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Center of the Sun: Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo and George King are all now Phoenix Suns!

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It took 5 draft picks to get 4 players but it should turn out to be the best draft ever for the Suns.

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Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Well, the 2018 NBA Draft is finally behind us... as is (hopefully) the divisiveness that seemed to run rampant before the draft over which player the suns should select with their first ever #1 draft pick. I haven’t run across many fans who are truly unhappy with the way the draft turned out but - as always - there have been a few grumbles here and there.

Surprisingly, those grumbles largely haven’t been about who the Suns drafted but what they gave up to get one of those players. As almost everyone is aware of, the Suns actually drafted Zhaire Smith with the 16th pick but then quickly traded him and the unprotected 2021 draft pick they acquired from Miami in the Goran Dragic trade for Mikal Bridges who was selected 10th by Philadelphia. It could be a high price to pay but that won’t be known for certain until the 2021 draft rolls around.

Miami could bottom out by then and it could be a top 10 or even a top 5 draft pick. But Pat Riley could also continue to rework the Heat over the next few years and they could still be a playoff team and possibly a better team than they are today which could land that pick somewhere between 20-30. But even that could prove valuable IF - and it is a big if - the NBA does away with the present “one-and-done” rule in 2021 and that year has a double draft class, a class made up of the last group of one-and-done’s and the first group of players eligible for the draft straight out of high school since 2005.

But 2021 isn’t the definitive date for the end of the one-and-done rule, it’s just the earliest time being considered at the moment.

Regardless of the price, I’m happy with our four new draftees and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Suns make out in free agency and trades this summer. Any major free agency signings should be done by mid-July and trade season should really kick into gear shortly afterward. The new rookies are very good good additions to the Suns but it will still be a while before we start to get a clearer picture of what the 2018-19 Suns will really look like. Our new draftees are after all only a part of that equation. There will be some other new faces on the team before training camp begins... and likely some familiar faces will be missing by then too.

But for now, I’ve asked the Fantable a few questions to get their opinions on how the Suns handled the draft and on our new rookies.


Fantable Questions of the Week

1. What is your opinion on how the Suns made out in the draft overall?

2. What are your opinions of each player the Suns selected?

3. Are there players that the Suns passed on that you wish they had taken instead of who they selected?

GuarGuar: 1. Overall, I’m very happy with how our draft night went. All our picks addressed major team needs and we got some great talent. Regarding the Bridges trade, I like Mikal a lot more than Zhaire, so I can see why McDonough made the move. That 2021 Miami pick is very valuable though, so Mikal better pan out. Booker, Bridges, Jackson, and Ayton are all extremely talented young players. But maybe more importantly, they all complement each other beautifully. I’d give a B+/A- overall for the night. The young core is now set and it’s time to win!

2. Deandre Ayton - I can’t really argue with taking Ayton at #1. He’s extremely talented for someone who is 7’1 with a 7’5 wingspan. If his 3 point shot develops, he’s truly a superstar offensive talent. I think Ayton will be a solid perimeter defender for bigs, allowing him to stay on the floor in today’s NBA. Switch-ability is HUGE nowadays, and I think Ayton will be just fine. Whether the rim protection comes or not is the big question. Even if it doesn’t, Ayton should be a very solid player and hopefully an All-Star in future years. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the hometown kid who will fill up the seats.

Mikal Bridges - I LOVE the acquisition of Bridges. He’s a perfect fit next to Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. His 3 point shooting covers for JJ and his defense covers for Book. I preached all off-season long how I didn’t want to bring in more than 1 rookie as part of our core rotation next year. However, taking a seasoned rookie who is 22 is fine by me. Mikal has skills that will immediately contribute to winning and I’m very excited to have him. Don’t be surprised if this is the kid who Philly looks back on in 4-5 years wishing they took who could have helped them win a chip. I got a sneaky feeling Mikal is going to be a fan favorite.

Elie Okobo - Great value at #31. Most experts/mocks had him going in the late teens/20s so to get him at 31 is really good. Probably ends up being Ulis’s replacement and our backup point guard of the future. Man this kid can shoot. Hopefully his defense improves from what it was in France. Great pick.

