14, 18 and 27 (and 50) are the Phoenix Suns' magic numbers on draft night. Whose names do the experts think will be emblazoned in purple and orange on Thursday night? On the eve of the 2014 NBA Draft, we've collected the experts picks for the Phoenix Suns in one handy place so you can keep score Thursday night.

Nobody knows anything.

- William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade

Mr. Goldman's bold proclamation about the film industry is just as true for the NBA draft industry.  Andrew Wiggins was a surefire number one pick until he wasn't.  Then Joel Embiid was a stone cold lead pipe lock at number one... until he wasn't.  Now it's Wiggins again.  Except the Cleveland Cavaliers have that pick and as they proved last year with Anthony Bennett... nobody knows anything.

What I do know is that in almost all the mock drafts, the top 8 prospects are still the top 8 prospects, but in slightly different orders.  That said, there have been a few shake-ups as far as mid-first round projections go since the last time we checked in with the experts.  Sprinkled in with the usual suspects for the Phoenix Suns are such exotic names as Doug McDermott (some one get Jacob some smelling salts!), Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic, and Elfrid Payton!

14 different players are wildly speculated judiciously considered for the Suns' 3 first round picks.  I give my baseless opinion thoroughly researched notes underneath the round-up.

Chad Ford - ESPN.com

14th pick: James Young - G/F, 6-7, 213lbs, Kentucky, Freshman, 18 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 40.7 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'0" wingspan, 5.1% body fat, 35.5-inch max vertical

18th pick: Zach LaVine - PG, 6-6, 181lbs, UCLA, Freshman, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 44.1 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'8.25" wingspan, 4.7% body fat, 41.5-inch max vertical

27th pick: Clint Capela - PF, 6-11, 222lbs, Switzerland, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 63.2 FG%

50th pick: James McAdoo - PF, 6-9, 228lbs, North Carolina, Junior, 21 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 45.8 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'2.25" wingspan, 6.2% body fat, 34-inch max vertical

Marc J. Spears - Yahoo.com

14th pick: Doug McDermott - SF, 6-8, 218, Creighton, Senior, 22 years old

2013-14 stats: 26.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 52.6 FG%, 44.9 3PT%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'9.25" wingspan, 7.1% body fat, 36.5-inch max vertical

18th pick: Rodney Hood - G, 6-8, 208lbs, Duke, Sophomore, 21 years old

2013-14 stats: 16.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 42.0 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'8.5" wingspan, 7.5% body fat, 36.0-inch max vertical

27th pick: Clint Capela - PF, 6-11, 222lbs, Switzerland, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 63.2 FG%


Chris Mannix - SI.com

14th pick: Dario Saric - PF, 6'10", 223lbs, Croatia, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 16.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 49.7 FG%

18th pick: Zach LaVine - PG, 6-6, 181lbs, UCLA, Freshman, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 44.1 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'8.25" wingspan, 4.7% body fat, 41.5-inch max vertical

27th pick: Kyle Anderson - G, 6-9, 230lbs, UCLA, , Sophomore, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.8 spg, 48.3 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'2.75" wingspan, 13.4% body fat

Sam Amico - FoxSports.com

14th pick: Adreian Payne - F, 6-9, 239lbs, Michigan State, Senior, 23 years old

2013-14 stats: 16.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 42.3 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'4" wingspan, 7.6% body fat

18th pick: Elfrid Payton - PG, 6-4, 185lbs, UL-Lafayette, Junior, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 19.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 2.3 spg, 50.0 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'8" wingspan, 5.7% body fat, 35.5-inch max vertical leap

27th pick: K.J. McDaniels - SF, 6-6, 196 lbs, Clemson, Junior, 21 years old

2013-14 stats: 17.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 45.9 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6' 11.25" wingspan, 4.5% body fat, 37-inch max vertical leap

50th pick: Isaiah Austin :(

Tim Keeney - BleacherReport.com

14th pick: Zach LaVine - PG, 6-6, 181lbs, UCLA, Freshman, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 44.1 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'8.25" wingspan, 4.7% body fat, 41.5-inch max vertical

18th pick: James Young - G/F, 6-7, 213lbs, Kentucky, Freshman, 18 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 40.7 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'0" wingspan, 5.1% body fat, 35.5-inch max vertical

