Phoenix Suns want another first round pick

GM Ryan McDonough says he has the assets to get into the first round at any point he wants, though the top 4 would be very difficult. The Suns need youth and talent, and there's no better way to get it than the NBA Draft.

In the past week, the Phoenix Suns have had a lot of players come through US Airways Arena. New coach Jeff Hornacek has run all the healthy ones through demanding conditioning and full-court drills to test how prepared they are for the rigors of the NBA.

"If you see a guy who dogs it in this, that probably knocks him right off the radar for me," Hornacek said after day one.

The injured guys (Anthony Bennett and Alex Len) came in for interviews.

Among the top ten ranked players on Kris' Big Board, all but Otto Porter (2) and Nerlens Noel (1) have flown to Phoenix, interviewed and/or worked out in recent days. But don't fret. The Suns have two more workouts this weekend, so don't be surprised if at least Porter attends one of them. Only Noel is holding out from any teams outside the top two.

But after the top ten, most the rest of the attendees have been no better than second-round and free agent talents.

Among the 11th-20th ranked players on Kris' Big Board, just three have been here so far: Shabazz Muhammad (12), C.J. McCollum (14) and Shane Larkin (20). Big Boards vary at this time of year, but a review of draftexpress.com's top-100 ups that only to 4 of the middle 10.

Among the 21st-30th ranked players on Kris' Big Board, just one has visited: Archie Goodwin (21). Draftexpress.com also lists Suns visitors Nate Wolters and Erick Green in their top 30.

Notably absent from visits so far are many of the first-round center prospects. Just Rudy Gobert (7 on Kris' Board) and Alex Len (4th) have been in the hallowed halls. Cody Zeller visited as well, though he projects as a forward/center in the pros.

Two big workouts remain on the pre-planned slate - Sunday and Monday. Don't be surprised to see more mid-first picks come waltzing through the door.

"We've talked to a few teams about getting in the draft at different ranges," McDonough said. "We have good assets to do that. We have to evaluate all of these guys, figure out where they're going to go. And then if we can get in at a particular range where a guy is undervalued, we'll try to get in and get him there."

A better indication of the Suns plans, however, would be to bring in the prospects currently ranked 11-30 in the Draft. I highly doubt the Suns would draft a player based solely on film. There are nearly three weeks remaining until the Draft though, so there's plenty of time to bring more kids in.

Stay tuned on Sunday and Monday for the last two days of the initial round of participants to work out in front of Jeff Hornacek and interview with the Suns front office. After that, the workouts will be a result of zeroing in on certain players, inviting last-minute risers for a visit or circling back around for the guys who couldn't attend week one due to other commitments.

It would be thrilling to the Suns fan base to bring in two of the top ten talents, like Oladipo/Gobert or McLemore/McCollum. Even a draft of Len/Franklin would be great, or Bennett/Muhammad. Or some combination thereof.

As far as assets are concerned, the Suns have picks 5, 30 and 57 in this draft; the mostly non-guaranteed contracts of Shannon Brown, Hamed Haddadi and P.J. Tucker (good for salary matching as needed); four more first-round picks in the next two years, including three of them potentially in the lottery; and four second round picks in the next two years, all four likely near the top of the round.

On top of that, players like Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall have varying degrees of trade value. With the Suns not projected to win more than 25 with the current roster, there's no reason not to explore every single player's trade value.

Only the trade chips of Goran Dragic and the #5 overall pick would appear to be stuffed in a back pocket, unless the team is completely bowled over.

Note: Luis Scola cannot be traded until well after the draft, and expiring contracts are off-limits as well (Jermaine O'Neal, Diante Garrett).

I, for one, implore the Suns to do whatever they can to acquire another lottery pick and even move up from #30 as well. The more talent you bring in, the better. Youth is paramount at this point. Veterans cannot be kept for nostalgic reasons. The Suns are already at the bottom of the West. Getting younger won't make it any worse.

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