George King - This isn’t Alec Peters of last year for me where I got uber excited. I’d be surprised if King made the roster but I wish him the best. His skills do fit team needs though.

3. I slightly preferred Doncic over Ayton, but I’m not going to say I wished we took him over Ayton. I don’t know or have scouted nearly as much as the Suns staff. I trust they made the right decision and hope Ayton is a superstar. I just hope the main reason they drafted him was because of his talent/skill, and not because media/AZ fanbase made them feel pressured. I don’t think that’s the case and I certainly hope not. This was a great draft and I’m extremely excited about the Suns future! We are rising!

Sun-Arc: 1. This draft went better than my expectations in terms of the rookies we got. But I did not actually expect them to be able to trade back into the top ten. And they did. I love that we got Mikal Bridges. I love his game. I would have been really happy with Ayton and Zhaire Smith (someone high on my list) but when I found out we got MB instead, I was even happier.

Overall, I think the Suns did very well drafting. I was hoping to trade #16, 31, 59 + maybe a player or two for a really good PG vet like Kemba Walker. So, that is a bit disappointing. Having said that, Bridges should contribute soon if not right away and may end up better than any (more expensive) 3&D vet we could have traded for. And we may still get the trade or FA acquisition for a vet PG I want, so we’ll see.

2. I would have been happy with Ayton, Doncic, or JJJ with the first pick; in that preferred order. But Ayton/Doncic was super close for me. I’ve been watching replays of the Pac-12 tournament so I could really focus on Ayton and I’ve been really impressed with what I saw. I think his defense is underrated and his offense is amazing. He’s quick footed, athletic, and seemingly has the desire to be truly great. Let’s hope that happens.

I think the Bridges trade itself and how it went down is interesting. From Philly’s side; they got a really good prospect in Smith plus that future MIA pick. It’s a good swap for both teams, IMO. Smith was going to be a bit of a project and may never turn out to be that great of a shooter. Bridges is almost assuredly become a NBA 3&D player that will contribute in his first season or two- but with more scoring versatility than Smith. He’s a great fit for the modern NBA and, I think, will be a great ‘glue guy’ in the league. We needed defense, versatility, and shooting and he brings all that and championship pedigree.

Okobo will be a project. My guess is he’ll be in northern AZ for a season or two. He has a lot of potential and I didn’t think he’d last to 31, but was one of the people I had hoped we would take there. He shot close to 40% from three on a darn high rate of attempts in Europe. He’s got the size and ability to become a very good defender. Could be a great player to pair with Booker if he develops well.

3. First pick: I’m happy with Ayton. Doncic will be really good too and I wish we could have gotten both, ultimately. Or Doncic and JJJ for a fully modern NBA team. But Ayton should be special and the fit is great.

Sixteenth: Again, I’m really happy with the trade. I would have been happy with Zhaire. I would not have been quite as happy at 16 with Holiday or Donte, which appeared to be our targets. If we had our pick of players at #10 I still would have gone with Mikal. So I’m really happy here too.

Thirty-first: One player I was really interested in was De’Anthony Melton at 31. But that he dropped all the way down to 46 may be telling. Maybe his shot still wasn’t good, or maybe there were other red flags with him. Shamet (#26=not available) and Milton (#54) also intrigued me as good shooters with versatility, and both ended up with the 76ers. But Milton must have red flags I wasn’t aware of to drop that low and Shamet wasn’t available. In the end, what I would have wanted (besides a trade for a vet) would have been a 3&D PG with high upside. And we got that in Okobo - so I like the pick.

Fifty-ninth: I don’t know much about George King. I may see if I can watch a game with him to get a sense of it. But from what I’ve read he seems like a potentially good 3&D player. I’m sure he’ll see time up north as well. Honestly I didn’t really scout people past around #45, so I don’t know who I might have preferred.

SDKyle: 1. I am generally happy with how the draft turned out. I would still have preferred that the Suns trade their non-number one picks in a deal for an established player, but I have no qualms with the players we took. If we were going to use these picks, these were good choices.