27th pick: Kyle Anderson - G, 6-9, 230lbs, UCLA, , Sophomore, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.8 spg, 48.3 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'2.75" wingspan, 13.4% body fat

50th pick: Josh Huestis - SF, 6-7, 213lbs, Stanford, Senior, 22 years old

2013-14 stats: 11.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 45.1 FG%

Pre-Draft Measurements: 7'1" wingspan, 38.5-inch max vertical


DraftExpress.com

14th pick: Jusuf Nurkic - C, 6-11, 280lbs, Bosnia, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 54.5 FG%

Pre-Draft Measurements: 7'2" wingspan, 23-inch max vertical

18th pick: James Young - G/F, 6-7, 213lbs, Kentucky, Freshman, 18 years old

2013-14 stats: 14.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 40.7 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'0" wingspan, 5.1% body fat, 35.5-inch max vertical

27th pick: Jerami Grant - SF/PF, 6-8, 214lbs, Syracuse, Sophomore, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 49.6 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'3" wingspan, 3.8% body fat

50th pick: Dwight Powell - PF, 6-11, 234lbs, Stanford, Senior, 22 years old

2013-14 stats: 14 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 46.2 FG% 25.6 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'.05" wingspan, 6.2% body fat, 35-inch max vertical

Scott Howard-Cooper - NBA.com

14th pick: Gary Harris - SG, 6'4" 205lbs, Michigan State, Sophomore, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 16.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 spg, 35.2 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'7" wingspan, 4.6% body fat

18th pick: Clint Capela - PF, 6-11, 222lbs, Switzerland, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 63.2 FG%

27th pick: Jerami Grant - SF/PF, 6-8, 214lbs, Syracuse, Sophomore, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 49.6 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'3" wingspan, 3.8% body fat

50th pick: Cameron Bairstow - PF/C, 6-10, 252 lbs, New Mexico, Senior, 23 years old

2013-14 stats: 20.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 55.6 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7' 0.75" wingspan, 8.7% body fat, 33.5-inch max vertical

Kris Habbas - NBADraftInsider.com

14th pick: Adreian Payne - F, 6-9, 239lbs, Michigan State, Senior, 23 years old

2013-14 stats: 16.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 42.3 3FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 7'4" wingspan, 7.6% body fat

18th pick: T.J. Warren - SF, 6-8, 220lbs, NC State, Sophomore, 20 years old

2013-14 stats: 24.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 spg, 52.5 FG%

Draft Combine Measurements: 6'10.25" wingspan, 8.0% body fat, 35.5-inch vertical leap

27th pick: Jusuf Nurkic - C, 6-11, 280lbs, Bosnia, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 54.5 FG%

Pre-Draft Measurements: 7'2" wingspan, 23-inch max vertical

50th pick: Damien Inglis - SF, 6-8, 240lbs, French Guyana, 19 years old

2013-14 stats: 4.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 49.5 FG%

Pre-Draft Measurements: 7'3" wingspan

Most Common Picks

14th pick: Adreian Payne (2)

18th pick: Tie - James Young, Zach LaVine (2)

27th pick: Tie - Jerami Grant, Kyle Anderson, Clint Capela (2)

50th pick: Tie - Damien Inglis, Cameron Bairstow, Dwight Powell, Josh Huestis, James McAdoo (1)

Overall: Tie - Zach LaVine, James Young, Clint Capela (3)


Summary

Nik Stauskas seems to have worked his way into the top 13 of everyone's mock drafts since the last round-up as he didn't appear once in the 14 slot after doing so twice last time.  James Young has seen his stock slip a bit, showing up twice at 18 instead of 14 previously, while Zach LaVine holds steady.  And after seeing his value climb in recent weeks, Clint Capela has been joined at the tail end of the first round by Jerami Grant and Kyle Anderson.  I'm sure all of this movement is based on unfounded rumors and misdirection forthright assessments and objective workout results.

