PHOENIX — Unlike much of the basketball universe, okay, all of the basketball universe, the Phoenix Suns do not much care which player is drafted No. 1 or for that matter Nos. 2, 3, 4 or 5 in Thursday’s 2014 NBA Draft.
It’s of no consequence to them.
Rather, the Suns are more interested in who is selected in the bottom half of the lottery, picks in the 8-12 range, and whether or not two of the better shooting prospects in this year’s draft class, Doug McDermott of Creighton and Nik Stauskas of Michigan, should drop past a Charlotte, Philadelphia or Denver.
With the 14th and final pick of the lottery, the Suns are in wait-and-see mode.
“There are a few teams (Philadelphia and Orlando) with multiple picks ahead of us in the top 13. I feel like with those teams, what they do with their second pick, especially what position they draft with their second pick maybe contingent on who do they take with the first one,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough said. “I think clarity ahead of time might be harder this year than in some other years. You might not know until the picks start going off the board who is going to potentially be there and who may be gone.”
Gone, as in not available, which may compel McDonough and his staff to consider trading up, especially if they have their sights set on a particular player.
According to reports, the Suns have twice worked out Duke small forward Rodney Hood and UCLA shooting guard Zach LaVine
“If we wanted to move up a little, we could do that. I’m pretty confident we could do that,” McDonough said. “But we don’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it and give up an asset and say, ‘Oh, shoot that guy that we moved up to get probably would’ve been there at 14 anyways and we could’ve kept the pick or another player.’
“These are last minute decisions. There’s no clear-cut answer at this point. But I’m pretty confident if we wanted to move up some we could. How high we can get, I don’t know and probably won’t know until either right before the draft or when the draft starts and we’re on the clock and you see who starts going off the board.”
This much is certain: Considering they drafted two young players a year ago, the Suns are highly unlikely to keep all three of their first round picks this year, which in addition to No. 14 come up again at No. 18 and No. 27.
“We’d rather get fewer good players or a veteran who can help or spread our picks out, where we have maybe more firsts in the future than drafting three guys to bring to the Suns next year,” McDonough explained.
Of course, regardless of what player or players the Suns do draft -— they also own a second-round pick, the 50th overall selection — McDonough is bullish about the depth of this year’s class.
“There are good players that I like that we think will be there kind of with all of those picks,” he said. “That’s kind of reassuring, especially with the later picks. You don’t want your hopes kind of pinned hoping one or two guys are there and then if not, it’s a disaster.
“I think there will be good players taken in late first, early second, maybe even middle-to-late second round in this draft.”