I do think we’ll miss the Miami pick in a season or so... it would have been a nice piece to use in a deal to hopefully get our developing team “over the top.” But I won’t fault McD for being aggressive.

2. Ayton - Ayton was my choice and I’m quite pleased to have added him to the Suns. He’ll contribute right away, and I predict that Suns fans will be pleasantly surprised at his effectiveness on defense after five months of this “Ayton sucks on defense” narrative. He adds a whole new dimension to this team.

Bridges - There’s a lot to like about Bridges. He’s an excellent shooter, versatile defender, and comes from a winning culture at Villanova. I’m really not entirely sure how I see him fitting with the Suns, what his future role is, but upon reflection that doesn’t really matter at this point. He’s a quality talent with skills the Suns need.

Okobo - Good choice at this point in the draft. There’s a high chance Okobo doesn’t stick in the league, but he has potential. Will he be the next Archie Goodwin or will he be running point in Phoenix two years from now? Right now I’ll go 80/20 the former, but here’s hoping.

King - At the end of the draft you’re really just looking for someone who has a chance to pan out. King has an alright shooting touch, is pretty athletic, and plays bigger than his size. He has pretty limited upside and I’m guessing he’ll spend the majority of the year with NAZ. But again, end of draft. Anything positive he contributes would be a win.

3. Honestly...no. There was nobody I was really in love with outside the top 5 or 6, and I’m not generally inclined to be disappointed about draft selections. I’m excited for anew season that hopefully brings a lot more winning.

SouthernSun: 1. I think the Suns made out very well in the draft. They didn’t do exactly what I wanted them to, but they got some nice talent. That 2021 pick was a nice asset, but it was an unknown. Nobody has a real idea of how bad or good the Heat will be that year. I think getting a really good player from this draft at #10 was worth the #16 and a future unknown.

2. Ayton - Ayton is a monster. I’m excited to see him play. I expect his defensive issues to be a little overblown. I think he’ll actually end up being at least not a minus on that end. His offense is where he will really shine though. He can do it all. Bang down low, shoot it out to three point range, run the floor, he’s a decent passer for a big, and he’s a freakish athlete. Joel Embiid with two good legs. Get excited Suns fans.

Bridges - He gives us another chance at an elite role player. Even if Jackson doesn’t become one (which I think he will), Bridges is probably just as good as him already. Their skill sets are a little different, but both hang their hat on their defense. Which is exactly what Booker needs around him on the perimeter.

Okobo - Um... he seems alright. I find it hard to get excited for a player I fully expect to either wind up a backup point guard, or in Europe in 3 years. I hope he gets traded in whatever trade the Suns make for a point guard this summer. The Suns have plenty of ho hum options at backup point they could bring in, but they need a starter. I for one thought it was humorous when an article came out the night of the draft saying “Suns draft their point guard of the future in Okobo.”

King or something - Please let the Suns immediately include him in a trade of some sort. The Suns have zero need for a rookie drafted at the very end of the 2nd round to play minutes next season. Also, in the group picture I saw of the Suns draftees, he’s the only one who wasn’t smiling. Even Bridges was smiling, and the Suns ripped him from his mother’s arms and his hometown (and a playoff team) to come to 110 degree weather and the worst team in the NBA.

3. Nope. I’m extremely happy with Ayton and Bridges and don’t know enough about the players projected to go in the 2nd round to have an opinion on them other than assuming that about 90% of them won’t be in the NBA in 3 years. I still wish the Suns had made a trade for a veteran point guard, but I suppose that’s bound to happen in the coming weeks, so I should be happy with Mikal. If they had traded up for SGA instead then I would have been a little worried that no vet PG is being obtained.

Alex Sylvester: 1. Well, tip of the cap to you McDonough. This draft is an A for me. Not an A+ because it would’ve been nice to put a protection on the Miami pick. Still, kudos to you Ryan.

2. I’ve been a pro-Ayton guy the whole draft process so this pick was a success for me. No need to further expand.

Once the #11 pick came up (Charlotte), I started to get antsy about trading up for Michael Porter Jr. “Why is he sliding so low, did his medical info come back bad?”, I’m starting to think to myself. Gambo then proceeds to tweet that we traded with the Clippers, and I was ecstatic. Little did I know, this information was errant and the Suns were on the clock at 16.