While we all have our calcified prejudices pet ideas of who the Suns should draft, I don't think any of us would be disappointed with a projected haul of LaVine, Young and Capela if they ended up being the best players available at 14, 18 and 27.  Missing out on Adreian Payne could leave the Suns with a Channing Frye-sized hole at power forward depending on how Frye's free agency plays out.  What Ryan McDonough does with the 50th pick is anyone's guess anyone's guess, but I think Phoenix should swing for the fences with an international project like Damien Inglis if he's still there.

All of these mocks assume everyone picks at their designate slot.  If you like the free-for-all of a trade-happy mock draft, then please, please, please visit the Bright Side of the Sun Community Mock Draft in which 2/3 of all active NBA players changed hands and Minnesota struck draft gold with Julius Randle falling to the 9th pick and Tyler Ennis sliding all the way to 22.  Seriously, it's a fun and completely bonkers read and probably just as likely to happen in that order as it is Chad Ford's.  If you want a more "realistic" mock draft that includes trades, look no further than the 2014 SBNation Mock Draft which is also a fun, if slightly less bonkers, read.

And feel free to share your mock draft thoughts in the comments below.  We're all experts here on the internet!

Gary Harris is a talented player who gets it done on both ends of the floor. Does he fit into Phoenix's plans?

GARY HARRIS

School: Michigan State

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 19 (sophomore)

Draft Range: Draft Express - 14NBA Draft Insider - 13

Stats

Measurables

  • Height: 6'2.5" without shoes, 6'4.5" in shoes
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6'6.25"
  • Standing Reach: 8'

Combine Numbers

Harris did not participate in the athletic testing at the combine.

Shooting

Shooting is the strength of Harris' game. He's primarily a jump-shooter, and a very good one. He can hit shots from all over the floor: spotting up on the perimeter, running off screens and pulling up op stepping back off the dribble.

He's a good free-throw shooter, although as a jump-shooter he doesn't get there a ton at four attempts per game.

Harris already had NBA 3-point range, and he isn't shy about letting them fly. He shot over 40 percent as a freshman, but his percentage fell to 35 as his attempts per game increased by two. If Harris goes to a team where he gets good looks from the perimeter, the percentage should shoot back up.

Scoring Ability

Harris is primarily a jump-shooter, but he's a very intelligent one who knows how to get off good looks. He is terrific at using screens and reading defenders, curling or flaring depending on how the defender plays in order to get himself open. He's also capable as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll, making on-target pocket passes if the defense jumps at him or stepping into jumpers if the roll man is covered. If defenders close out hard Harris is able to put the ball in the deck and finish strong.

Harris is a capable ball-handler and passer, able to bring the ball up the court, run the offense and get his teammates the ball. I don't think he is a full-time point guard, but he's comfortable with the ball in or out of his hands.

However, he's not an overly explosive athlete, which makes it difficult for him to get all the way to the basket, or to finish once he gets there. He shot just 45.5 percent at the rim and made just 25 shots at the rim in the halfcourt. He can dribble but his handles aren't overly advanced and he doesn't have a lot of shake to him. At this point, he just isn't very dynamic.

Defense

Though Harris lacks elite length or athleticism, he has everything else you'd like to see in a top notch perimeter defender. He gives great effort on the defensive end, rather than saving his energy for offense, and was often matched up with the opposition's best perimeter player. He's a strong, compact guard who can fight through screens and hold his ground when opponents try to drive on him. He has quick feet and works hard to stay in great position. He closes out under control and contests shooters well.

He's a thief, playing the passing lanes and timing his reach ins well to disrupt offenses and create turnovers. Yet he's smart about it and picks his spots rather than gambling every time down the floor. His help defense is terrific, as he is always looking to provide support when teammates need it by rotating over to the right spot, yet he does so without losing his own man. His IQ and fundamentals are terrific.

To sum it up, he's just a pest.

Overall

Harris is the best two-way guard in this draft not named Marcus Smart. He's very smart and effective on both ends; a skilled offensive player and a relentless defensive one.

But his lack of polish or explosion as a penetrator worries me, and I'm not alone. Every year, Sports Illustrated posts evaluations of many draft prospects from a group of anonymous NBA Scouts - a group SI calls Finch. Here's what Finch had to say about Harris:

"He can put the ball in the basket, but I would love him to be a better ballhandler and make plays for others guys. He's a good athlete; I don't think he's a special athlete. He can guard better than guys like [Nik] Stauskas and [Doug] McDermott, but he's not nearly in their class as a shooter."

