It is only June 6, nearly three weeks before the NBA Draft is set to take place, and nearly all of the players projected to be drafted near the Suns four upcoming picks (14, 18, 27 and 50) have flown to the valley to participate in a group workout.
The Phoenix Suns' workout is widely considered one of the toughest on the circuit, per players who have visited in recent days. The Suns want to run and shoot, so they set up the workout in the same fashion. Adreian Payne, for one, was admittedly winded at the end of the day. Many players have hit the floor in a heap after the final drill of running as hard as you can for three minutes.
While the Suns have seen at least 54 players, the highest rated player has been Gary Harris (ranked 9th to 14th on various boards). Harris sits squarely in the crosshairs of a great "get" as a two-way player who might be slightly undersized but fits the Suns mold to a T.
At this point, what's instructive is who has NOT yet visited the Suns. They fall into three distinct groups.
The consensus top 8
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh.
None have visited but it's pretty certain that SOME of them will.
"We can get anywhere we want to go," McDonough said of trading up in the draft, "except the top, top end."
Basically, McDonough was reassuring himself and everyone that the Suns have assets and can likely move up in the Draft if they really want someone. To move into the Top 3-5 is nearly unprecedented from a #14 starting position, but with so many current and future #1 picks it's doable to get into the 6-10 range if needed.
"If there's someone we think is undervalued," he said in another interview, "we feel we can go up and get him."
One or more of those top eight players will get some advice from his agent that it's in their best interest to get on the Suns' good side. Suns brass has said over and over again that they value guys who are willing to visit, willing to compete, willing to go out of their way to show well in predraft workouts.
It's possible that one or more of those visits might be private (gasp, not advertised to the public), but at least a few will likely join a group the way the Suns want them to.
My guess: Gordon, Vonleh, Exum, Randle and Smart all have a better than average chance of going sixth or later, which is very much in the Suns wheelhouse.
Most notably, Dario Saric is in the Suns draft range but is not touring the states to visit teams prior to the Draft. Likely, the Suns have already sent a contingent over to see him and work him out in Croatia. And certainly, they've seen oodles of tape on the guy.
Kristaps Porzingis and other foreign players projected later in the first round or in the second round are in the same boat.
The Offensive Players
None of Doug McDermott, Nick Stauskas, Kyle Anderson or Cleanthony Early have visited the Suns yet, despite being projected fairly near the Suns draft position.
In fact, Stauskas may never hit Phoenix at all. According to this report, Stauskas has no workout planned yet with Phoenix and will only work out for a "select group of teams" before the Draft. If he doesn't visit Phoenix in a group workout like everyone else, cross him off your list entirely.
Update: Anderson visiting on Monday, per his own tweet.
All appear to fit the Suns mold offensively as shooters and/or passers, but none are considered premier two-way players who can shut down an opponent on defense while scoring on the other end as well.
The Suns do their leg work, and they do it well. They like to see guys up close and personal to confirm for themselves if a player fits the Suns mold or not.
The next two weeks
The first round of player visits should be wrapping up soon, or at least getting more sparse. After nine consecutive working days of workouts, there just aren't 60 more guys to bring in over the next two weeks.
Expect the shooters to visit soon, as well as more of the late-first and second-round prospects who are rising since the Combine and a few of the Top 8.
The Suns announced there is a workout Monday. While the Suns remain quiet, twitter has announced that Kyle Anderson and C.J. Fair will be there. Expect four more to join them.
But after that, the visits will become more private as the Suns bring some guys back for second visits (Archie got a second visit a week before last year's draft) to confirm their standing on the Suns draft board, or hold private workouts for top players who don't want teams knowing they are visiting a team so low on the board.