Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
I’m fairly certain that there are other Suns fans like me who have developed a love/hate relationship with the NBA playoffs over the last nine years. I love watching great basketball and the playoffs are a showcase of the best of the best every year but it’s appeal wanes when your team is on an early summer vacation instead of a part of the action.
Year after year after year.
As some of you may have noticed, this weekly Bright Side feature has been written by other BSotS staffers for the past few weeks and that’s because the cycle of futility that the Suns have been in finally just wore me down. I needed a bit of a vacation. Everyone needs some rest and relaxation occasionally and I found mine at a secluded island “health spa”.
I was even provided with some very special Suns gear to wear while there!
And after a little rest (and the right medication)... I’m feeling much better now.
But that’s enough about me.
In ten days, the playoffs will have concluded and all eyes will be turned toward the NBA Draft. The Suns have the 6th and 32nd picks this year. No player they select at either of those spots will likely have a significant impact on the team’s success when the 2019-20 season begins. That’s just the truth no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise.
That does not mean that there won’t be good players available to draft. They might actually get lucky and draft someone who can contribute significantly right away but it is unlikely. That’s why I’m all for trading either or both of the picks if that will aid the Suns in bringing back a proven NBA player.
Unfortunately, it’s not a given that a trade such as that can be made. As James Jones said back in February, “It takes two to tango. So, when your primary vehicle for acquiring a player is via trade, you don’t control that.”
If trading the draft pick for a proven player turns out to not be a viable option, the Suns could also explore trading down in the draft to get a player that they might want but not want to spend the 6th pick on. In that scenario, they could possibly get a future asset back in the deal which they could use as a trade sweetener later this summer.
The following is NBA.com’s Consensus Mock Draft which they describe as “A compilation of the best mock drafts around the web. We bring them together to come up with a good estimate of how the 2019 NBA Draft could play out.”
- Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans
- Ja Morant | Memphis Grizzlies
- R.J. Barrett | New York Knicks
- Darius Garland | Los Angeles Lakers
- De’Andre Hunter | Cleveland Cavaliers
- Jarrett Culver | Phoenix Suns
- Cameron Reddish | Chicago Bulls
- Coby White | Atlanta Hawks
- Jaxson Hayes | Washington Wizards
- Sekou Doumbouya | Atlanta Hawks
- Bol Bol | Minnesota Timberwolves
- Brandon Clarke | Charlotte Hornets
- Rui Hachimura | Miami Heat
- P.J. Washington | Boston Celtics
The 10 mock drafts used to form the consensus mock draft are as follows: ESPN Insider: Jonathan Givony, The Ringer: Kevin O’Connor, The Athletic: Sam Vecenie, SI.com: Jeremy Woo, SportingNews.com: Chris Stone, Net Scouts Basketball: Carl Berman, Bleacher Report: Jonathan Wasserman, Yahoo Sports: Krysten Peek, CBS Sports: Kyle Boone and Basketball Insiders: Steve Kyler.
This only covers the lottery team selections but it gives a good idea of who the Suns could expect to obtain in the draft if they were to trade down to somewhere between 10th and 14th. There are several names within that range that I’ve heard fans claim they want and a deal to trade back might be there to be made. There are some good prospects in that range and perhaps some that might make trading down a few spots while also picking up another asset (either a player or future draft pick) more appealing than picking at 6.
As for trading out of the first round of the draft completely, there are six teams (Dallas, Denver, Houston, LA Clippers, Sacramento and Toronto) that do not have a first rounder in this year’s draft. Any of them might be interested in sending an asset or two the Suns’ way to get back in, especially at number six. The four teams that made it to the playoffs this year would at least consider it as a way to add a promising young player that they don’t need to rely on producing right away and will have the luxury of being able to let him develop at his own pace. The two lottery teams also might covet the chance to add even more young talent to their rebuilding teams.
What the Suns might get in return for the 6th pick is a question that I personally won’t try to answer (I gave that task to the Fantable) but the possibilities are intriguing.
