Share this story...
Latest News

Two draft lottery picks give Phoenix Suns flexibility

California forward Jaylen Brown (0) dribbles past Coppin State forward Blake Simpson (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PHOENIX — Three teams have three first-round picks in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft.  Only one team, however, has two lottery selections: the Phoenix Suns.

That puts the Suns in a desirable position sitting at Nos. 4 and 13, according to general manager Ryan McDonough.

“It gives us flexibility to do different things.  We could address a couple of different positions, obviously,” he said.  “In theory — and we have to talk more about this — but you could maybe take one younger guy maybe with some more upside and more potential and then one more established guy just to get players in different ranges and different stages in their development.

“For me, that’s the benefit of it.  It’s not like we need to draft a power forward or small forward or center; we’re not really tied into a position. And then honestly, depending on what we do with the first pick that may affect our second pick as well in what we do positionally. Historically, we haven’t drafted two guys at the same position.  I think that can be a little tricky to develop two rookies who play the same slot.”

Evaluating the number of draft-eligible prospects took its next step in the process on Wednesday with the Suns holding their first pre-draft workout.

Teams can work out as many as six players at a time.

Four players visited, including a pair of early-entry candidates: USC 6-foot-11 forward Nikola Jovanovic and Purdue 6-foot-9 forward Caleb Swanigan, neither of whom have hired an agent and can return to school provided they withdraw their name from draft consideration by May 25.

Also working out were Wake Forest 6-foot-3 guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and Georgia Tech 6-foot-1 guard Adam Smith.

All four are considered second-round hopefuls.

The Suns will be among the busier teams on draft night, June 23, with four picks in the top-34 selections, joining Boston and Philadelphia with three in the first round.

“I think those top two guys get all the attention,” McDonough said, referring to LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. “But we think, assuming those guys are off the board with the top two picks, that at fourth we’ll have a lot of options.  The pick will have a lot of value to us.  I think it will also have a lot of value around the league in terms of trade calls and things like that, so obviously we’ll answer the phone and see what comes our way.

“Our philosophy, my philosophy, has always been just take the best players in the draft and then figure the rest of it out down the road.”

The Suns, however, do have needs, and McDonough acknowledged the power forward position must be addressed here in the offseason.

Currently, the Suns do not have a power forward on the roster for next season.

“After trading (Markieff) Morris to Washington and then we have Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic as unrestricted free agents,” McDonough said. “That’s one, for example, that we’ll probably need to address in multiple ways, either through the draft, trades and/or free agency. We’ll need multiple guys at that spot, which obviously includes potentially resigning Leuer and Teletovic.”

Only one other time in team history have the Suns had three first-round draft picks.  That was two years ago when they selected T.J. Warren (14th), Tyler Ennis (18th) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (27th) in 2014.

It’s unlikely the Suns bring all four rookie draft picks to training camp, opening up the possibility of packaging the latter two picks to move up or draft-and-stash an international player, as they did with Bogdanovic.

“We have as many options as any team in the draft and we have as much flexibility as any team in the draft, especially at the high-end when you’re talking about four of the top 34 picks,” McDonough said.

Related Links