Ed. note: pic added by editorial staff. Seems appropriate given the topic...
"I think it can be difficult to bring in multiple guys at the same time position or similar position as rookies. Sometimes I think they stunt each other's growth." - Ryan McDonough
There's a lot of truth in what he said, and true enough he did draft two players of completely different positions in Alex Len and Archie Goodwin. It makes sense, if you have two guys playing a very similar position, it's always tricky to try and develop them both individually.
Following the Luis Scola trade, the Suns have as many as three first round picks in next year's draft. They also have a second round pick of their own. They also still have Marcin Gortat on the roster, and despite what McDonough said a few weeks ago, that guy is going to be getting moved sooner or later and I think we all know that.
What Gortat will fetch is anyone's guess. Some aren't high on his market value, others seem to think he's a pretty valuable commodity. When he does get moved, will the trade yield another 2014 draft pick?
That begs the question, exactly how many picks is too many?
As loaded as the 2014 draft class is reported to be, the Suns already have a big man in Alex Len to develop, along with SG/PG/backcourt athletic freak Archie Goodwin. For the optimists among us, we could also count Miles Plumlee and Kendall Marshall as talent that needs developing.
Add three first round rookies next year and you have a whole load of talent on rookie deals that you need to try and fit in. Not just any talent, but great talent from a solid draft class. That will be tough.
As recently as 2009, the Timberwolves had FOUR first round draft picks, and I can't think of a team which has ever had more first round picks. Bizarrely they drafted three PGs and a SG. I am pretty confident McDonough wouldn't do the same thing, but it does highlight how having too many draft picks could be an issue. Do you draft best talent available or do you draft for need? When you only have one pick, that's not too difficult, but when you have three or four, it's not so easy.
Look at the Sacramento Kings. That's a franchise which has been drafting young talent for years: DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, Isaiah Thomas, now Ben McLemore. Fredette has done absolutely nothing. Evans didn't really build on a solid rookie campaign and has now gone elsewhere. Cousins is good but you feel he could be a whole lot better on a more "mature" team surrounded by some veterans. How Ben McLemore will fare is anyone's guess. These guys weren't even drafted in the same draft, but you can easily argue that the lack of a concrete plan and a muddled roster has been detrimental to the development of some of those guys.
Everyone loves to use the Thunder as an example of rebuilding through the draft, so it's fair I mention them here. They had two first round picks in 2008, taking Westbrook and Ibaka. That's after drafting Durant and Jeff Green the previous year. The very next year they drafted James Harden. That's five great talents and they did well to develop them all over those few years. Interestingly they were all at different positions, and the development of them all seemed flawlessly smooth. Whether they specifically meant to avoid positional duplication or if the best talent they wanted just so happened to fit their needs perfectly is open to interpretation, but that was a solid few years of drafting top level talent.
Of course, the Suns don't need to keep all these picks they have in 2014. It's about acquiring assets and lots of them, something which McDonough is doing a superb job with. I still think Gortat will end up on a team like the Thunder and if so, will perhaps yield another high pick like the Pacers one.
If that does happen, I really don't see the Suns keeping and using all four picks. They may well draft four players and use one or two in trades like Nerlens Noel, but I really can't see how you develop four first round rookies out of a loaded draft class on top of existing draftees Len and Goodwin...especially when the current roster lacks any veteran presence outside of Caron Butler, Channing Frye and PJ Tucker.
Keep acquiring the assets I say. You can never own too many picks. I just think three is the most number of first round picks we can expect the Suns to actually make.