Frankly, I’m inclined to wager that the most likely outcome is that the Suns simply wind up drafting the best player available with the 6th pick in the draft. I’m sure that the Suns will get some offers for their pick but Jones doesn’t strike me as someone who would trade it away without it being a clear win for the Suns and trades like that don’t come along very often for any team.
So for now, we’re in wait-and-see mode for the next 10 days. It’s very possible that we’ll hear nothing about a trade before then but I’m sure that on draft night we will eventually hear the words “There has been a trade” and perhaps like last year - when it was announced that the Suns had traded up for Mikal Bridges - the Suns will be a part of it.
Fantable Questions of the Week
Q1 - Dallas, Denver, Houston, LA Clippers, Sacramento and Toronto have no first round picks in this year’s draft. Which one of them do you think might be most likely to give the Suns something of value in return for the #6 pick and what would you want in return for it?
GuarGuar: I don’t really think any of these teams have the pieces to make a sensible deal with us. A possible trade scenario could be with Denver for something like Monte Morris and Torrey Craig. I’m high on Monte but I still probably wouldn’t make this trade. Maybe Denver would consider #6 and a filler for Gary Harris. I just struggle to see what any of these teams could offer us for #6.
Sun-Arc: Tough, loaded question. Too many teams to handle here. But I’ll mention a couple to give an impression of where I am on this.
Dallas: would they trade Dwight Powell? I doubt it. Kleber is a FA, so that’s out on draft night. Nothing happening here.
Houston: P.J. Tucker? Maaaaybe as a PF? A good fit? Maybe….? I do loves me some PJ. And he’s hitting over 35% from three. Exciting enough?
Clippers: JaMychal Green is a FA, so that’s out on draft night. Harrell would be fun, but don’t think they’d trade him for just #6. And he can’t shoot threes, so spacing with Ayton could be odd.
Sactown: Bjelica would be okay at PF, and can hit threes, but not a great defender. Not sure they’d trade him. Could we make Bogdan “BB-gun” our starting PG, and would they trade him? Probably not.
Toronto: If they’d trade Fred VanVleet I’d do that. But I doubt they do it. Siakam would be a dream, but obviously not going to happen. Ibaka is too expensive, but would be a good fit. Maybe a trade for him along with Johnson’s contract? Depends on what the Raps are doing this offseason. If they rebuild this could actually happen.
What I’m pointing out here is that there are no “sure thing” trades I can find with these particular teams. But anything is possible, I suppose.
SDKyle: I actually can’t particularly think of a realistic trade that I really like with any of those teams. I’d love to get SGA from the Clippers, but they wouldn’t do that for the #6. Fred VanVleet would be a nice pickup, but the #6 would be an overpay for him and I don’t know how I could structure a deal to make that look good for the Suns. For what it’s worth I don’t think the Suns will trade the pick.
SouthernSun: I don’t think any of those teams are likely to trade something of value to the Suns for the #6 pick. But for the sake of the question, I’ll say the LA Clippers, and the piece I’d ask for in return would be one of Montrezl Harrell (first choice), or Landry Shamet (second choice). I’d ask for SGA but I’m certain he’s off limits for a draft selection. Also I’m not entirely sure Shamet is worth the #6. Perhaps he is.
If Toronto loses in the finals (which would be very surprising at this point), then maybe the Suns could get Kyle Lowry from them.
Alex Sylvester: I’ll be completely honest, I can’t see any of the teams listed being a good trade partner when it comes to the #6 pick specifically.
The only team I could see potentially working would be the Clippers… but that would be dependent on the Clippers wanting to accumulate assets to trade for Anthony Davis. Otherwise, the teams listed are either looking to contend immediately or are conference rivals.
Our other assets would make more sense with a trade with the teams listed.
Q2 - If the Suns don’t trade their pick and the first five selections go as suggested by the consensus draft, would you select Jarrett Culver or someone else at 6?
GuarGuar: If the five selections go as suggested here, then I would certainly take Culver at #6. He’s got great potential and could be a nice fit next to Devin Booker. We need defensive wings who can create their own offense. Jarrett has the ability to do that. I think he would be a fantastic choice if available at 6.
