly because he was unhappy with Arizona or someone with the organization, he did express displeasure with a series of Instagram posts prior to that, including one where he wrote: “My boys told me to watch out for the snakes in the long grass! #savageSZN.”

Peterson will lose $3,882,352 in wages, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Gambadoro added that Peterson believed he could have saved $2 million or more with a restuctured contract, which also added to his dissatisfaction.

Cornerback rotation changes

(AP Photo/Matt York)

If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that there’s a good chance Arizona has planned for Peterson’s absence. That may benefit their second-highest 2019 draft pick.

Rookie Byron Murphy, a local product who was drafted 33rd overall out of Washington, is most likely to take on a bigger role during Peterson’s six-game suspension. He and veteran offseason pickup Robert Alford are the favorites to win the starting cornerback jobs, although veterans David Amerson and Tramaine Brock Jr. could also fight for those.

There is little doubt that Murphy, who Arizona had a top-five grade on heading into the NFL Draft, will at least get regular run in nickel packages.

Heck no: Kyrie Irving would kill the Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have potentially lined to point guard yrie Irving. Such a signing would be a huge mistake. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne seems like a nice person and generally I find her basketball analysis to be solid. However, earlier this week she went on The Jump and had one of those moments at work we […]

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Why not: the Phoenix Suns should pursue Kyrie Irving

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has speculated that the Phoenix Suns and point guard Kyrie Irving might have mutual interest in one another. So, why not? The Phoenix Suns have had their eyes on Kyrie Iring for some time, and supposedly had the opportunity to land him in a trade with Cleveland two years ago had they […]

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Cardinals should not give up on suspended Patrick Peterson

We cheer for athletes.  We believe in people.  I’m not bailing on Patrick Peterson.

And you?

At the moment, the Cardinals and their star cornerback are in a rough patch of marriage. The arguments are more frequent. Each must be wondering if the other side is worth the hassle.

Peterson has been suspended by the NFL for six games.  The harsh penalty reflects a secondary circumstance, such as masking a banned substance, making Peterson’s bad decision even worse.

The suspension comes after a 2018 season when Peterson demanded a trade on the watch of a rookie head coach, undermining Steve Wilks beyond repair.

Put these events together, and Peterson is running low on blind faith in the Valley. His actions have once again distracted a team from its newborn mission.  There are questions of his captaincy and if he’s truly fit to wear the vaunted letter. Or whether the Cardinals should trade him now or wait until his value is re-established.

Nonsense.

Patrick Peterson is a great player. He cared enough about Arizona fans to deliver a mea culpa on the 16th hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  And to fairly evaluate the current situation, you must start by eliminating the previous skirmish from all conversation.

After all, he apologized for that. We accepted. And in fairness to Peterson, things were really that hopeless under the leadership of Wilks, a man so narrow and bland that he would’ve fined Kyler Murray for wearing gym shoes with a pink suit, the outfit he debuted at the NFL draft.

So that limits the story to Peterson, PEDs and what the Cardinals are going to do about their disgruntled cornerback. And let’s start here:

The suspension created a terribly embarrassing situation for Peterson on Thursday, as his foundation’s golf tournament and fund-raising event in the Valley began the same day his penalty was disclosed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and confirmed by the team hours later. It’s hard to rally the community around an athlete who was sacked with a six-game, league-mandated suspension.

Peterson knew a suspension was coming, according to a source. His explanation is tied to his relationship with Type 2 diabetes, a condition that made him feel extremely sluggish and slow in 2015. The condition made headlines. You can look it up.

Peterson allegedly began feeling the same way in recent months. He unknowingly took supplements that included a banned substance, realizing his error after it was too late. He asked the team for a big favor. And at the very least, he asked the Cardinals to sit on the news until after his fundraising event, thereby safeguarding his charitable interests.

Peterson’s current level of unhappiness with the team was surely fueled by the harmful timing of his suspension, with great suspicion of where the leak occurred.

Clearly, the Cardinals have no motive to throw fuel on a growing fire, and would never drop a dime on Peterson in this manner. Not if they desire a long-term relationship with their star defender. But Peterson already felt betrayed by the organization and any paranoia must be expected.

According to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, Peterson grew angry at the Cardinals when they rejected his request for a restructured contract prior to the impending suspension, thereby protecting him from NFL-sanctioned financial losses that will exceed $4.5 million with missed bonus incentives.

In effect, they didn’t let Peterson game the system. And in the NFL, where most contracts aren’t guaranteed and physical damage is profoundly inevitable, the quickest way to lose a player’s heart is to get inside his wallet.

Peterson is deeply offended by the Cardinals’ hardline stance, for not fighting for his rights or mitigating his losses through loopholes. But this doesn’t have to be the end.

Von Miller served a six-game suspension and is still beloved in Denver. Julian Edelman is still revered in New England despite his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. This isn’t like Barry Bonds destroying baseball’s record book.  PEDs aren’t a death sentence in football, and this doesn’t have to spell divorce for Peterson and the Cardinals.

After all, you can’t replace Peterson on the football field. You can’t take away Larry Fitzgerald’s best golfing buddy.  And you don’t give up on good people, especially when they do dumb things.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@bonneville.com.  Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.