Harris visited Phoenix for a workout earlier this month, and Suns GM Ryan McDonough said he wasn't worried about Harris' drop in efficiency as a sophomore:

"I think he was dealing with some injuries this past year. I think he was banged up from all the intel we've gathered. He's one of the better two-way players in the draft. He certainly shot the ball well out here today and his ability to defend stood out. I don't think it was a matter of him getting overloaded, I think it was a matter of him getting physically worn down and beat up."

Fit in Phoenix

I like Harris, but I don't love him. Further complicating matters, there isn't a natural fit for him on this team at the moment. The Suns took their developmental back-up shooting guard last year in Archie Gooodwin. Are they ready to draft over him after just one year?

Harris is a guard; he doesn't have the versatility to play small forward that we see with bigger guards like current Sun Gerald Green or lottery prospect Nik Stauskas. Are the Suns maximizing their value of the No. 14 pick (he likely won't get to 18 if the Suns pass on him with their first pick) if they have both Goodwin an Harris basically fighting for the same minutes?

Potential solution would be to play the two together. Goodwin and Harris' skill sets are somewhat complementary as one is a shooter and one is a slasher. However, in the scenario, one or both of them would be asked to run the point, and I don't believe it would be a good idea to burden them with that responsibility this early in their careers. The Suns don't have the kind of playmaking bigs or wing that could make this young backcourt work.

The other solution is to split up Dragic and Bledsoe's minutes a bit more and go with more traditional backcourts with one of the point guards and one of the shooting guards. However, there's no reason to fix something that isn't broke, an that still isn't freeing up very many minutes anyway.

In terms of system fit, I think Harris could do very well in Phoenix. He's good in the open court, smart and a very good shooter who can space the floor for the point guards. There's a very good chance he's the best player available when the Suns go on the clock, and in that case it might be best just to go with talent and figure the rest out later.

Poll
Should the Suns draft Gary Harris at No. 14?

  117 votes | Results

The Bright Side took on the other SB Nation Blogs in the best simulation of the real thing that we could muster. It wasn't easy.

You saw the Mock lottery unfold yesterday and by now you know the Suns ended up with a couple of new players. What you don't know is HOW that happened, and how many attempts to trade for this and that were rebuffed. Here you go.

For the second year in a row, the SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft was a whirlwind. The editor from each team's blog took over the role of their NBA team's General Manager with their staff taking on roles of scouts and Asst. GMs. In Bright Side's case, I had about 14 Asst. GMs who all provided some level of input throughout the draft. Thanks everyone!

This is the closest any of us is going to get to the real thing. We all know our own team extremely well, but only tangentially about everyone else's.

I was Ryan McDonough in this format, but a very poor version of him. While McD was able to convince Indiana (post-draft, mind you) to include extra assets in a deal for Luis Scola last summer, I had a hard time convincing rival GMs that Markieff Morris is an actual NBA player. Still, the trade offers flowed back and forth. From the opening bell, my phone buzzed from incoming email like morse code on a broken record.

After the draft ended, I wondered if GM Ryan McDonough could verify that draft time is crazy.

"Theres a lot coming at you," McDonough told me last Friday of Draft night. "The misconception might be that you just cross guys off the board and the phone doesn't ring.

"But the phone is ringing constantly and other teams are calling about trading picks or players for a pick, so you really have to be flexible and have an idea of not only what other teams have draft wise this year and going forward but also the players on their roster."

True that. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about other teams' assets but I quickly found out that my perception of other team's assets was very, very different than theirs. And vice versa. My role players were their garbage. Their role players were my garbage.

The top 5

Let's just get this out of the way. There was no getting into the Top 5 in this draft. None. Remember these are hardcore fans of their own team. They cover their team all day every day. They are not going to toss out their chance at a future star like rolling dice in Vegas.

Every one of those GMs decided quickly that the talent at the top of the draft is better than any package of lesser talent anyone wanted to offer for it. Not even teams in the 6-10 range could sniff the top 5.

