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Throwback: Booker flew under Suns radar last year, who will surprise this year?

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As the Phoenix Suns, holders of 4 of the top 34 picks in the 2016 NBA Draft, ramp up another record-breaking pre-draft workout schedule, make sure you pay attention. Next seasons' Suns rookies will be visiting a practice court near you very soon.

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A year ago, the Phoenix Suns were said to be zeroing in on a new power forward with their 13th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

They ended up with their new face of the franchise in shooting guard Devin Booker.

Fans and media alike - and though they won't admit it, the Suns too - wanted a brand spanking new power forward of the future. Frank Kaminsky, Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, Bobby Portis, Kevon Looney and Montrezl Harrell all looked like they could bring much-needed shooting (Kaminsky) or youth and athleticism to PF spot.

The Morris twins were still around, but they'd just spent the past year proving why you can't just give people nice things and expect them to be even better as a result. The whole Timeline of Self-Destruction was a thing, and had already ruined the 2014-15 season.

So, drafting a new PF was a great idea. Drafting another guard was not.

Then Devin Booker arrived. The 14-year old looking Booker grabbed our attention immediately.


Even the day I/we watched him shoot around, then run the 3-minute drill, before being interviewed on the day of his pre-draft workout, it was clear this kid was special.

His shooting stroke was perfect, and his interview style was smooth as silk.

I remember walking away from that workout thinking that Devin Booker would immediately become the best interview on the team.

But I also remember thinking that a lot would have to go wrong for the Suns to take him. I even asked Ryan McDonough if taking an 18-year old was akin to trading that year's pick for future #1. I just didn't see Booker working his way into a rotation that boasted Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, along with Archie Goodwin and potentially a returning Gerald Green. Not to mention the prospect of Euroleague Rising Star Bogdan Bogdanovic on the horizon.

A year later, that all seems like it's in the distant past. The best PFs were gone by the time the Suns were on the clock, and they valued Booker over and above guys like Portis, Looney and Harrell. Some of us didn't agree with the Suns assessment, and spent much of the next six months pining for Portis and/or Harrell. But most of us were excited, as any fan would be when a new present is handed to us.

A year later, as Devin Booker gets the third most votes for the All-Rookie team, I'm glad the Suns bucked the conventional thinking and took yet another guard from Kentucky.

So my helpful hint to you as we continue the pre-draft workout phase is to ignore positional need and focus on guys with the greatest upside. If you combine great upside with great attitude and outlook on life, sometimes you get a Devin Booker at #13 overall.

Who is this year's Devin Booker? Who flies under the radar and then takes the league by storm?

Do the Suns surprise us at #4, like the Knicks did to their fans last year with Porzingis? Or do they surprise us at #13, like they did with Booker last year and with T.J. Warren a year before? Or do they surprise us at 28 or 34 somehow, like they did when they took Bogdan Bogdanovic in 2014?

No matter what, count on at least one surprise.

In the meantime, focus on the predraft workouts so you can be the one that says "I knew it!" on draft night. The pre-draft workout train rolls on this week with workout #4 happening later today and Taurean Prince coming tomorrow.