Sun-Arc: I’m not really up on the draft this time as much as in the past. And I was never a great scout to begin with. Based on the little bit I’ve read, I would be happy with Culver. He’s #3 on the Tankathon big board, and seems to grade out really well on a number of people’s opinions. I don’t really care that he’s a SG and we already have Booker. We need more talent, and if he’s the BPA, I’d take him and worry about it later.
SDKyle: Yeah, I like Jarrett Culver. He’s definitely a combo guard, but he has at least Booker-ish PG skills and is a tenacious defender with the size to potentially guard 1-3 when called upon. At age 20 he still has ceiling left. If Garland and Hunter were still on the board there might be some hesitation on my part, but assuming both are gone already Culver feels like BPA to me. I can see an argument for Coby White, Cam Reddish, or a swing for the fences shot with Bol Bol, but I’m going Culver.
SouthernSun: I suppose I would select Culver since lots of people who know more about draft prospects than I do seem to really like him. Though I hate the idea of a future where Booker is essentially forced to play point.
Alex Sylvester: I believe in this draft scenario that the Suns go Coby White from UNC. If the Suns are to hold onto their draft pick, I believe they need to fill the role of backup point guard or back up power forward. Although I do love Culver’s upside, he’s not the best fit with what we have. Yes, you should be looking best player available but what if the difference isn’t that big between White and Culver?
I do like the long term upside of Coby White as well. That’ll fit perfect with getting a veteran point guard for a couple years to start and hopefully White can take over the reign afterwords.
Q3 - If the Suns were to trade down in the draft, which team would you attempt to trade with, which player would you want to take with that pick and what would you consider fair compensation from that team for swapping picks?
GuarGuar: I would attempt to trade down with Atlanta. I would ask for their #10 and #17 for #6. I would take Brandon Clarke at 10 and then try and sell 17 to another team. I’m really high on Brandon Clarke and the potential immediate impact he can bring to a team. Similar to Mikal Bridges as an old rookie who can contribute to winning right away from his defense.
Sun-Arc: I’m still high on Brandon Clarke based on his NCAA tourney play. So I’d consider trading down with CHA, if the board really played out as Rod/NBA.com posits. Problem is, CHA has nothing we’d want that they’d be willing or able to trade. Marvin Williams? Meh/maybe and only if they took TJ to unload some salary, and only if Oubre is staying for sure. That’s rough.
Atlanta would not part with Collins, so that’s out. And they have no one else.
We could look lower and get one of Evan’s favorites in Grant Williams. Boston won’t work. Could we coax Thon Maker for #6 from the Pistons? Would we want Thon? Our Leuer’d and Savior, Jon? Reggie Jackson and #15 for #6 and TJ? Not sure they’d do that, nor that I’d want RJ. He’d be an improvement at PG but he’s 28, 15.2 PER, average on D, and 33% from three for his career.
Again, the options are not necessarily thrilling here.
SDKyle: I’m sorry if it’s a lame answer, but I just don’t see a pick swap that makes enough sense for both sides to be realistic. I’m not too interested in adding a non-lottery pick, but the teams behind us in the lottery either don’t have anyone I especially want or what they have would be too expensive to acquire. I’ve coveted John Collins for months, but the Hawks would be nuts to move on from him just to move up two spots. Maybe they’d be interested if we threw in a future first ? Probably still not.
I wanted to trade the pick (possibly top pick protected) back before the lottery when it had the value of potentially being at least a top 3 pick and might have whetted the appetite of some GM dreaming of Ja Morant or RJ Barrett. Now that it’s the sixth pick the options are more limited. I think the Suns should just keep the pick and do the best they can.
SouthernSun: I would want to trade down with the Orlando Magic, and I’d send them TJ Warren, Josh Jackson, Elie Okobo, and the #6 pick for Aaron Gordon and the #16 pick, and I’d hope that one of the projected lottery pick players falls to that spot, and take them. Preferably Clarke.
Alex Sylvester: I originally was interested in a Spencer Dinwiddie trade for this scenario, but now that the Nets traded away number 17 I’ll have a new answer.