The draft began on Tuesday, but Cleveland claimed Joel Embiid on Monday afternoon. No trade discussions. The pick was made. (more on "the Embiid effect" later)

Embiid. Then Jabari Parker, then Andrew Wiggins, then Dante Exum (slight surprise), then Julius Randle to Orlando. All touted as future stars.

The 6-10 picks

The staff and I had a general mindset going into the draft:

  1. Do something interesting, but...
  2. Don't trade Goran Dragic
  3. Don't break the CBA rules (ie. Channing Frye, Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker could not be traded)
  4. Don't take three players with 14, 18 and 27
  5. Do something interesting

Before the draft started, I tried to acquire Kevin Love. Swear to the highest being I can swear to. But I was unceremoniously shot down by the canishopous.com editor. Without Dragic or Bledsoe in the package, the best I could offer was a package headlined by Markieff Morris, the #14 pick this year and Top-5 protected Lakers pick next year. Other pieces were offered as well, including players and picks like 18 and 27. I might have even offered the Gorilla's kitchen sink. Still no dice.

So I needed something better than Morris or the 14 or Laker pick. I tried to acquire a pick in the 5-9 range to use THAT pick to parlay for Love along with the Laker pick and Morris. I needed that shiny diamond.

I had some conversation from the Lakers at #7 and Sacramento at #8 but soon learned why I didn't hear back from Boston.

No Love

After Utah ignored me to draft Dante Exum (by now, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Julius Randle were taken as well), Kevin Love was traded to Boston for #6 (Aaron Gordon), #17 and some flotsam and jetsam that didn't even include Jared Sullinger. Minny's prize was Arizona F Aaron Gordon, who they felt was the second-best talent in the draft and the best individual talent offered for Love overall.

See that's the thing about trading for stars, especially Kevin Love and the top talent in this particular draft. It's not about adding more and more "stuff" to the gift basket. You don't get points for how hard it thumps the table when you drop it down. You get points for shiny 2-ounce diamond in the middle.

I was frustrated. The fact is the only players on your team that other bloggers know anything about are your very best starters and/or those who have spent oodles of time on national TV. My tradable assets fit neither category.

No one north of Lake Powell, east of Pinetop or west of Lake Havasu gives two shits about anyone on the Suns not named Goran Dragic or Eric Bledsoe. And since Bledsoe is untradeable in this mock draft format, all I had was Goran Dragic. The staff and I went round and round on Goran, and ultimately decided this wasn't the time or place to move on the Dragon. The Dragon was off the table.

The NBA is all about individual players, and Minny wanted Aaron Gordon.

"You try to prepare for every scenario," McDonough said about draft night. "Obviously its impossible to be 100% prepared. You have to be pretty flexible and active but there is a lot of intrigue and uncertainty."

So I regrouped. Noah Vonleh was still on the board and the Lakers had been rumored to want a PG. Smart was still on the board. I tried hard to grab either #7 or #8 to get F Noah Vonleh. If you can't have Love, then Noah was the next best thing out of this draft in my opinion. I like him better than Gordon and Exum and even Randle, making him the #4 overall talent in the Draft for me.

No Vonleh

Damn it to hell. The Lakers blogger felt the same about Vonleh that I did. No matter how hard I tried, how many combinations I offered, they wouldn't bite. Again, Vonleh's individual talents trumped my gift basket of lesser assets.

At that point, once Love AND the top 7 talents were off the board, the staff and I didn't see the value in trading up anymore.

All the best power forwards were suddenly gone in the first 7 picks. Left on the Top 10 board were Dario Saric, who I didn't want to draft, and a number of guards.

*Note: at this point, Saric was still "in" but I didn't want to draft him because I just...don't. He's got a rep as an a-hole and doesn't play D. He'd actually be a more viable pick to me as a trade asset like Mirotic/Chicago going forward than a player on the Suns team.

No trade-up after #7

The team and I decided sit where we were and let the draft board fall. In our opinion, none of the remaining talent was significantly better than someone who would fall to #14, so why give up a number of assets?

I was apparently channelling McDonough right there.

"We don't want to do it (trade up) just for the sake of doing it," he said on Friday. "And give up an asset and say, 'Aw, shoot . . . that guy we moved up to get would have been there at 14 anyway,' and we could have kept the pick or the player or what have you."

