The NBA announced the order for the 2017 NBA Draft on Tuesday at its annual Draft Lottery. Following the leap of the Sacramento Kings pick into the third spot, it became clear that the Phoenix Suns would have the fourth selection this season, a repeat of their slot in 2016.
Suns fans felt some combination of uproar, confusion and depression after the news came out. We’re all in this together, which is why we thought it made sense to give you a taste of our own reactions to Tuesday’s events.
As always, let us know how you were feeling down below.
1. What was your initial reaction when you saw that the Sixers, by way of the Kings, had jumped the Suns and leapfrogged into the third overall spot in the draft?
Kellan Olson: I yelled out several obscenities in about 1.6 seconds before realizing it was the pick swap and that made me happy again since I'm a big fan of what Hinkie has done. It's pretty impossible for Suns fans to imagine, but there's a scenario where a team jumps and the Suns aren't the team to get screwed by it like the Lakers and Celtics. A team jumps almost every year, so while it sucked, I wasn't ready to call it the end. Of course, the Suns wound up being the only team to drop more than one spot, so...
Rod Argent: I let out a long sigh, changed the channel and looked for anything other than basketball to watch.
Dave King: My initial reaction was frustration and anger. The Suns spent a whole season tanking and didn't end up with the pick they wanted. However, after I thought about the needs of the teams ahead of the Suns I realized that most of my favorite prospects after Fultz - Jackson, Fox, Smith and Isaac - should all be on the board at 4.
Brendon Kleen: I snickered and shook my head, as per usual. This is how these things work; we’ve been here before. Chin up.
2. How do you see picks 1-3 shaking out?
Kellan: During the commercial break, I tweeted out that the Sixers at 3 and then BOS-LAL at 1 and 2 was a best-case scenario for being at 4. Boston has the GM that won't pass on a talent like Fultz no matter what the consequences are to other players on his team and the Lakers have been linked to Ball for months.
For the Sixers, Jackson's jumper is broken. He improved over the course of the year, but his hitch it still there and he shot nearly 30% worse from the FT line than Jayson Tatum. Ben Simmons' jumper is an even bigger concern, and with the Sixers making it clear that Simmons is essentially their PG on offense, you can't afford to have a bad shooter paired with him on the wing. Plus. they have Robert Covington as a defensive stopper on the wing already. Maybe they reach for Monk or just take Tatum or Smith, but I think it would be very ill-advised for them to take Jackson despite him being BPA.
Rod: Fultz to Boston and Ball to the Lakers seem to be the obvious choices for the 1st and 2nd picks but there's no telling who Philly will take at 3. I think that Josh Jackson is the best player available with the third pick but De'Aaron Fox or Malik Monk makes more sense for them as they need to upgrade their backcourt more than they need another small forward, even one as good as Jackson. But if they are literally intending to play Ben Simmons at the point guard position then Jackson makes a ton of sense for them. My bet is they take either Jackson or Fox with the 3rd pick or if they really like Monk that they try to trade down one or two spots where they could still pick him and gain an additional asset or two.
Dave: I think the Celtics (or whoever they trade the pick to) will take Fultz.
Then LA has to take Ball right? Russell can move to SG next to Ball long term as a long range shooter. For sure they don't take Jackson with Ingram already on the roster.
Then Philadelphia, I don't know, maybe Fox or Smith. But with all their forwards, I don't see them taking Jackson or Tatum or any other big.
Brendon: As much as it pains me to say this, I think it’s chalk through the first three. With so few players attending the combine and Lonzo Ball imposing his will on the draft process from the jump, we’re going to know very little about these guys besides their college performance and the teams’ individual meetings.
Unless something crazy comes out of those one-on-one meetings throughout May and June, I assume the three most talented players in the class will go one, two and three. That will leave the Suns with the first pick of the rest of the draft.
3. Who are you targeting at 4 if you’re Ryan McDonough leading the Suns’ front office?
Kellan: Besides Jackson, Jonathan Isaac is the best value pick for me personally since I have him as my No. 4 prospect and he fits the best of any prospect on the board into the long-term rotation besides Frank Ntilikina. He has the best defensive upside in this draft and can play far more SF than Bender. He has a bit of potential offensively as well, but you're picking him for defense and rebounding, which the Suns could always use more of. With that said, it is foolish to act like it's going to be simple to find him, Chriss and Bender playing time consistently unless one of them is the backup center. Chandler, Williams/Len, Chriss, Dudley, Bender and Warren is six dudes already.
As for Ntilikina, he's raw enough right now that he should be brought along slowly, and he's been playing a lot of SG overseas. Being a defensive specialist off the bench who can hit open shots and create in transition while developing as Bledsoe's replacement is the best fit on the board if Jackson is gone IMO and I'm sold on his talent (No. 5 on my board). Is McDonough going to make a pick like that in his contract year, though? Probably not!
Rod: The best small forward available. If Josh Jackson is still on the board you take him. If not then you take either Jayson Tatum or Jonathan Isaac. Tatum is probably the better player at this point but I have concerns about his fit with the Suns and his lack of elite athletic ability. Isaac is probably a little bit of a reach with the 4th pick but I like his fit and potential ceiling better than Tatum's. I also like De'Aaron Fox but I just don't think that the Suns should draft another point guard if they are drafting at 4. Roll on with Bledsoe and Ulis at the point next season and see what happens.
Dave: Definitely Josh Jackson first and foremost. Then maybe De'Aaron Fox or Dennis Smith Jr. I don't like Tatum on the Suns because he duplicates too much of what T.J. Warren brings to the team and the Suns don't need to move sideways.
Brendon: I like the idea ofJonathan Isaac a whole lot, but specifically on the Suns, I don’t think he makes much sense. He does a lot of the same things as Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, and it wouldn’t make sense for the Suns to spend a third consecutive lottery pick on a raw tweener big.
I also agree with what Dave said, and what most Suns fans are thinking: Tatum is too redundant. He’s not doing anything that Devin Booker and T.J. Warren aren’t already doing, and he might not be better than either one of them.
So that leaves another point guard, though one who will make the Bledsoe decision much harder. No one outside of Ball and Fultz is a no-brainer to make an impact from day one, so putting a competitive roster on the court will be difficult. However, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are each interesting players in their own way. I would guess Fox, Isaac, or Tatum go here.
4. How much do you miss the Lakers pick? So much or so, so, so, so much?
Kellan: I wouldn't blame anyone for quitting Suns fandom if that turns into Luka Doncic or Michael Porter.
Rod: I'm really over it and I'm kind of sick of hearing about it over and over again. Next year it will be completely unprotected and we will finally be able to see what we actually traded away. Then I might or might not be upset about it.
Dave: Well, it would have been kicked down the road AGAIN to 2018. So let's see how it turns out next summer before stressing too much.
Brendon: Just the fact that it actually made it so far as to convey as unprotected is wild and disappointing. I sincerely believe the Suns traded this pick with the belief that it would lose value; instead, it actually appreciated.
Fortunately, they saved face by acquiring next year’s Heat pick, so they should still have two selections in another decent draft next season. There’s still hope.