Phoenix Suns GM: ‘We’re confident we’ll get a good player’ at No. 13

May 20, 2015, 11:08 AM | Updated: 11:08 am
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns General Manager

If you look at mock drafts, you will see names like Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Payne, Devin Booker and Willie Cauley-Stein linked to the Phoenix Suns at pick No. 13.

Over the course of next month or so before the June 25 event in Brooklyn, NY, many more names are likely to be connected to the team.

Picking as late as they are, it’s really impossible to know whose name will be called. But when asked about it, Suns GM Ryan McDonough told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday they are confident a good player can be found at that spot.

“Picking at 13, there are probably five or six guys in the top tier that we can cross of the board, that you say, ‘There’s no way that they’ll be there,'” he said. “Assuming we stay at 13.

“The next group is pretty deep, I think, that next tier or two, probably about 10 or 12 guys in that tier so that covers 13 or more. So we’re confident we’ll get a good player.”

The third-year GM pointed to the makeup of the team’s roster as proof talent can be found later in the draft, as key contributors like Eric Bledsoe, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker and T.J. Warren were all picked outside of the draft’s top 10 selections.

“We’ve had good success in that over a few different regimes, either drafting players or acquiring players who have been drafted in that range,” he added. “Obviously, it can be a little easier, in theory, at the top. But as you guys know, it’s not a linear progression, and what I mean by that is I have yet to see a draft where it goes according to form where the best player is taken one, and the second-best two and the third-best three. There are outliers in every draft, as you guys know, and we’re going to find who that is in this draft.”

Barring a trade, this will be the fourth time in franchise history picking 13th, and third in the last five seasons. In 2011 the team chose Markieff Morris out of Kansas, and in 2012 it added North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall.

Other players chosen 13th, though not by the Suns, include productive players like Richard Jefferson (Rockets, 2001), Corey Maggette (Sonics, 1999), Kobe Bryant (Hornets, 1996) and Karl Malone (Jazz, 1985). Of course, for every impact player taken at that spot there are a couple of guys who didn’t do much in the NBA, so the odds are not exactly in the Suns’ favor.

With more than one month to prepare for the pick, McDonough said the team will not draft for need. He pointed out that the team could use more shooting and front-line depth, but after winning just 39 games last season, the team just has to add more talent.

“We tend to pretty much always go with the best player available,” he said of the draft strategy. “Needs, unless you’re a championship-level team, then I think most teams have needs, multiple needs.”

The GM said teams get into trouble when they pick a player based on his ability to fill a need, sometimes reaching to do so.

“Our philosophy is we draft the best available player and if he plays the same position and is better than one of the guys on our current roster, then that probably will lead to us likely moving the guy at the position from our current roster,” he said. “But we’re still trying to upgrade the talent. I feel like we’ve made good strides over the past couple years since Coach (Jeff) Hornacek and I have been in Phoenix, but we still have a ways to go so we’re certainly open to every position and we’re going to consider them all, one through five.”

Phoenix Suns

(Twitter photo: Forbes)...
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Phoenix Suns GM: ‘We’re confident we’ll get a good player’ at No. 13