One option that has seemed more realistic by the day, even with Tyler Johnson’s $19.2 million salary still on the Suns’ roster, is drafting a point guard at No. 6 while also signing a veteran point guard to “bridge the gap” for a year or two.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who was featured on ESPN’s Mock Draft Special along with Mike Schmitz and Bobby Marks, the Suns along with Chicago are teams to watch who pull off this route on June 20 at Nos. 6 and 7. Wojnarowski mentioned Patrick Beverley and Ricky Rubio as realistic options for Phoenix.
Heading into free agency, the Suns will have $10.9 million in cap space when factoring in Kelly Oubre Jr.’s restricted hold plus the rookie-scale salary for another lottery selection. For realistic point guard targets such as Beverley, Rubio, Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, the maximum amount they could pay annually while staying above the threshold is $11.75 million (ex: 2-years, $23.5 million for Beverley or Rubio).
During the mock draft, the panelists surprisingly chose North Carolina point guard Coby White over Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver for Phoenix. This led into Wojnarowski’s intel, which leads me to believe this is a very realistic option on the table.
If the draft goes Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, Darius Garland and Culver, selecting White at No. 6 would definitely not surprise me. The range appears to be anywhere from 6-11 for White, as his smooth-shooting combo guard skills along with steady improvement helped boost his stock.
White checks some boxes standing at 6’5”, but, unlike Morant and Garland, he will probably need a year or two of development before he’s handed the full-time point guard duties. In the meantime, the 19-year-old could fill a microwave bench scoring role. Learning the finer details of the professional level from someone like Beverley or Rubio would do wonders for White long-term, in my opinion.
What would your thoughts be on an offseason that brings a rookie point guard along with a starting-caliber veteran presence? If this scenario does indeed unfold, then it’s realistic to wonder what the immediate future holds for 2018 draft picks Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton.
Heading into the 2019-20 season with a revamped rotation featuring Beverley, Johnson and White would be a major change of pace compared to the constant turnover since Eric Bledsoe’s departure.