We have had a couple of days to decompress and meditate after yet another disappointing example of the lack of luck being realized by our beloved Phoenix Suns franchise.
The Suns had the second-best chance among 14 teams to nab a Top-3 pick (though still just barely over 50%) but did not see any of their lottery combinations pop up during the back stage event.
Alas, the Suns are 4th overall, the worst of the 11 remaining unlucky teams ranked in reverse order of their winning percentage.
How bad is it for the Suns to drop to fourth in what some believe is a three-player draft?
First, let’s revisit Dave’s Big Board of top college prospects for the Suns, in terms of talent and fit.
Dave King’s Big Board
- Markelle Fultz - PG - best player overall, NBA comps are in the range of Damian Lillard. Kellan, Owen and I all agree on this one. Unless the Suns trade up with the Celtics, which won’t happen because the Suns don’t have an All-Star they’d trade back, you can forget about Fultz in Phoenix.
- Josh Jackson - SF - best two-way player at the top of the draft, NBA comps are in the range of Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Kellan, Owen and I all agree on Jackson being the second best prospect.
- De’Aaron Fox - PG - yes this is MY pick as the 3rd best prospect. NBA comps include Russell Westbrook. Kellan and Owen picked Lonzo Ball here, but you all know I’m not a big fan of Big Baller.
- Jonathan Isaac - SF/PF - once again, I’m the one breaking away here. I love love love the idea of Jonathan Isaac roaming the front line with Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss as super-long, athletic trio who can all slide to stay in front of their man and have the length to defend the rim. Offensively, they all have different skills and I believe they can compliment each other once they grow into their NBA bodies.
- Lonzo Ball - PG - here is where I put Big Baller, at 5th overall and 3rd among point guards. Kellan and Owen named others among their Top 5, including PG Frank Ntilikina, SF Jayson Tatum and Lauri Markkanen.
So that’s MY Big Board. Maybe a bit unconventional since I don’t include Jayson Tatum in my Top 5, but those are the players that I think fit best in a Phoenix Suns uniform.
Dave King’s post-lotto MOCK DRAFT
Now let’s see who on my Big Board are likely to still be available when the Suns pick #4 overall.
- Boston Celtics (via Nets) - Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington. Whether the Celtics make this pick themselves or they trade it for an All-Star, SOMEONE is picking Markelle Fultz #1 overall in this draft. Done is done. No Fultz in purple and orange.
- Los Angeles Lakers - Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA. All the signs are there for the Lake show to feature Ball as their point guard, while moving De’Angelo Russell into a shooting-guard spot long-term next to him. Who would the Lakers draft if not Ball? Well, since they already have Brandon Ingram as their long-term answer as small forward, I don’t see them picking either of Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, and this is too high to reach for De’Aaron Fox or Jonathan Isaac. It’s Ball or Bust in LA LA Land.
- Philadelphia Sixers - Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke or De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky. This is where is gets tricky if Ball and Fultz go 1-2. The Sixers really, really need a point guard of the future. They already have a boatload to talented big men, including rookie-to-be Ben Simmons as a 6’10” point forward, probable first-team All-Rookie Dario Saric and two-way small forward Robert Covington manning the bulk of the forward minutes with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor in the pivot. Philly needs a point guard or shooting guard, but with Fultz and Ball already off the board, they are stuck with a choice of reaching for Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Malik Monk, or going with the more offensively-talented Jayson Tatum to help improve their scoring. The Sixers have always had passable defense and anemic offense. Alternately, the Sixers could trade out of this #3 pick down a few spots for Monk/Fox/Smith. In which case, who knows what that new team will do. But for now, with the Sixers in this spot, I don’t see them taking Josh Jackson.
- Phoenix Suns - Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas. At the least, the Suns should have their choice among three of Jackson, Tatum, Isaac and Fox here at the #4 overall pick. And there are fans of each of these guys being among the best in the draft some day. My pick is Jackson.
What dropping to #4 means
There are several pros and cons to the Suns dropping to #4 overall.
- Cannot take potentially the best player in the draft: Markelle Fultz
- Might lose out on two other favorites before being able to pick 4th
- Without one of the three best players in the draft, the Suns rebuild could extend for years longer
- The best three players in any draft are almost never the top 3 picks, so one or more of the very best prospects will STILL be on the board at #4
- The teams ahead of the Suns don’t need Josh Jackson, my #2 prospect
- Lonzo Ball will almost certainly be OFF the board when the Suns are picking at #4
- It’s quite possible that Lonzo Ball and even Markelle Fultz won’t be the best NBA point guards taken on draft night
- The Suns can keep Eric Bledsoe as their starter, even if they draft Fox or Smith or even Ntilikina, for at least a half-season to see how it all shakes out.
What does this all mean?
One big shrug.
There will certainly be at least one All-Star caliber player taken after the top 3 picks. The trick is to find that player, and hopefully make sure he’s got playing time to burn as a rookie.
This is Ryan McDonough’s most important off-season to date. So important it could make or break his career as a GM.
Draft well? Get an extension
Draft poorly? Get fired
Trade the pick, make a playoff run? Get an extension
Trade the pick, but still come up short of playoff caliber? Get fired
Good luck, Mr. McDonough. Good luck.
Think the Suns will still get a Top-2 talent out of this draft?
This poll is closed