It was McDonough’s first draft running the Suns and also one of the weirdest draft classes in recent NBA history. Even by draft night, there was nothing close to a consensus No. 1 guy thanks to Nerlens Noel’s injuries and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s anonymity.
Still, the Suns wanted Victor Oladipo.
“We offered the fifth pick plus a few other things to get up to the No. 1 pick and we were going to draft (Victor Oladipo) ... Long story short, we called the Cavaliers. David Stern had put the Cavaliers on the clock to start the draft. We called the Cavaliers and thought we might have a deal and be picking No. 1 and the Cavs called back ... and said, ‘no deal.’
“And I said, ‘Who are you guys taking at No. 1? The draft’s started, the countdown clock has started.’ The guy said, ‘I’m not sure yet.’”
Many online have reacted to this retelling by shrugging their shoulders because the Suns got Devin Booker two years later, but to me, Oladipo would have been a fantastic fit alongside Booker. Oladipo is the exact type of combo playmaker and defensive chess piece that would make life easier on Booker. Too bad.
This also shows that while we think of the 2016 draft as McDonough’s shoot-for-the-moon masterpiece (please read that with all the sarcasm you can imagine), McDonough was aggressive from the jump. The Suns ended up taking Alex Len at No. 5 that year and T.J. Warren at No. 14 the following June, then Booker. But we can imagine they were similarly aggressive every year despite liking Booker and Warren.
So if your day was going a little too well and you’re the type of person who is pained by revisionist histories, just think: The Suns could have had Oladipo and Booker for the last four years.