ESPN writer ranks Suns’ draft assets seventh in the NBA

Mar 16, 2017, 8:00 PM
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough answers a question during an NBA basketball media day M...
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough answers a question during an NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In a season where the upcoming draft seems to be of the greatest importance, Phoenix Suns fans may be unhappy to hear their team’s draft assets don’t rank in the top five.

ESPN analytics writer Neil Johnson ranked all 30 teams in the NBA in terms of draft assets, and he placed the Suns seventh. The Sacramento Kings are at the top.

With 14 games remaining in the season Johnson projects the Suns to have the third, 33rd and 52nd pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. With that in mind, the writer discussed some options for them.

Given the saturation at the point guard spot and the likelihood that Phoenix’s first-round pick will fall in the top five (85.9 percent chance, per BPI), expect the Suns to go after Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum.

Their point guards might be a bit beyond the age of their young core, but Eric Bledsoe is in his prime and has two more years on his deal.

Bledsoe, 27, is averaging 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists this season. The Suns announced they would shut him down for the rest of the season on Wednesday.

Despite his high-level production, Bledsoe is older than the rest of the Suns’ core group and some fear he may start to decline when the Suns are ready to compete again. The 2017 draft class has an elite crop of point guard talent, such as Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.

This has led to analysts predicting the Suns will take a point guard whose timetable is closer to that of Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, a trio of players the team is likely planning on building around.

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ESPN writer ranks Suns’ draft assets seventh in the NBA