I’d be interested in trading with Atlanta.
#6 & #32 for #8 & #17.
The Hawks have been rumored to want to trade up, and with this move they get a chance to pick up BPA from Hunter/Culver/Reddish. With already having pick 10 there wouldn’t be much hesitation to swap up the 17th and 32nd to move up.
The Suns could realistically get a good piece at 8 such as White/Reddish/Garland depending on how the draft plays out. Getting to 17 would be huge for the 2nd pick because the last thing this franchise needs is 2nd round rookies on the roster.
At 17: Tyler Herro (bench shooting), Bol Bol (if he falls) are two guys I’d keep an eye on.
The thing is, I’m not 100% sure I do this if I’m Phoenix but this would be the trade I’d explore deeply.
As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, SDKyle, Sun-Arc, SouthernSun and Alex Sylvester - for all their extra effort every week!
2018-19 Season Highlights
Kelly Oubre Jr. Suns Highlights 2018-19 | Part 1
Kelly Oubre Jr. Suns Highlights 2018-19 | Part 2
Kelly Oubre Jr. Suns Highlights 2018-19 | Part 3
Quotes of the Week
”I’m really excited about Tyler (Johnson). I think Tyler’s a guy who has been in a winning program and he brings intangibles to the team that really excite me.” - Monty Williams
"I'm starting to see his voice carry... Hearing that lead voice was good for everyone in the building. I know the prospects enjoyed it."— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 1, 2019
- GM James Jones on Coach Monty pic.twitter.com/FcM2ZqNxF2
Interesting Suns Stuff
News & Notes
Draft Prospects’ Reactions to Monty Williams’ Hands-On Approach. Suns.com
Rumor: Suns would prefer veteran guard than drafting at No. 6, want to see ‘tangible growth’. Clutch Points
Monty Williams ‘excited’ about what Tyler Johnson brings to Suns. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports
Chicago Bulls: 3 possible Phoenix Suns trades featuring Kris Dunn. Pippen Ain’t Easy
Reports: Suns finalizing Monty Williams’ coaching staff. Arizona Sports
Should the Phoenix Suns Trade Their First-Round Pick? The Big Lead
This Week in Suns History
On June 11, 1993, the Phoenix Suns were down 0-2 to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals after losing Games 1 and 2 at home in America West Arena. The series moved to Chicago Stadium where the Suns pulled off a 129-121 triple overtime win behind Dan Majerle’s team high 28 points, a 24 point/19 rebound game by Charles Barkley and a 25 point/9 assist night by Kevin Johnson.
Kevin Johnson played 62 minutes which is still the NBA record for most minutes played in an NBA Finals game. Dan Majerle played 59 minutes without a single turnover, also an NBA Finals record.
Only two triple overtime games have ever been played during an NBA Finals series and the Phoenix Suns played in both of them. The first was in Game 5 of the 1976 Finals which the Suns lost to the Boston Celtics 128-126. The second was in 1993 Finals in which the Suns defeated the Chicago Bulls 129-121. Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor member Paul Westphal played for the Suns in the first game and was the head coach of the Suns in the second.
Previewing the Weeks (and Months) Ahead
Early-mid June - Pre-draft workouts in Phoenix for contenders for 6th and 32nd picks
June 10 - NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline (5 pm ET)
June 20 - NBA Draft 2019
June 29 - Last day for decisions on player, team and early termination options (unless individual contracts specify otherwise).
June 30 - Last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency. NBA free agency officially begins (6 pm ET) and free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams.
July 1 - Official start of the 2019/20 NBA league year. July moratorium begins. 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 5-15 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)
July 6 - July moratorium ends (12 noon ET). 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 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 2019/20 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.
October 22 - NBA 2019/20 regular season begins.
October 31 - Last day that teams can exercise team options on the rookie scale contracts of former first-round picks.
This week’s poll is...
What is the most likely thing for the Suns to do with the #6 draft pick?
This poll is closed
They will just draft the best player available at #6.
They will trade down in the draft.
They will trade out of the draft.
Somehow they will trade up a spot or two!