Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
The Fantable is back and I want to welcome a new member, SouthernSun, to the table this week!
Now on to business.
Josh Jackson was the overwhelming favorite to be selected with the 4th pick in this year's draft in last week's poll. But Jackson might not be on the board when the Suns make their pick. De'Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum and Jonathan Isaac were all roughly equal in the voting after Jackson. If they were the top three in consideration if Jackson is already taken, my first question to our Fantable this week is...
1. If Josh Jackson is gone before the Suns pick, which one of those three (Fox, Tatum & Isaac) do you LEAST want the Suns to draft and why?
GuarGuar: The player I would least want out of those three is De’Aaron Fox. My concern with Fox is not just about whether he can develop a jumpshot (which I am really concerned he can’t). Fox relied heavily on his on ball defense and slashing on offense at the college level. Fox at the NBA combine weighed only 169 pounds (15 more than Ulis to put into perspective). It will be hard to slash and finish through contact at the NBA level at that weight. Also, bigger point guards could have a field day with Fox on them due to the strength difference. Fox is more of a project than people think. It’s one thing for us to take a project at small forward, it’s another to take one at point guard when we already have Bledsoe and Ulis. And if McDonough was sold on taking a point guard at #4, I would suggest Dennis Smith Jr.
Sun-Arc: This is a really tough choice since all three have the potential to be *really* good players. I think Fox is a leader and a winner who raises his game against the best competition but also knows how to step on lesser opponents. Tatum is a scoring savant who could turn out to be at all-star level at some point. Isaac is oozing with potential with tons of versatility and talent. This hurts, but I’m going to say Tatum is who I would want the least- and mainly because of his lack of defensive intensity. Fox and Isaac already have defensive will to go along with talent to score, something we really need more of. But if McD takes Tatum I’ll trust he’ll have the best career of the three until I see otherwise.
SDKyle: Tatum would be my last choice of those three. He has his fans, and rightfully so, but I don't view him as having the huge upside of the other two or a style of play that brings huge benefit to the Suns. He's less athletic than either Fox or Isaac and has fairly average size for his position whereas Isaac and Fox both have the potential to create size mismatches at their positions. While I think he has the most polished offensive game of the three right now, Tatum reminds me of a smaller, weaker version of Markieff Morris. His ISO midrange game can definitely be useful, especially late in the shot clock, but he doesn't do much to address the Suns' primary needs of shooting and defense.
SouthernSun: That's a tough question, because I like one of them significantly more than the other two. The one I would want the most is Tatum. I think he has the highest floor of the three and will be able to contribute immediately, and though he is very young, he seems more NBA ready than the other two. His skills are more polished, and he can hopefully develop into that second offensive star to put beside Booker. Also, while Jackson's defense is the most lauded in the draft, numbers show that Tatum wasn't that far off from him defensively, and he has more length.
As for the other two, while both are certainly good prospects, both present their own problems. Isaac probably projects best as a small ball PF, but he can play SF, which is where he would play for the Suns. I think Isaac may very well become a fantastic NBA player. He is a project, though. He isn't nearly as polished as someone like Jackson (or Tatum), and he doesn't have a skill that he could really be considered really great at (Jackson's playmaking from the wing/defense and Tatum's scoring). Isaac definitely has the length and decent enough athleticism to become a great defender who can switch from guards to bigs with ease while also being able to hit the outside shot on offense, but... didn't we just draft that player last year (see: Bender, Dragan)? He is yet another project who I cannot really get excited for. However, he can be played at SF, so he would at least be able to be drafted without having to make any other big moves to accommodate him.
Which brings me to Aaron Da Fox (what da fox say?), as Tim would call him. Relax, I know his actual name. This is the one of the three that I would least like to see the Suns draft. Fox is a point guard, and picking him would probably mean having to trade Bledsoe, either now or soon. What do you get for him? If all you can get is a late lottery pick or something like that, it doesn't make any sense, and then you have Bledsoe, Fox, and Ulis, all needing minutes at PG. I have nothing against Fox as a prospect, I just don't like him for the Suns, because it requires too much roster overhaul, and makes us trade our best player for probably less than he's worth, instead of just drafting a similar talent who can easily slide into our rotation at SF. As for his actual basketball abilities, and not an analysis of his fit with this team, I would say he has the chance to be a very good player. Perhaps a phenomenal one. He's got a long way to go, but he has all the potential in the world. If he can develop any semblance of an outside shot, like John Wall has, he could be deadly. However, if he is unable to develop that part of his game, and that's certainly a possibility, that could severely limit his ceiling. Perhaps how he finished the year was a good portent, as he certainly shot it a lot better there at the end than he did for the majority of the year.
Our second question is about Ryan McDonough.
2. Do you think that Suns GM Ryan McDonough is on the hot seat and how important is it to his future job security that he selects well in this draft?
GuarGuar: I do feel Ryan McDonough is on the hot seat to an extent. I definitely feel the gem that is Devin Booker bought McD some time. Somehow I do believe Robert Sarver is on board with this youth movement direction for the Suns (but you never know with him). However, I feel McDonough’s job comes down to this draft pick. After all this tanking this past season, if this #4 pick turns out to not be so great… I think McD is gone. This is why I feel our pick this year will be either Jackson, DSJ, or Tatum. I really can’t see McDonough taking another long term project player (like Isaac, Fox, or Ntilikina) with his job on the line. I expect our pick to be someone who can contribute immediately to the team. For a GM that has been known to be successful in his draft history, McDonough is gonna need to come through one more time in order to keep his job.
