The lottery gods did not favor the Phoenix Suns. On the positive side, they didn’t oppose them either. So, they have the tenth pick in the upcoming draft.
You can look at any mock draft and see what players may be available but let’s take a look back at history and see who has gone in that spot before.
A current Sun that was the 10th pick
Mikal Bridges (2018 Draft)
Career Stats: 34.5% 3P, 8.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks
You’re all familiar with this man. He is a key member to the current core and needs no introduction. On the defensive end, he’ll put the best player on the opposing team in a headlock and his offense started showing signs in Orlando.
Former players that the Suns selected with the 10th pick
Ed Pinckney (1985 Draft)
Stats as a Sun: 57.1% FG, 9.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1 steal and 0.6 blocks in 2 seasons
Ron Lee (1976 Draft)
Stats as a Sun: 44.2% FG, 10.9 points, 3.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 3 seasons
Ed put up decent numbers in his first two years in the league but not many of you reading will recognize his name as much as you will this one. Eddie Johnson. Yes, that one. “Mr Jumpshot”. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1989 on the Suns and Pinckney is a big reason why as he was traded to bring Johnson to the valley.
Lee isn’t a name most will know either. However, he made the All-Rookie First Team in 1977. In 1978, his second year, he led the league in steals.
Recent selections at #10 in NBA Draft
These are the last ten picks starting prior to Mikal Bridges.
2017 - Zach Collins
2016 - Thon Maker
2015 - Justise Winslow
2014 - Elfrid Payton
2013 - CJ McCollum
2012 - Austin Rivers
2011 - Jimmer Fredette
2010 - Paul George
2009 - Brandon Jennings
2008 - Brook Lopez
You can only really knock on one of these guys (Fredette). Maybe Rivers too, just due to his history with the Suns.
Collins (22) and Maker (23) are young and still trying to develop and position themselves. Both have shown signs and could be rotational big men.
Payton has started in 331 games in his career and is a solid playmaker (6.6 assists per game). Jennings averaged 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals through his first six seasons.
Winslow, when healthy, is an elite defensive forward that can guard multiple positions and play the point in spurts. Brook Lopez is the starting center for a championship contender.
Then you have C.J. McCollum who has averaged over 20 points per game in each of his last five seasons and is the second best player on the Blazers.
Paul George is one half of the star duo on a championship contender and is a six-time All-Star.
Analyzing what history has shown us
No, the tenth pick is not ideal but the Suns aren’t in a position any more to have to get a game changer in the draft. We have Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and a lot of young, promising guys. Phoenix needs to add another piece that can help it’s current core and looking at all these names associated with the tenth pick, you have to feel pretty good about that.
Who knows? Maybe you get an absolute steal at ten. Let me give you one more name, who i feel was the best player ever selected at ten.
“The Truth” was a ten-time All-Star, won a title and was named Finals MVP.
Here’s to dreaming.