The Suns are in a position most teams would kill to be in–they are loaded with potentially six 1st round draft picks in the next two years. What to do with all of them will be the challenge for General Manager Ryan McDonough.
Last year in his first Draft as the GM he (McDonough) took Alex Len fifth overall. Len disappointed in his first year and was injury-plagued throughout the season. It’s way too early to call him a bust, because he did show his potential at times (when he was on the court) so the 2014-15 campaign will be a big one for him.
With the 29th pick in the Draft, McDonough traded up one spot and took Archie Goodwin. Goodwin was the second-youngest player in the NBA last year and showed his potential many times throughout the year. Unfortunately with how raw and inexperienced he was, there wasn’t much available time for him. Goodwin dominated the D-League in his brief stints there and has shown he has tremendous upside and could eventually develop into a perennial all-star.
This year, the Suns hold the 14th, 18th and 27th picks in the Draft. It will be interesting to see if Phoenix decides to hold on to all three picks with the influx of young talent that already exists on the roster.
Now, I will highlight my top three targets at each pick.
#14- TJ Warren
Warren is extremely underrated and would be a steal if he fell to 14. He isn’t going very high (mid to late first round) in most mock drafts, but he is a very gifted scorer who’s game translates beautifully to the NBA and especially to the Suns uptempo offense.
If Warren is available then I think he has to be the guy. Pair him up with Bledsoe and Dragic and you’ve got three guys that have the ability to score 20 points on any given night.
#18- Adreian Payne
Payne showed the ability to expand his game out to the perimeter last year by adding in a consistent three point shot. He can bang down low and shoot the ball well from the perimeter? Phoenix must be in love. Perfect fit at the four to slot him in with Markieff Morris and Channing Frye. Payne is NBA-ready and may not have all-star potential, but he should be a solid role player for years to come.
#27- Nick Johnson
The hometown guy (from Gilbert, AZ and went to college at Arizona) isn’t a lock for the first round, but he does possess a skill-set that could work well with the Suns. He is a combo-guard that can score the ball and defend well. Johnson is ridiculously athletic and wows the crowd with his high-flying dunks. Johnson could develop into the perfect role player to bring off the bench for any competitive team out there.
In my ideal draft Phoenix added three very talented players in TJ Warren, Adreian Payne and Nick Johnson and addressed multiple needs in the process.
Honorable mention: Clint Capela (if he’s available) at #27. Could be a great draft and stash prospect with tremendous upside.
Here’s a look at what the depth chart would potentially look like: (assuming Tucker and Frye re-sign)
C- Miles Plumlee- Channing Frye- Alex Len
PF- Channing Frye- Markieff Morris- Adreian Payne
SF- PJ Tucker- TJ Warren- Marcus Morris- Gerald Green
SG- Eric Bledsoe- Gerald Green- Archie Goodwin- Nick Johnson
PG- Goran Dragic- Eric Bledsoe- Nick Johnson- Ish Smith
With Draft night just a few weeks away it will be interesting to see what McDonough has planned in the meantime. Stay tuned, June 26th is going to be a lot of fun.