This is where it starts to get exciting. We’re now less than two weeks out from the NBA Draft and the Phoenix Suns are in a great spot to be one of the more talked about teams come June 22. Whether it’s smokescreens, trade rumors or draft workouts, the Suns will certainly be involved in all scenarios frequently.
The next eleven days, I will be answering mailbag questions of anything you ask about the draft Suns-related until they’re on the clock. In the first installment, many were wondering about a possible point guard domino that could take place and much more.
Suns take Fox with the 4th pick...what does a Bledsoe trade look like?— Noah Cook (@noahmcook) June 8, 2017
If De’Aaron Fox is the selection at No. 4, I would imagine this move causes some sort of tension with Eric Bledsoe and the front office. Some are in the camp of keeping Bledsoe around regardless of which point guard is taken, but really outside of Frank Ntilikina, I’m on board with sending the Suns’ best player on his way. Might as well commit to the full-on youth movement and have a top lottery selection gel alongside Devin Booker, right?
When looking at possible Bledsoe moves, five teams stand out for who will start calling the Suns if they take Fox or Dennis Smith Jr.: Minnesota, New York, Dallas, Detroit, and Denver. From an odds perspective, I would say Dallas and Detroit are the two most likely Bledsoe destinations of those mentioned.
Dallas, while in the swansong of Dirk Nowitzki’s career, could decide to make one last run at the playoffs, while also adding in a point guard upgrade to build around Nerlens Noel. They could see Bledsoe as the trade piece if New York takes Frank Ntilikina, who the Mavericks are reportedly very high on and have been one of the more active teams in scouting him.
A Bledsoe trade between these two would likely be something revolving around those two main pieces heading back on both sides.
Here’s how I would see it shaking out:
Dallas - Eric Bledsoe
Phoenix - No. 9 and Dwight Powell
For someone of Bledsoe’s caliber, probably not the best offer on the table, but I’m very confident one of these three names will still be on the board at No. 9: Smith Jr., Ntilikina or Malik Monk. For a team looking to hit the restart button on a full-on rebuild, here’s your chance to find your point guard of the future while keeping Tyler Ulis’ minutes high enough in the rotation. Personally, I think Ulis has carved out a 15-20 minute role niche in more for the second unit.
Meanwhile, a Detroit deal makes much more sense for both parties. Not only have these teams been in prior discussions around Bledsoe and Drummond in February, but both are back on the trading block it seems right before draft night. Also, the Pistons are looking to move the No. 12 pick anyways, as Stan Van Gundy is trying to overhaul his roster.
Bledsoe not only would be an immediate upgrade over Reggie Jackson but fits the mold of an SVG-type point guard. He has high-end leadership intangibles alongside high-end production. The Pistons would take Bledsoe every day of the week over Jackson.
Some Suns fans seem on the fence about this, but Andre Drummond is a good piece in Phoenix. Sure, he’s not a good shooter and someone that will need to be taken off the court in crunch-time situations. However, Drummond would fit the team’s identity of establishing a better defensive culture. Whatever way you slice it, Drummond can still produce on defense and rebounding, while tossing in impact nights on offense as a lob threat in transition.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but pairing Drummond alongside Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender in the frontcourt isn’t the worst idea when collecting another lottery pick.
Here’s how this deal would look, I think:
Detroit - Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler, Future 1st (possibly 2018 or 2021 Miami selection?)
Phoenix - Andre Drummond, No. 12
Detroit possibly throws in another player or extra pick down the line to sweeten the deal for Ryan McDonough, but this seems like a win-win for both sides. For someone Phoenix should target at No. 12, one name stands out: Donovan Mitchell from Louisville. Not only would Mitchell fit with his freakish defensive measurables, but he can also create for himself while playing on and off-ball in the Suns’ fast-paced system. Mitchell seems like a compatible fit alongside Booker, too.
Another prospect who would slide into a significant role immediately is OG Anunoby. If the Suns pull the trigger on Fox, keep an eye out for Anunoby to fill that defensive wing role they desperately need to add.
who do you hope is available for us with the 32nd pick?— mike nothum (@mikenothum) June 8, 2017
In terms of prospects who the Suns should be hoping are on the board at No. 32, Jordan Bell and Josh Hart stick out like a sore thumb. Bell’s stock continues to rise and I’d be shocked if he lasts now until 32, I’d imagine his range is anywhere from 18-29 as of this moment. If Bell somehow slips through the cracks, though, McDonough needs to have them sprint the card up. The former Duck would be a perfect fit in Phoenix on defense alongside his fit in transition.
