It is almost hard to believe that just two days ago we experienced the summer solstice. Based on the behavior of the Phoenix Suns on Thursday evening, you would have thought we were days away from Christmas if it hadn’t been for the steamy 108° temperatures followed by a gusty monsoon storm in the Phoenix metropolitan region. Because it was quite the silent night from the offices of the Suns.
Phoenix GM James Jones made a grand total of 0 moves on the night of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Phoenix entered the evening without having any draft capital. The organization had traded their first round pick – which, based on a 64 win season in 2022, was the 30th overall pick – to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Paul in 2020. Their second round pick was dealt mid season in 2022 to the Indiana Pacers. That transaction saw Torrey Craig re-join the team.
Pick number 30 became forward Peyton Watson from UCLA, who will now play in Denver as the Thunder traded the pick to the Nuggets for JaMychal Green and draft capital. Pick number 58, which the Pacers traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, was New Zealand guard Hugo Besson.
The possibility for some draft day fireworks were present as rumblings relative to Deandre Ayton landing spots have been ever present since the unceremonious end of the 2021-22 season occurred. Detroit – a popular team linked to the Suns’ starting center – chose to move up and draft University of Memphis big man Jalen Duren. Could this mean they are committed to the rebuild and don’t want to move forward with Ayton? Possibly.
Jalen Duren has been traded to the Pistons, per @ShamsCharania.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 24, 2022
Detroit was linked heavily as a Deandre Ayton destination, so we’ll see how this impacts that rumor.
The series of Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski notifications about players who had either signed two way contracts or are joining Summer League rosters was vacant of Suns action as well. Perhaps it was past James Jones’ bed time. Or perhaps he has zero interest in having a G League team, rostering a Summer League team for development opportunities, or associating with players who are prospects. It’s very LeBron James of him.
I’m guessing he fell asleep watching the draft like we all did.
Despite the epic Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Semifinals at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, the Suns are still a team coming off of a franchise best 64-win regular season. The potential for enhancing the team’s roster and building upon their greatest regular season finish in franchise history most likely will not come via prospects in the draft.
James Jones has made clear that building through the draft is a thing of the past for Phoenix. The big day on the calendar for the Phoenix Suns comes in one week. Although the NBA hasn’t officially announced it, the last time the league was on its regular schedule (back in 2019), July 1 is when teams could begin negotiating with free agents. Well actually, June 30 at 9:00pm Eastern so players, agents and teams don’t have to wait til midnight to make first offers.
That is 6:00pm Arizona time on June 30. Mark your calendars, start your engines, and turn on your Shams and Woj notifications.
In summary, was it a boring draft night for Suns fans? Sure. It felt as if we were standing outside of a stranger’s door, festively belting out “all is calm, all is bright…”. But boring is good. The franchise is close to achieving the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to the Valley. The NBA Draft does not carry the weight it did just 3 seasons ago. James Jones has turned the assets of the draft into production on the court.
So what if it was uneventful. For quality organizations, it should be.
“Sleep in heavenly peace…”