Finding a way to pick up the best 3/D prospect in the draft, and also the guy who’s an immediate contributor was a huge pickup by McD. Mikal Bridges will be able to play the 3 and eventually the 4 in the league for a long time and fills a huge void that the Suns have had for years. The Miami pick doesn’t concern me to give up considering the pedigree that Pat Riley has as a GM that’ll always look to compete. Not only this, but I feel as thought the Heat will be able to attract some type of star player by 2020 and will be off the hook from some bad contracts by then. This pick should convey somewhere between 15-25 is my bet.

Managing to pick up an incredibly promising French point guard in Elie Okobo was the icing on the cake. He will fight for backup PG minutes and look forward to what he brings to the table in a few years. Congrats to King for being drafted as well!

3. I might’ve taken a flyer on Giannis Aantetokounmpo’s younger brother (with #59) but that’s not a huge concern to me. Honestly, all the guys we picked up are who I wanted!

Many thanks again to our Fantable - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle, SouthernSun and Alex Sylvester - for all their input!


2017-18 Season Highlights

Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns highlights Dec 18 2017

Isaiah Canaan 17 Points/6 Assists Full Highlights (12/18/2017)


Quotes of the Week

”Playing with some veterans will put these guys in position to be successful as rookies and that’s something we value. We were aggressive (in the draft) and we’re going to continue to be aggressive as soon as free agency starts.” - Ryan McDonough


Interesting Suns Stuff


News & Notes

Suns to target point guard, stretch four in free agency. Scott Bordow/AZCentral Sports

Suns’ latest NBA Draft choices add on more decisions for crucial offseason. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns, Igor Kokoskov finalize 2018-19 coaching staff. Arizona Sports

Fitting trade: Deal for Mikal Bridges is win-now move for Suns. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

The Three Most Interesting Teams of the 2018 NBA Draft. The Ringer

Phoenix Suns guard Troy Daniels reflects upon ‘great year’ in NBA. The Roanoke Times

Recap Of 2018 NBA Draft-Day Trades. Hoops Rumors


Suns History in Video

The 1990 Phoenix Suns

LA Lakers @ Phoenix Suns - 11-25-95 - AMAZING comeback win!


Suns Trivia

Igor Kokoskov is the 19th head coach of the Suns. Of those 19, only he, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Jerry Colangelo, John McLeod, Alvin Gentry and Jay Triano never played in the NBA before becoming NBA head coaches. Jay Triano was drafted by the LA Lakers in 1981 (8th round, 179th pick overall) but was cut during training camp and never played in the NBA. Triano was also drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in the sixth round of the 1981 CFL Draft.


Previewing the Weeks (and Months) Ahead

June 25 - NBA awards show (9 pm ET on TNT).

June 29 - Last day for decisions on player, team and early termination options, unless individual contracts specify otherwise.

June 30 - Last official day of the 2017/18 NBA league year. Last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency.

July 1 - Official start of the 2018/19 NBA league year. July moratorium begins. NBA free agency officially begins (12:01 am ET) and free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts.

July 6 - July moratorium ends (11:00am CT). Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.

July 6-17 - 2018 NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)

  • July 6 - Suns vs Mavericks @ 6:30 pm AZT on ESPN
  • July 7 - Suns vs Kings @ 4:30 pm AZT on ESPN
  • July 9 - Suns vs Magic @ 6:30 pm AZT on NBA TV
  • Tournament play follows the three game schedule, opponents and game times TBD.

July 13 - Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

July 15 - Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned first-round picks; those players become free agents on July 16 if not tendered.

August 31 - Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2018/19 salaries.

September 5 - Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.

Late September (specific dates TBA) - Training camps open.


Last Week’s Poll Results

The poll was, “Do you think that Brandon Knight can be a positive contributor for the Suns this season?”

88% - Yes.

12% - No.

There were a total of 526 votes cast.


This week’s poll is:

Poll

How do you grade the Suns’ draft day performance?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    A
    (444 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (121 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F
    (2 votes)
583 votes total Vote Now