Phoenix Hot Spot for Draft Prospects

Ryan Wolf/
by Matt Petersen

Out of 60 total picks in next month’s draft, the Suns hold four of them, including three in the first round.

More importantly, all four selections are relatively spaced out. Phoenix will be on the clock at pick numbers 14, 18, 27 and 50.

Whether they stand pat with all four, trade up or down, the Suns find themselves with the pleasant homework of needing to cover all their bases.

“The good thing about our picks is the flexibility,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We feel like we can get anywhere in the draft, except for probably the high, high end of the lottery. We can get anywhere we want to get. It’s not like we’re just evaluating for 14, 18, 27 and 50. We’re evaluating all the guys.”

It’s a daunting task, but one made possible and appealing thanks to the scout-centric general manager and his staff.

Since getting hired last season, one of McDonough’s most repeated points for optimism was the team’s cache of draft picks, acquired through various trades in recent years. He dubbed the draft the “lifeblood of a franchise.”

As luck and due diligence on the trade market would have it, Phoenix is due a major transfusion of talent both this summer and in the coming years.

It also doesn’t hurt that this summer’s draft is particularly helpful to a team with multiple picks in the middle-to-latter portion of the draft.

“I think it’s pretty deep overall,” McDonough said. “I’d say other than the center spot – one through four – there’s good depth at all those positions. There’s good high-end talent and there’s also good depth throughout where I think there will be some good players coming out in the late-first, early-second round range….it is a very strong year, especially compared to last year.”

While that’s a boon for the Suns, it also adds extra pressure to the draft hopefuls. Players often don’t have time for token interviews with the media after their workouts because they already have a flight scheduled for another workout in a different city the very next day.

Yet Phoenix is sure to be on most of their itineraries, since impressing the Suns gives them multiple shots at getting drafted on June 26.

“Obviously if you have more picks and a wide range of picks, it’s easier to get players in,” McDonough said. “You can talk to your agents and say, ‘look, he’s in the mix for one of these three or four slots.”

That only makes things easier for Phoenix as they sift through a broad list of potentials and, eventually, come up with a summer version of a Christmas list that will ideally replenish the talent cupboard.

The best part: the Suns are well-positioned to maneuver for and ultimately acquire the players at the top of their wish list.

“We’re placing a value on them,” McDonough said. “If there are guys who are undervalued, and we need to move to get them, we’ll do that like we did last year with Archie Goodwin.”