The 2019 NBA Draft has passed us by, and the Phoenix Suns provided plenty of surprises. First up, Phoenix traded forward T.J. Warren and the No. 32 overall pick to the Pacers to free up cap space. Phoenix then traded the No. 6 pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 11 pick and power forward Dario Saric. With this selection, Phoenix shocked us all selecting Cameron Johnson. The Suns weren’t done making moves, though, trading it’s first-round pick in 2020 from Milwaukee for Aron Baynes and the rights to Ty Jerome. And finally, they pulled a Ryan McDonough move and signed undrafted 19-year old Jalen Lecque to a long term deal with plans to develop him slowly.
With everything the Suns did, it’s safe to say they had plenty of people wondering what’s next and the purpose of these moves.
Let’s look at the picks Phoenix made. Johnson is a great shooter (46 percent from three, seventh in the nation), and thought to be someone that can come off the bench and provide that shooting.
However, it was a huge reach as he does little else well and was projected to go in the late first round. Just watch his own teammate’s reaction!
Coby White's reaction to Cam Johnson getting drafted No. 11 overall to Phoenix is priceless. pic.twitter.com/W2Oe6BSvkR— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 21, 2019
Johnson also plays the same position as Mikal Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr., cutting into how much he could be on the court. For a team desperate for a starting-caliber point guard and a long-term answer at power forward, this pick was no doubt a stunner and could be another bad pick by the Suns if Johnson fails to provide consistent production.
Jerome is another strong shooter that has a great mind for the game that helps makes up for his lack of athleticism. National Champ Virginia’s point guard is also a good passer and a pesky defender on top of that.
Jerome’s arrival was coupled with Baynes, a big body who will help out against Deandre Ayton in practice but how many minutes will he contribute?
While that’s great, was this worth trading up and potentially limiting the team’s options in free agency (Baynes makes $5.4 million)? After the dust has settled in Phoenix, the Suns walked out of the draft with just slightly more cap space (likely $13 million right now, with keeping Oubre cap hold, Jackson and Tyler Johnson on the books).
With everything that has been done by the Suns, it’s easy to think they don’t know what they are doing, but you can also see the logic behind them. Phoenix landed Saric, who is a starting-caliber power forward on a one-year deal.
Baynes also brings valuable playoff experience to an inexperienced roster, also on a one-year deal.
The Suns chose two guys who don’t possess as high of an upside or potential as say Darius Garland or Cam Reddish, but they are types that can come off the bench and provide shooting on a team in desperate need of it.
It’s disappointing that the Suns used a lottery pick on a player that’s basically a three-point specialist and nothing else. And they also achieved this by reaching probably 10 spots too early for Johnson.
In James Jones’ first draft as GM, he showed he isn’t afraid to make moves and fill holes all over the roster. And he’s a fan of older players versus younger ones.
We’ll have to wait and see how these moves will pan out, but one thing is for certain: the Suns’ new regime won’t just sit back.
Grade the night, adding Saric, Baynes, three rookies while losing Warren, 2020 Bucks pick and passing on higher rated prospects
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