Before the 2013-14 season began, the date everyone had highlighted as the most important for the Phoenix Suns was June 26.
The 2014 NBA Draft.
After spending the offseason shipping out veteran pieces — Caron Butler, Jared Dudley, Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown — for cap flexibility and draft assets, the perception was that the Suns would be among the league’s bottom feeders — the type of candidate with an ability to select from a pool of freshman phenoms that include Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle.
A little more than a quarter of the way through the campaign, though, and that tune has changed somewhat when it comes to evaluating Phoenix’s present-day prospects.
Jeff Hornacek’s squad (13-9) is off to the best start in franchise history since the 2009-10 season, and looks closer to competing for a playoff spot than a spot in the bottom three of the draft lottery.
While the team would still potentially have up to four picks (Phoenix, Indiana, Minnesota’s top-13 protected and Washington’s top-12 protected) in June’s draft, first-year general manager Ryan McDonough is well aware that he might have to take a different avenue when it comes to acquiring a star. Well, somewhat different.
Speaking with NBA.com writer Scott-Howard Cooper, McDonough suggested that depending how many picks the Suns have come June, the team might explore the possibility of packaging multiple in order to land a proven star.
“I think one of the things that’s important for people to realize is that we may not draft four players even if we have four picks,” McDonough told NBA.com. “Our preference would probably be to maybe package a few of them. We’re obviously all looking for stars and we feel like we can put together a package as good, if not better, than any other team in the league if and when a star becomes available. That’s kind of generally what we’ve wanted to do, not only with our draft-pick situation but also with the cap space that we’ve acquired.”