The NBA Draft Lottery has come and gone, and no the Phoenix Suns are not picking in the top three. However, they will draft at pick four.
With this in mind, my take on their draft night moves.
The Phoenix Suns have become a backcourt focused team, and maybe too much. Their roster features four capable guards in Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, and Tyler Ulis. So we know they’re not drafting a point guard. Phoenix would be better off grabbing a stretch three, to place alongside former fourth overall pick, Dragan Bender. Although he hasn’t developed into the player expected, he may just need time, and someone to help him with screen setting and pick and rolls.
The former Duke forward, Tatum is a fantastic stop on defensive, and wouldn’t make for a bad secondary handler option. In college, he averaged (16.8) points, and (7.3) rebounds, displaying a true talent for iso-ball scoring. He isn’t the best three-point shooter at (34%), but I’m not sure the Suns need that with Booker, and Bledsoe already dropping buckets.
Jayson above all else, knows how to get to the foul line, which can’t hurt Phoenix at all. In his season with Duke, he averaged (4.8) free throw attempts per game, and (85%) from the line. At 6″8 and 205 lbs, this young forward is already prepped with a near NBA ready build, likely earning him a starting spot on this Phoenix roster.
Should he be on the board, this top notch defender and pop up shooter, may be just what Phoenix needs to place alongside Devin Booker and company.
The Kansas forward, looks to join Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre as prominent alumni wings in the NBA. In his freshman year, Jackson averaged: (16.3) points, (7.4) rebounds and (1.7) steals per game.
In comparison to Tatum, Jackson is more fit shooting from deep, after averaging (38%) from beyond the arc. His length and versatility make him a defensive threat , and his athleticism is more than noticeable as he paces the court.
One concern with Jackson, is his off court affairs. It was reported he’s to attend anger management classes after being charged with criminal property damage in December. Nonetheless, if he’s on the board come Phoenix’ turn, expect them to take him with no hesitation.
With Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, and (hopefully a developing) Dragan Bender all on roster, the Suns need for young talent isn’t crucial. They could certainly afford to trade down in this draft, should the right pieces be available. One trade partner that comes to mind, is the New York Knicks.
It’s no secret that President of Operations Phil Jackson is ready to rid himself of franchise star Carmelo Anthony, and furthermore, that the Knicks need a point guard. With that in mind, the Suns could easily take this opportunity to move down to eight, through trade:
Phoenix gets the small forward presence they’ve been longing for, and can even draft another forward or center prospect with the 8th overall pick. Brandon Knight has been nothing but an extra roster spot, and may thrive in New York.
New York gets a cheap point guard, and rid themselves of Carmelo’s contract. This also saves them from inevitably overpaying Derrick Rose to stay with the Knicks. They draft Jayson Tatum with the 4th pick, and have some extra change for the free agent market.
Throw a 2nd-round pick so it’s not a crime, and boom, we have a draft night trade for the ages.
The Suns have plenty of options come draft night, I’ve just explored a couple. Between Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson, the former fits better than the latter. As far as a trade come draft night, I don’t deem it impossible. It’s unlikely Carmelo gives New York the green light, but it’s definitely a trade that would benefit both parties.
Regardless of how, if Phoenix can leave draft night with a defensive adept, scoring option small forward, their future will be all but secured.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by ABC15 Arizona via Google Images.