Suns GM McDonough: What will the Suns do with 4 draft picks?
The NBA Draft Lottery was long over, but Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough still stood on the podium as he made his conference call with reporters after securing the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“I got a little nervous when Sacramento jumped up into the top three,” he said over the phone. “When you’re slotted No. 1, you don’t want any variance or any disruption.”
Then, it was revealed the Atlanta Hawks would be a top-3 pick.
There was only one more slot for Phoenix.
McDonough didn’t need to worry. Suns executive vice president Jim Pitman, who was sequestered in the room where the ping-pong balls were picked before the selections were televised, watched as the Suns’ number combination was selected three times in a row, McDonough said.
That’s right – Pitman told McDonough that after the Suns were selected as the first pick, their number was picked again. And again.
On the fourth try, the Sacramento Kings were declared to have the second pick of the draft.
“It still hasn’t fully set in that we do have the No. 1 pick,” McDonough said.
Now, he’ll spend the next month trying to figure out what to do with it.
“(We’ll look at) a handful of players – for me, that probably means more than five but less than 10,” he said. “We’ll sit down and take a closer look at it tomorrow, now that it’s real.”
Guard Luka Doncic and center Deandre Ayton are widely regarded as the top two prospects in the draft.
Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov has a close connection with Doncic. The two won a championship together in EuroBasket.
“Nobody in the league, I think, will have better insight into Luka Doncic than we will,” McDonough said.
That doesn’t mean the Suns will take him, though. McDonough said Kokoskov wants the team to select the best player in the draft.
“If he ends up being the No. 1 guy, I’m sure Igor will obviously be fully supportive,” McDonough said. “If we decide to go with somebody else, we think the other player’s better, then he’ll understand that too. More than anything, he wants what’s best for the franchise in the short and long term.”
He called Ayton a “physical specimen” who can see the floor at a high level.
“He’s got just about everything you’d want in terms of protypical size, strength, length,” McDonough said. “He was extremely productive this year in terms of scoring and rebounding. There really aren’t a whole lot of holes in his game, especially on the offensive end of the floor.”
He said it’s unlikely the team will trade the pick, but he didn’t rule it out.
McDonough said it would take an established, young star on a multi-year contract for the team to consider moving the pick.
The Suns have three other selections, though: No. 16, 31 and 59.
All are available – the Suns GM said it’s not likely the team will enter next season with four rookies.
“We’re open to moving those picks for a player to help us move forward or even to move up in the draft,” he said. “Number one’s probably not (available), unless a scenario falls out of the sky that we’re not anticipating.”
The Suns plan to be aggressive in free agency and find veterans to increase the age of the team, McDonough said. With the No. 1 pick in hand, the Suns have found a way to accelerate #TheTimeline.
They’ll try to show they’re on track to become the franchise they had been before this playoff drought.
“The history of the Phoenix Suns, the franchise has done a lot of great things, but this is one of the few things that’s never happened in the illustrious history of this franchise,” McDonough said.
Let’s see if it can lead to that other, bigger thing that has never happened in franchise history, either.