Boom-dizzle. Exactly, Ryan. Exactly.

I rescinded my offer for the 8th pick. Didn't matter, because Sacramento took a different deal anyway. They found a way to acquire Taj Gibson and the #16 pick for their #8 pick. To them, that was better than Keef and #14.

In a three-team trade with Philly and Sacramento, Chicago found their Derrick Rose insurance. The Bulls surrendered Gibson, Boozer, #16 and #19 for a lone asset: #10 overall. That's a lot for #10. Wow. Philly got #8 and #19 for giving up the #10 and eating tens of millions in bad contracts (Boozer, Jason Thompson, Jason Terry, Quincy Acy).

The principals in this trade: Sacramento gets 16 and Gibson; Philly gets Dario Saric, #16 and bad contracts; Chicago gets Marcus Smart and cap space to make a run at a free agent like Melo. Winners all around.

In this mock world, the Bulls plan to play Smart and Rose together, in what in retrospect looks like a brilliant move. Not only can they play together, but Smart can take over when Rose is out (or gone). And, the Bulls now have the cap room to sign a major free agent.

Sandwiched quietly in the middle there, Charlotte took Doug McDermott at #9. And Jacob wept.

Picks 11-13

"There is some benefit to seeing how it plays out in front of you," McDonough said of draft. "That way if you're laying back especially if you have multiple picks if you see a guy falling you can jump up and get him."

So, the top 10 are gone and the Suns still see many of their favorites sitting on the board. Nik Stauskas. Gary Harris. Elfrid Payton. Adreian Payne. That was our target four, with only three picks between us and the them.

We also liked Rodney Hood and James Young, but only Kris Habbas among us had him higher than any of the four above.

The next pick off the board was Zach LaVine, and we quickly realized at least three of our top prospects in the mid-first round were STILL ON THE BOARD. And yet, none of us were comfortable that any of those top four would last to 18.

At that point, we could have sat back and said to ourselves, let's take a Clint Capela there at 18. Or see who falls among our top guys, Hood and Young. Someone will. We could have sat tight.

But this is a g#dd*mn mock draft, and we're NOT just going to sit around and take our picks. In real life, I might have sat back at this point and waited. But not in a fake draft.

Movin on up!

We decided it was time to make a move. We wanted two of our top four players, not just one.

I contacted Minnesota, owners of the 13th pick, to see what it would take to swap 18 for 13. I offered a minor player to seal the deal, but Minny came back saying only a salary dump would entice them to trade down.

"If they offer you a veteran player for the pick," McDonough said. [I'm serious. He really said these things two days after I lived it in this mock draft.] "You need to have that guy evaluated and also how they fit onto your roster how that affects your salary structure, cap going forward and depth chart as well. You try to prepare for every scenario.

"Obviously its impossible to be 100% prepared. You have to be pretty flexible and active because there is a lot of intrigue and uncertainty."

I knew the Suns had just over $5 million in cap space, enough to absorb a player as the cost to move up. Minnesota offered Corey Brewer (exactly $5 million, for two years). I countered with other combinations. Minnesota declined.

I could have held firm, stayed at 18, said no thanks to eating $10 million for the right to draft a guy I really liked. But again, this is a mock draft. I wanted to make a trade.

I thought about McDonough eating $1 million last year to move up one spot from 30 to 29. I thought about Philly eating Boozer's and Thompson's huge contracts to move up two spots to draft Dario Saric (in the mock draft right here).

I thought about taking the risk and saying no, potentially just sitting at 18 stuck with a guy I didn't really want as much as our top four.

Then Tyler Ennis was taken at #12 by Orlando and I realized that we could have any two of our top four prospects if I could just move up.

I ran the trade by the group. There were dissenters at first, but ultimately we all agreed that absorbing Corey Brewer was worth it. He would fit into the Suns scheme in case P.J. Tucker left, could run the floor and make an occasional three-pointer while playing really good defense. There are worse $5 mil/yr players out there. And besides, I figured the real McDonough could re-package Brewer any time he wanted. He dumped Luis Scola last summer for assets, for chrissakes.

