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McDonough riffs on Suns off season: coaching search, draft and free agency

Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough said all the right things in a facebook live interview on the Suns page yesterday.

NBA: Phoenix Suns-Press Conference Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of finding out that Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough feels the same way about the Suns’ offseason as most of the world’s population does.

Let’s take advantage of azcentral’s beat writer Scott Bordow, who took the time to drop some edibles on twitter for us to digest and smile about.

Wide open coaching search

Deep sigh of relief.

After ignoring logic three years ago and simply hiring the completely unqualified Earl Watson to coach the Suns without the benefit of a single other candidate interview, it looks like the Suns will at least have a formal coaching search when the season is over.

This doesn’t mean the Suns will actually pay more than league minimum for their next coach, or that he or she (Becky Hammon, anyone?) will be any good, or that they even know how to coach a complex defense to college-age kids.

It just means the Suns will hear several people’s vision of what THEY would do with the Suns roster going forward, and allow the Suns to pick the person who’s vision and pedigree they like the best. And maybe, just maybe, that coach will be worth more than the lowest paid coaches in the game.

None of Terry Porter (2008-2009), Alvin Gentry (2009-2012), Lindsey Hunter (2012), Jeff Hornacek (2013-2015), Earl Watson (2015-2017) or Jay Triano (2017-present) earned higher than the lowest salary among NBA coaches.

Let’s hope the next Suns coach breaks that mold.

Trading up or out

Yes, it would be folly to add three to five more 18-22 year olds to the already-youngest roster in the league. The Suns project to own 3 of the top 16 picks in the draft, plus a pair of second-round picks, one of which will be just outside the first round.

So yeah, they will be looking to use those picks to trade up, like they did in 2016 in trading 13, 28, and a couple of other assets to take Chriss at #8 after taking Bender at #4 overall, or they will trade out - using those non-Top-5 picks to acquire veteran players to strengthen the NBA maturity of the roster.

But keep that top pick

In what could be the best top end of the draft in years, there’s no way the Suns will drop down or out of their top pick. Sure, they might try to trade up if the lotto balls put them lower than 1 or 2 overall, but don’t expect another team to fall for it.

Regardless, the Suns WILL take a young player with their top pick unless someone like Anthony Davis somehow becomes available (he won’t).

It’s nice to hear the Suns are targeting a big man moreso than a point guard. I think this comment means that the Suns won’t “reach” for a Trae Young or Collin Sexton in the Top 5.

Sure, if 6’8” 225 pound PG Luka Doncic is sitting there and the Suns’ top 1-2 big men are already gone, you might see the Slovenian become the Phoenix Sun.

But much more likely is that the Suns will take DeAndre Ayton (if they get #1 overall, because that’s where Ayton’s going), or Mo Bamba or Jaren Jackson Jr. or Marvin Bagley Jr. (if they get 2-5).

I like this.

More veterans

The Suns went all in this year with the rebuild, keeping only Tyson Chandler (34 years old going on 40) and Jared Dudley (32 going on 62) and Troy Daniels (26) as rotation veterans around a dozen players 20-24 years old, making up the league’s youngest “playing age” roster.

That roster began the season with a pair of 42+ point losses in their first three games, and then capped off the pre-All-Star break ANOTHER pair of 40+ point losses, while keeping their firm lead on the league’s worst defense and nearly worst-offense in all the games in between.

Sounds like the Suns brass doesn’t like how it’s turned out either.

Let’s see what that means. Hopefully, it means high quality vets who don’t hold back a young player who could someday soon be better than them. I wouldn’t bring in a starting-quality small forward if he takes time away from Josh Jackson, nor would I bring in a starting-quality shooting guard or anyone who would push the upcoming Top-5 pick deeper onto the bench.


Who knows what 2018-19 will bring, but at least it sounds like we will see a new coach and more balanced, professional roster along with another pillar for the Timeline in terms of Ayton/Bagley/JJJ/Bamba around Devin Booker and Josh Jackson, and maybe even Elfrid Payton.

I’m good with all this.

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