Before you dive head first off the deep end of a shallow pool or throw your computer out the window, remind yourself that the Celtics (from whose front office the Phoenix Suns pilfered draft help) have not overdrafted and kept any significant players in the past decade.
Granted, they have been drafting recently in the bottom of the first round. This allowed them to be opportunistic in their draft selections, waiting for players to drop. But at least they didn't overdraft.
On Thursday, the Phoenix Suns will be on the clock at the #5 position with four players off the board. Which four players is a complete mystery.
"There's no player or subset of players, even at five, that I can put aside and say, ‘OK, this guy or these guys definitely won't be there. I don't need to worry about them,' " Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said yesterday after another draft workout. "I feel like, even at five, we need to be prepared for every scenario, like every guy on the board could be there."
The most common, logical rumors have the Cavaliers taking a big man (Nerlens Noel or Alex Len), the Orlando Magic taking a shooting guard (Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore), the Washington Wizards taking a small forward (Otto Porter has refused to even visit anyone below the Wizards pick) and the Charlotte Bobcats taking a big man (whichever of Noel or Len is available, or PF Anthony Bennett).
But that doesn't mean it will happen that way. With trades and smokescreens, the NBA Draft has always been a crapshoot and this year is crappier than most.
According to ESPN's Draft Tiers, not one player in this draft is a shoe-in to make an All-Star team. Some could make it someday, but none are projected as sure-fire All-Stars.
At the third tier, projected long-term NBA starters, there are "the six" mentioned above. By process of elimination, the Suns will be able to choose from among two of those six.
None of those top six are point guards. So why even bother worrying about whether the Suns would take a point guard at #5 overall?
Because Ryan McDonough has hinted all month that the pool of best players at #5 is wider than six. At the start of the month, he said he was looking at 10-12 players for that 5th spot. The other day, he had narrowed it down to "6, or 8, or 10".
The Suns held a point-guard heavy workout earlier this month in which Trey Burke worked out alone, while Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin and C.J. McCollum dogged it out in the group workout. All but Larkin are projected to be drafted in the lottery, with a high chance that Burke (Pelicans), MCW (Kings) and McCollum (Pistons) are even gone by the 8th selection.
Remember, McDonough has said his draft pool as #5 is as big as "6, or 8, or 10".
Paul Coro of azcentral.com/sports, who only reports based on intel he's received rather than conjecture like I do, wrote yesterday/this morning:
If the Suns draft one of those players or perhaps a point guard surprise like Lehigh's C.J. McCollum or Michigan's Trey Burke, the choice likely will be more of a building block than a blockbuster in the rebuilding work.
The Suns will take a best-player-available approach into this year's draft, not even ruling out a point-guard selection with Goran Dragic under a long-term deal and Kendall Marshall and Diante Garrett coming off rookie seasons.
See how he just innocuously slipped that in there?
Last week, radio host John Gambodoro (plugged into the Suns front office at the highest levels) tweeted that the Suns love Michael Carter-Williams.
That's how teams prep their fans for a surprise. They sprinkle out an unattributed rumor in a good light through the beat reporters. Then later in the week it becomes something more substantial, but by that time the fans have had time to digest the idea. By draft day, it's even more clear.
Yet this rumor of maybe a point guard pick could all be just that: Rumor. Smokescreening.
Why would the Suns pass up two of the conventionally-listed "top six" just to duplicate the only position that is passably covered for the next three years?
Tomorrow I will be posting the draft history of both the Celtics and the Suns for the past decade. In that, you will see that the Celtics never overdrafted a player that high and kept him. Twice they drafted in the top ten (Randy Foye and Jeff Green) but traded them for better assets by the end of the night.
Don't expect the Suns to trade out of the 5th pick. It's probably more likely they trade up to #2 to guarantee their choice of McLemore/Oladipo than trade down.
The interest in Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum and Michael Carter-Williams may be real. But it's more likely that interest is in taking whoever drops to a later pick. Later than #5, through some kind of trade.
But that's just my guess. I deal in conjecture on this here blog.