We took the trade, and were the proud owners of #13 and #14 with Stauskas, Harris, Payton and Payne all still on the board.

Offers on 14

Philly offered Thad Young. They wanted to get a third pick in the lottery. We turned it down.

Detroit offered their unprotected 2015 pick. But Detroit now has Stan Van Gundy, an underachieving squad and a home in the East. #14 in this draft was likely better than Detroit's 2015 pick, protection or not. We declined.

13 and 14

After going around a bit, we settled on two new Suns players:

  • Adriean Payne
  • Nik Stauskas

The cleanest combination at 13/14 was a power forward and a guard.

Bring the Payne!

There was little to no conversation about NOT taking Payne with one of the picks. He was a given.

I admit here and now that I'm a Payne homer. I know he's got limited upside and likely won't be more than 28 minute-per-game player in the NBA. And he's old at 23 already. I know all that.

But when I saw that story of him befriending that terminally sick little girl, when I heard his generosity and genuineness when being interviewed I said to myself "that's a Phoenix Suns player". A better person than player.

So, lambast me for it. I'm okay with that. But I will always bring the Payne. Always.

Nik vs. Gary vs. Elfrid

This was quite the toss-up and could have gone either way. Ultimately, we went with the highest rated guard of the three, and that was Stauskas. Mocks have him going as high as #8 (Charlotte) and as low as #14 (Suns).

We took the highest rated player.

Here's the blurb I wrote for SB Nation:

Being that the Suns still want to run along the thin line of contending and building, we've decided to draft a ready-to-go player in PF Adreian Payne and a young player with high potential in SG Nick Stauskas.

Payne will fit like a glove on the Suns as a stretch four who can fill in at PF and C. And, he fills a need position since Channing Frye and Markieff Morris are both free agents by 2015.

Nick Stauskas was really high on our board. Some of us think he will be better than anyone taken after the 7th pick. He can be the tertiary playmaker in small lineups with Dragic/Bledsoe, and also acts as insurance at the SG position in case Bledsoe or Dragic leave in the next year.

A summer league lineup of Ish Smith, Archie Goodwin, Nick Stauskas, Adreian Payne and Alex Len will "bring the payne" next month in Vegas!

The door is now open for the Suns to move out of the 27th slot. Our "youth" pool is full. Make your offers.

Lottery Summary

I would have liked to have acquired a big name player like Kevin Love for the Suns top two picks, but it just didn't happen. I would have like Noah Vonleh or any of the Top 7, but it didn't happen.

Maybe I suck as a GM. Or maybe it's just a little bit harder than we all think to get a trade done. For every winner (Celtics got Love) there has to be a loser. Maybe Gordon will pan out, maybe he won't. But that package wasn't nearly as good as the haul they gave up for Garnett seven years earlier. Maybe Marcus Smart will be the savior in Chicago, or maybe Chicago will miss Taj Gibson more than they think.

It's a tough call, but in the end the Suns have three new players - Stauskas, Payne and Brewer - without giving anything up but a little cap space.

And the 27th pick is still to come.

Sreekar, Scott Howard and Bryan Gibberman discuss the Kevin Love rumors, what the Suns should do with their three first round draft picks and the stupidity of not wanting LeBron James on your team.

Well we did it.  The podcast nobody asked for is finally here.  If you're a loyal Twitter follower of Bryan Gibberman, Scott Howard, or Sreekar [last name redacted] then you probably saw this coming.  If you're not on Twitter - then we apologize in advance for what is almost certainly the worst surprise of your evening/morning.  

If you click the button to play this thing you'll find us covering all the hot topics - how we came up with this brilliant idea (spoiler alert - Goldberg from The Mighty Ducks is heavily involved), the Suns draft, Kevin Love trade rumors, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, and we pay heed to King James I of America.  

There are puns, rants, smiles and possibly even cheap hard candy. As summits go it isn't exactly the Yalta Conference but we had a little fun with it.   

So if you like smart ass snark monsters who are pretty good at stepping all over each other - then this is the podcast for you.  Welcome to Bright Side......After Dark.  

Listen here:

The Phoenix Suns have made calls to other teams inquiring about the availability of their point guards, according to ESPN Draft Insider Chad Ford. That’s obviously more surprising than the...

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