clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Phoenix Suns hurtling toward Top 5 pick in 2016 NBA Draft

With the Phoenix Suns diving into top pick range, Bright Side takes its first look at the top potential targets for the Suns in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

For (most) really awful teams - sorrynotsorry Brooklyn Nets - the one saving grace to a 60-loss season is getting the chance to draft one of the best players in college.

While the chance to build a contender from ashes with draft picks is like rolling the dice in Vegas, in the words of the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas...


Yes, there's a chance. Nearly every champion in history has drafted and kept their franchise player. Some have done it through blatant tanking (I'm looking at you, San Antonio), while others have gotten really lucky with a later pick.

The facts are that while you can get lucky late in the draft, you're much more likely to draft a franchise player in the Top 5 of the draft.


One of my favorite old sites,, once did an analysis of the likelihood that draft picks at each slot would become stars.


Of course, there are duds at the top of the draft, but you are far more likely to acquire an impact player at the top of the draft than anywhere else.

So let's take a look at guys who could become the next Phoenix Suns star in the 2016 NBA Draft.

1) Ben Simmons


Simmons, a 19-year old freshman at LSU, is the clear star of this draft. He's a bit of a funky player - some have compared him to Lamar Odom - but his skillset is so wide ranging that he will be a difference maker in the NBA from day one. He can pass, rebound and score around the basket. He just cannot shoot, and doesn't really apply himself on defense.

On the Suns, Simmons would immediately become a nightly double-double threat who can create offense from all over the court. He would fit perfectly next to Alex Len, T.J. Warren and Devin Booker.

Check out for all you need to know about Simmons.

2) Brandon Ingram


Ingram, an 18-year old freshman at Duke, is the one challenging Simmons for the top spot after a month or so of games based on his potential alone. He's a skinny, smooth player whose shooting and scoring have people calling him the min-Durantula (he's 6'9").

Ingram still has a long way to go, and would supplant T.J. Warren as the SF of the future for the Suns. But when you're one of the worst teams in the league you can't worry about doubling up on a position. Just take the best talent available and make it work. Ingram and Booker could become the most lethal shooting duo in the league and neither would be even 20 years old yet on opening night next year.

Check out for all you need to know about Ingram.

3) Dragan Bender


After Kristaps Porzingis has taken the NBA by storm this year, and with the promise of Dario Saric coming over next year, taking the latest international sensation will be a major story this June. Who knows, he might just become the #1 overall pick by the time the draft happens.

And this year, it's Dragan Bender who has the scouts drooling. Bender, of course, is playing a really small role overseas this season but he has all the skills you need in today's NBA to succeed.

He's already 7'1" at just 18 years old (just 216 pounds) and can shoot, score, rebound and generally just wows people when he gets a big role. On the Suns, Bender would immediately be the power forward of the future to play alongside Alex Len, T.J. Warren and Devin Booker.

Check out for all you need to know about Bender.

4) Kris Dunn


Oh hey, another point guard!

But Kris Dunn isn't just another point guard. Dunn, a junior at Providence, is a big PG (6'4") who is clearly a leader, floor general and playmaker. He can shoot and defend as well. It's quite possible that Dunn will become a better NBA player than Bledsoe or Knight.

The back court tandem of Dunn and Booker, with one of Bledsoe or Knight backing them up, could become one of the best back courts in the league. With Dunn's size, they'd also be one of the bigger starting duos too.

The only downside on Dunn, already almost 23 years old, is that he is already just about Brandon Knight's age and hasn't even entered the NBA yet. He is older than all of Len, Warren and Booker right now. Sure, he could follow the path of Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry to graduate at a later age to be an NBA All-Star, but more often the guys who stay all four years have a lower NBA ceiling or they'd have already been drafted. Certainly, coach Hornacek would love a more mature floor general out there.

Check out for all you need to know about Kris Dunn.

5) Ivan Rabb


Rabb is a personal favorite of the guy who photoshopped the Suns jerseys onto the players for me, so he gets the nod - for now - at the #5 spot ahead of guys like Skal Labisierre and Jaylen Brown.

Rabb, a freshman at Cal, is also an 18-year old PF prospect just like Simmons and Bender (and Skal). He's 6'10" with a 7'2" wingspan and highly skilled. He plays a lot of center, and looks like he can add a lot more weight to his frame in the NBA. He is a good rebounder and scorer around the basket, and is developing his jumper. On defense, he's active and likes to be the floor leader on that end of the court.

Rabb would be the power forward of the future for the Suns next to Len, Warren and Booker.

Check out for all you need to know about Rabb.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bright Side of the Sun Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Phoenix Suns news from Bright Side of the Sun