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Sports Illustrated: Suns might pass on Zion Williamson

Could your Suns do the unthinkable?

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Washington DC Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Could your Phoenix Suns, an organization so inept that they actually had to be bullied into performing the basic duties of a professional basketball franchise, actually pass on Zion Williamson should they land the top overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft?

At least one widely read sports publication thinks they might.

Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated thinks Zion goes number one but argues that the Suns could “best rationalize” not burning the top pick on Williamson.

While there’s always a chance, this one is relatively slim: Williamson, who has been the consensus top prospect dating back to roughly mid-November, has too many factors going for him not to be the selection at this point. You have almost certainly heard of him, so you probably already know that he just had one of the most dominant individual college seasons ever at Duke. His explosive athleticism, plus feel and instincts for making plays on both ends of the floor make up a set of strengths we’ve never quite seen to this particular degree. There isn’t a great argument for anyone else ahead of him, although Murray State point guard Ja Morant comes with a whole lot of upside, and Williamson’s Duke teammate R.J. Barrett was generally viewed as the draft’s top prospect coming into the season.

While there’s always the philosophical question of need versus prioritizing top talent, at this point, the optics of not taking Williamson first overall would be a negative for any rebuilding franchise. The team that could best rationalize passing on him would be the point guard-needy Suns (for whom Morant would be a perfect fit); conversely, Williamson’s simple presence on the floor will move tickets and generate the type of buzz no other player could create. He’ll arrive in the NBA with more built-in star power than any top pick in recent memory.

If there’s one thing the Suns clearly aren’t worried about, it’s “optics.”

We’ll know where the Suns will pick on May 14th. We’ll know who the Suns will pick June 20th.

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