The lottery is over and the draft order is set. Alvin Gentry proved lucky once again (for the Clippers) and The Phoenix Suns are picking14th as expected. With a little over a month before the big day we can expect a lot of discussion of specific players and movement up and down the various mock drafts.
At the top of the order the drama looks like it will be with Ricky Rubio. His agent's statements that he doesn't want the Spanish wonder kid to end up in Memphis or Oklahoma City should make for all kinds of great blog fodder over the next few weeks.
That's just semi-interesting noise to us here in Phoenix. Drafting 14th will put the pressure on the Suns front office as they try and avoid having a great player (like Courtney Lee last year) fall past their pick.
Of course, it made sense at the time to draft a defensive oriented 7ft athletic center to back up Shaquille while the Suns were loaded at the two-guard with Bell, Barbosa and Tucker.
That's the challenge with the draft. Not only is it hard to predict which players will turn into Manu Ginobilli (drafted 57th overall) and which will turn into Nikoloz Tskitishvili (the #5 pick in 2002) but it is hard to even know what your own team's needs will be two or three years down the line when most picks start to show their worth.
Suns draft needs as they relate to Steve Nash
Steve Kerr said recently that the Suns would draft the "best player available" and given their roster (and it's age) this is a wise move. The recent revelation by Nash's agent that he is looking for a raise as part of any extension might seem to tilt the balance more towards a point guard. I don't agree with that.
Nash, extended or not is at best only in the near term plans for the team. In two or three years it is hard to imagine Nash being the "motor that makes the car go" as Coach Gentry recently called him. Look how fast Jason Kidd and Sam Cassell dropped off as they round the corner past 36 years old.
Kidd is only one year older then Nash and while still potent was considerably less of an impact player this year then he was at age 34. Cassell had a fantastic year at age 36 but then saw his point total drop almost in half at age 37 and last year at 38 was bought out of his contract so he could play his final few games of his career with the Celtics.
John Stockton on the other hand, played until he was 40 and didn't miss a game in his final four years. Nash is famous for his fitness and conditioning but he also has the chronic back issue and we've seen him break down due to excessive wear before. Nash plays at a much higher tempo and handles the ball in traffic far more the Stockton ever did.
The point as it relates to the this draft? There's no way to know what will happen with Steve and with impending holes at pretty much every other position as well, the best player available option is clearly the way to go.
Looking at the mock drafts at Draft Express, NBA Draft.net and our own Ridiculous Upside, you see a lot of variety at this point in time. The combine and team workouts over the coming weeks will solidify things but for now, the range of players the "experts" predict will be available to the Suns is quite large.
Here's a list of names that most seem to agree could be in our sites with links back to their profiles via Draft Express. We will get into more depth with specific players as we learn who the Suns are working out.
DeJuan Blair PF/C
Ty Lawson PG
Jonny Flynn PG
Earl Clark SF/PF
Terrence Williams SG/SF
Eric Maynor PG
Jrue Holiday PG/SG
Jeff Teague PG/SG
Chase Budinger SG/SF
Let the fun begin!