Alec Peters wasn’t asking for much from the NBA draft.
"I came from Washington, Illinois, and Valparaiso University," he said. "If I get my name called at all, I'm going to be happy. I don't need much. I just need the opportunity."
The decorated Valparaiso forward got his wish, getting picked 54th overall by the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns were one of the handful of teams that interviewed Peters, and his health was almost certainly a main talking point. A stress fracture in his right foot shut down his season in late February, and Peters wasn’t able to work out for teams.
An NBA scout who spoke on condition of anonymity said depending on the severity of Peters' injury, it could have "significant" impact on his draft stock, though he cautioned that each team has a different tolerance level for selecting injured players. He said Peters might have to "scrap" more than anticipated to make a roster.
The Suns apparently saw enough in his body of work at Valpo, which included 134 games and over 4,000 minutes. Here’s how he fits with his new team should he earn a spot on the roster:
- First and foremost, Peters is a shooter with size. As Draft Express writes, this is the “clear cut” reason he’s a prospect. If he sticks in Phoenix, he’ll be joining a team in clear need of a skill that is in high-demand no matter the roster. The Suns had just three players shoot over 35.7 percent from deep last season: Jared Dudley, Devin Booker and Leondro Barbosa. As a team they shot just 33.2 percent from three, the fourth worst mark in the NBA. It’s clear to see the appeal of adding a player that hit 41.2 percent of his 657 career three-point attempts, and profiles as a reliable, high-release shooter in both spot-up and catch-and-shoot situations.
- One knock on Peters is that he’s struggled to score around the basket against NBA length and athleticism. But that shouldn’t be an issue as the Suns wouldn’t rely on him to be anything more than a floor spacer. Booker is emerging as an offensive star, Dragan Bender is still brimming with potential, the team has two veteran point guards and No. 4 pick Josh Jackson is joining the fold. Like any late second round pick, Peters won’t be asked to do more than he can.
- The bigger knock on Peters are his defensive limitations. As Draft Express notes, he’s not a great one-on-one defender and lacks good lateral speed. His viability in the league would seem to hinge on his becoming a passable enough defender to make it too hard to keep his shooting off the court. Getting paired with a rim protector like Tyson Chandler would be a step toward covering some of those defensive issues. Dynamic athletes like Jackson and Marquese Chriss could also help, but it’s unlikely Peters would see many minutes with heavy rotation players like that. More realistically, if Alex Len returns, he could provide a safety blanket that allows Earl Watson to get a spark out of Peters.