The NBA Draft is a little more than a month away, and the event represents the beginning of a new era for the Phoenix Suns.
Following a wretched 25-57 season, the Suns made a change in their front office, firing general manager Lance Blanks and hiring 33-year-old Ryan McDonough to replace him. The former Celtics assistant GM is armed with six first round draft picks over the next three drafts.
The Suns will have two first round picks this June — their own and Miami’s — which will be near the end of the round.
ESPN’s Chad Ford has released his latest mock draft, and projects the Suns’ first pick to come at number four, although the official order won’t be determined until the NBA Draft Lottery happens May 21. The Suns have an 11.9 percent chance of winning the lottery.
With the fourth pick, Ford has Phoenix selecting Indiana guard Victor Oladipo. Writes Ford:
Though the Suns just hired Ryan McDonough as the new general manager, the team still has many basketball needs. Right now its biggest problem seems to be character and drive. The Suns are a leaderless group that desperately needs toughness and energy. While Oladipo is far from a polished product, his lockdown defense, elite athletic abilities and super-high motor seem like the perfect antidote to the malaise in which Phoenix found itself this season. C.J. McCollum could be another possible pick at No. 4. He would give the Suns the pure scorer it lacked all season.
Oladipo is 6-foot-5 and known for his athleticism and defensive prowess. The Maryland native averaged 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for an Indiana team that finished the season 29-7.
Ford projects Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin to be the Suns’ second selection at number 30 overall.
This is a pure talent grab by the Suns. Goodwin has elite speed and quickness. But his wild shot selection and poor outside shooting contributed to Kentucky’s woes this season. The Suns, however, can afford to be patient with him and wait to see if he develops.
Goodwin played just one season for John Calipari at Kentucky and averaged a team-leading 14.1 points per game.
Rivals.com had Goodwin rated as the 12th-best prospect in the class of 2012 after he led Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas to their first-ever state championship.