Sun-Arc: He is to some degree, as evident by his contract not getting extended beyond this coming season. Which, BTW, I think is kind of ridiculous. Who does Sarver expect to get here that would be better, particularly after letting Ryan go after just four years following the genius of Lance Blanks, the worst GM the Suns have ever seen. What is complicated about this is that McD has the right mindset for drafting: You take the player that will have the best career. Not who will be best in year one. Do you want him to change that to appease the owner or continue to do what is right? It’s a failing team but seems to be getting better through a youth movement. I think what the team does this year is more important to his job than this individual pick will be.
SDKyle: McD isn't immediately on the hot seat, but if he gets this pick glaringly "wrong" it will undoubtedly be a major factor in his firing later on if the Suns don't start winning some games around the 2019 timeline that McD himself established. He gets some more bites at the apple next season when the Suns look to have probably at least one top 10 pick, so the bottom line is that the only threat to McD's job security is losing too many games in the next three or so seasons.
SouthernSun: I don't think any of us can actually answer this question and feel confident in our answer. Who knows what the relationship between Sarver and McDonough is like, what is said behind closed doors, any ultimatums that have or have not been given to him. We can only make assumptions. My own assumption is that yes, McDonough has been told that there needs to be marked improvement in performance next season, and so that will of course impact his decisions at draft time. I don't think Sarver said "you better find a guy who can produce like KAT in his rookie year or you're gone", but I do, however, think that Sarver expects some improvement, and that will play into his decision whether to keep McDonough past this coming season. McDonough will, in my opinion, select the player he feels will be able to contribute the most immediately, while still having a high ceiling. Barring any big trades, I see him drafting whichever of Jackson or Tatum are there when he picks. If the team can improve in the win column up into the 30s this next season, McDonough's job is safe. If not, I expect Sarver to move on to whoever he thinks can have this roster "contending by 2020."
Once again many thanks to our Fantable... GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and newcomer SouthernSun!
2016-17 Season Highlights
Suns vs Knicks (Jan. 21) - Full Highlights.
Dragan Bender Season Highlights
Quote of the Week
This is an old quote of Earl Watson but a funny one made before a game against the Raptors this past season.
Earl Watson on growth of young Suns: "Every day is a day closer to our guys being legal." Was then told in Canada they're good.— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) January 22, 2017
News & Notes
Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker featured in latest edition of Jimmy Kimmel's 'Mean Tweets' ABC15 Arizona
Fox Sports: Two former Phoenix Suns among best to never win a ring. Arizona Sports
NBA draft: Phoenix Suns intrigued by versatile SMU forward Semi Ojeleye. Doug Haller/AZCentral
Lottery sleepers Anunoby, Ntilikina could fill Suns’ perimeter defense need. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports
The Suns all-time leader in career points per game average is Charlie Scott who played with the Suns for four seasons (1971-72 to 1974-75). Scott had a career average of 24.82 ppg as a Sun. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1970 but decided to sign with the Virginia Squires of the old ABA. He was the ABA Rookie of the Year averaging 27.1 ppg with the Squires and in his second season set the ABA record for the highest scoring average in one season (34.6 ppg). Scott was a three time Suns All-Star player in 1973, 1974 and 1975. After the 1974-75 season he was traded to Boston for Paul Westphal. The following season Charlie Scott won an NBA Championship ring with the Celtics in the 1975-76 season finals verses his old team... the Phoenix Suns.
Statistics courtesy of Land of Basketball.com.
Suns History in Video
2009-2010 Season Highlights
Wild & Crazy Trade Rumors/Proposals
It's been a while since I've seen any of these but they are starting to pop up again. These are provided ONLY for entertainment value and are not suggestions that the Suns should actually make any of the trade ideas referenced here.
Suns/76ers trade idea: Suns trade Eric Bledsoe and Dragan Bender for T.J. McConnell, Gerald Henderson and Jahlil Okafor. This isn't a completely terrible trade proposal but the Sixers most definitely win this one. In my opinion, the only way that the Suns trade Bledsoe is if they are going to take a point guard in this year's draft and T.J. McConnell would just be extra baggage with Tyler Ulis already on the roster. Gerald Henderson... he probably would be a better backup for Booker than Knight but Knight isn't included in the deal. I know that Okafor has some supporters among Suns fans but I'd rather Keep Bender and see how he develops... plus the suns already have Chandler on the books and Len and Williams both as RFAs this year. Offensively Okafor makes sense but the Suns are already a poor defensive team and this would just make the interior defense worse.
I would not make this deal... and I'm not alone in my thinking.
Really funny to read a Sixers blog criticizing the Suns and then proposing a ridiculous "who says no?" scenario. https://t.co/jbSjEtPdiY— Espo (@Espo) June 3, 2017
Previewing the Weeks/Months Ahead
More pre-draft workouts coming this week.
Draft date, June 22nd.
Summer League play, July 1st - 17th.
Free Agency begins July 1st.
Last Week's Poll Results
The question was, "Who do you want the Suns to draft with the #4 pick?" The results were:
63% - Josh Jackson
12% - De'Aaron Fox
10% - Jayson Tatum
9% - Jonathan Isaac
1% - Malik Monk
4% - Dennis Smith
2% - Another player
There were a total of 569 votes cast.
This week's poll is...
How many wins do you think it will take this season to make Ryan McDonough's job safe?
This poll is closed
It doesn’t matter. McD’s job is already safe.