I explained more on Bell here when he visited Friday, but let's dive into Hart.
The senior from Villanova would not only come in and fill an immediate shooting role but would fit seamlessly into this locker room. Hart not only can create for himself but others as a secondary PnR ball handler, while being able to break down defenders off spot-ups and being hit off passes from bigs such as Bender.
McDonough and various scouts have also watched Hart three times since workouts began. Phoenix brought the former Wildcat in for a draft workout, then proceeded to visit him alongside Dwayne Bacon for a pro day. This last week, Hart held another workout which was attended by Suns personnel.
Safe to say the interest is there and seems to be pretty heavy from the Suns. Who knows if they would move up for Hart, but outside of Bell, he’s my pick for BPA at No. 32.
Philly trading back for the 5&10 from Sac so they can get Monk and whoever else of their pleasing thus us having a better chance of Jackson?— Gervais Dos Santos (@TriniAssassin69) June 9, 2017
Rumor has it that Sacramento plans to be aggressive on draft night with their two top-ten selections. Whether it’s simply moving up one spot with Phoenix or all the way up to No. 1 to get Markelle Fultz, the Kings will be working the phones lines up until then. If they are unable to swing a deal for Fultz or Lonzo Ball in the top three, De’Aaron Fox would be somebody who makes perfect sense for them long-term.
For this scenario, let’s say the top two plays out how we expect it to with Fultz and Ball heading to Boston and Los Angeles respectively. Would Sacramento panic and move ahead of the Suns thinking that they would take Fox? Honestly, they really might.
The Kings have good building blocks already in Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. All they need is a leader at the 1 spot who can fill the void that Hield has on defense. And if Fox develops his shot, watch out.
If Sacramento and Philadelphia work out a trade or the Sixers just take Monk, as Tim Connelly was hyping up his performance at Talking Stick, that’s a perfect scenario for Phoenix. Not only would they get Jackson, but they wouldn’t have to move anything to get him. Jackson was the top choice for the Suns before the lottery, in terms of scheme fit, and it shouldn’t change now.
Better prospect/fit: Isaac or Tatum?— Jacob Ray (@JacobTaylorRay) June 8, 2017
On my big board, Jonathan Isaac is ranked No. 4 while Jayson Tatum comes in at No. 8. Why do I think Isaac is not only the better prospect but by far the better fit in Phoenix? It’s due to the defensive versatility that he would provide alongside a still developing offensive repertoire that could develop into a nice secondary scorer with high energy.
Isaac has guard skills in a 6’11” frame while offering a team someone who could guard players 2-5 all switches. Outside of Anunoby, no other prospect comes close to offering the potential the former Seminole offers. With his perimeter shot alongside a great form, I’m comfortable with Isaac playing 20-25 minutes a game at small forward, with Chriss and Bender constantly switching on matchups.
Tatum will be a prospect who will take many dribble opportunities from Booker and Warren, meanwhile, Isaac can be efficient off plays not drawn off for him. Isaac’s thrived off cuts and second-chance opportunities. His speed is also enticing for someone his size. That’s a weapon that will be in full use during transition, a prime fit for one of the NBA’s faster offenses.
For a dream Suns draft night scenario, it would be Isaac at four and then move Bledsoe to Dallas for Dennis Smith Jr. if he slips past Orlando and New York. Alongside that, use some assets and move up from No. 32 and get Jordan Bell in the late first round. Instantly, Phoenix officially kicks off a rebuild around Booker’s game and offers them a secondary scorer right off the bat in Smith Jr. and Warren. Isaac would be the wildcard the Suns could throw out as a defensive stopper. I would probably say I’m higher on him than most as a fit in Phoenix.
According to John Gambodoro, McDonough and Co. have already worked out Isaac in Las Vegas, so it will be interesting to see if he’s in town over the next week in front of media. With the Suns, though, they love to play it close to the vest.
As far as a fit for Tatum, I would say it’s not as compatible as others on the board. Isaac and Fox would be better for what management wants to build.
Tatum relies heavily on ISO ball in his offense, which will be an adjustment period year one. I’d be surprised if he’s doing it early at least. Also, in games I focused on Tatum, he seemed passive at times and was having a difficult time as a spot-up shooter.
With Warren already on the roster and in a contract year, it would be a confusing selection to pick someone with a similar style. However, I have a feeling McDonough would take Tatum over all options if Jackson is swooped up by Philadelphia.
Who do you believe is the better prospect and fit for the Suns?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke