Suns draft Phoenix, Marquette product Oso Ighodaro after trade-up with Knicks

Jun 27, 2024, 2:22 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2024, 7:57 am

The Phoenix Suns selected Marquette big man and Phoenix Desert Vista High School product Oso Ighodaro with the 40th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft after a trade with the New York Knicks, reports ESPN and The Athletic.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported that Phoenix dealt the No. 56 pick — which was acquired from Denver on Wednesday in a trade-down — as well as the No. 51 pick to move up to 40th. Phoenix traded a 2028 second-round pick that was originally a Boston pick to acquire No. 51 from New York, then packaged it back to the Knicks with No. 56 for the 40th selection. The pick came as the Knicks and Thunder hopped down and up in the draft, respectively.

During his senior year of high school, Ighodaro helped lead the school to its first state title in 12 years as Desert Vista took down Mountain Pointe.

Draft big boards in the months ahead of the draft listed Ighodaro as high as a lottery pick and as low as 67th.

He’s a highly efficient, complementary offensive piece but at 6-foot-11 and 235 pounds would function like a more athletic Dario Saric ball-mover in Phoenix’s offense. He shot 62% for his four-year career and averaged 13.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals as a senior. With a team like Phoenix, he is a small-ball changeup center who can roll to the rim and spray out passes if the help comes.

He comes with warts. Ighodaro didn’t take threes and shot just 62% from the foul stripe for his career, but there was some juice to his short midrange scoring thanks to an array of hooks and floaters. He hit 52% of his shots that were classified as two-point jumpers, and 46% of his shots came in that area, according to

Obviously, his NBA potential would receive a dramatic boost if he could add a jumper.

Ighodaro started 72 games in his last two years and earned back-to-back Second Team All-Big East honors.

The Suns in the first round of the NBA Draft traded out of the 22nd slot to acquire four picks from the Nuggets, sliding to 28th in the first round and then 56th in the second while also acquiring two future seconds in 2026 and 2031.

With the No. 22 pick up, potential center targets Kel’el Ware (15th overall, Miami) and Baylor’s Yves Missi (21st overall, New Orleans) were already off the board, and the Suns left Dayton big man DaRon Holmes II for Denver to draft via the trade.

Phoenix drafted Virginia wing Ryan Dunn with the 28th overall pick, another team-first player with offensive limitations at his position.

Ighodaro comes in with a different skill set to a Suns center rotation in need of something different behind Jusuf Nurkic on the depth chart. Much of the discussion around the Suns’ offseason needs spotlighted how Nurkic doesn’t provide a lob threat nor spacing as a 3-point shooter like the majority of modern NBA centers.

Backup center Drew Eubanks declined his player option, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. With or without Eubanks, though, the Suns were expected to prioritize adding another center.

The Suns were a completely different team when Nurkic went to the bench for a rest, a testament to both the underrated value Nurkic provided over the season but also in the tremendous dip in the quality of play from his reserves.

Phoenix outscored teams by 9.2 points per 100 possessions when Nurkic was in, the best net rating for the team over the full season, per NBA Stats. It was a -3.8 net rating when Nurkic sat, a difference of 13 points per 100 possessions that correlates with Eubanks’ numbers.

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