Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby is not trying to sugarcoat his team’s current campaign.
“It’s been a painful season,” Babby told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “But there will be a reward for it, on some level, when we get a very high draft pick.”
The Suns, with a record of 23-54, currently have the league’s third-worst record. While that does not guarantee them the third pick in the draft, it does mean there is a very good chance they’ll be picking somewhere in the top five. Only six times in the franchise’s history have the Suns selected that high, with the most recent selection being Armen Gilliam at No. 2 in 1987.
The highest the franchise has picked since then is seventh, which it has done twice.
“When you’re picking as high as we’re picking, as a philosophical point of view I think you have to say you’re going to take the best player available,” Babby said. “We’re not in a position now where we can pick by position.”
The Suns will have options, of that there is no doubt. More and more players are declaring for the 2013 draft, meaning the team will have some talented – if not NBA-ready – players to chose from. And for what it’s worth, an early mock has Kansas freshman Ben McLemore, who entered the draft Tuesday, being the Suns’ pick at No. 3. The shooting guard would appear to be a great fit for a team that lacks scoring punch, but Babby noted the Suns need help, period.
“It’s not like we’re so solidified at any respect on our roster we can be picking and choosing for needs,” he said. “We’ve got so many needs.”
The Suns also have a bit of pressure, because a miss on this pick could set the franchise back in a significant way. And, with no sure-fire stars supposedly available, the Suns have their work cut out for them in identifying the right player for them.
But Babby, who will be taking part in his third draft with the team, is excited for the opportunity confident in the team’s preparedness for what lies ahead.
“Knowing that there’s a tremendous emphasis on it in ways I don’t think the Suns have placed emphasis on the draft like this in many, many years,” he said.