Suns’ superteam could include another bold move in NBA Draft
Jun 21, 2023, 5:29 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
On the eve of the 2023 NBA Draft, the Suns are eagerly attempting to trade the only No. 1 overall pick they’ve ever had.
The irony is sad. The lesson is simple:
In the cutthroat world of professional basketball, you can’t trust kids because they’re not yet men.
The Suns are clearly doubling down on the importance of now, along with the perils and pitfalls of youth. They have traded most of their future draft picks for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, and if the attempts at a super team fail, the rebuild will be grotesque and painful.
But the Suns are not wrong in their approach. They are trusting in Devin Booker, who has seemingly willed his own super team to Phoenix, a fate he prophesized in 2018.
We have all seen how the addition of Durant has liberated Booker, giving him the room and the freedom to finally breathe on a basketball court. Now Booker has two elite players in his midst. And everything about the Suns offense will run through him, as it should.
That would’ve never happened if Chris Paul was still in town, calling the shots.
Booker is also proof of how random the NBA Draft can be. He was the 13th overall selection in 2015, a reserve who came off the bench in his only year at the University of Kentucky, a sixth man with a polished jump-shot and not much else.
Now, Booker is ascending fast, chasing a legacy he defines as “legendary.” Aside from former general manager Ryan McDonough – an underrated figure famously forced to clean his office of goat droppings from the previous owner – very few experts saw this coming. And if Booker has come this far, what and who is going to stop him now?
Booker still hasn’t spoken publicly since the embarrassment of a second consecutive lopsided elimination loss at home. But owner Mat Ishbia was smart to pay through the nose to retain associate coach Kevin Young, rewarding one of Booker’s confidants on the team. And there don’t seem to be any signs of stress entering another new era of Suns basketball. That’s good news.
The Suns are also trusting in Durant, who loves the Valley and wants to make this pit stop work for everyone involved. He wants to atone for his inexplicable playoff drought, aware that doubters and skeptics are everywhere. They are Durant’s fuel, a player who recently posted: “Hate drives me. Too much love will kill you.”
Finally, whatever problems the omnipresent shadow of Isiah Thomas presented former head coach Monty Williams, a source says Durant and Booker very much enjoy Thomas’ Hall of Fame presence and input. Game recognizes game, and all that.
In the end, the Suns are banking on winning an NBA title in an era that legislates against super teams. They are hoping the addition of Beal will make them the hot new trend, a team built on three stars who can attack the rim, bludgeon you from the midrange, and deliver a barrage of three-point shots on demand. New head coach Frank Vogel can figure out the rest.
The Suns are taking a Shakespearean approach, aware that the NBA doesn’t celebrate supporting actors, bit players, and great benches. To the contrary, the NBA takes a knee and bows down to its greatest players. It always has and always will.
So, who do you pick in a 3-on-3 tournament between the Suns and the Nuggets?