Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough does not want to stand pat and draft at 14, 18 and 27 in the first round. He wants to parlay those picks (and up to 3 2015 first rounders) into a star. That star could be in the top 10 of this draft, or could be an established veteran on another team via trade.
But let's assume all those best intentions fall flat, and the Suns end up taking players at the 14, 18 and 27 spots just like they are slotted.
Who should they take?
On Hood: The Suns were the breakout team of last season behind Jeff Hornacek's up-tempo offense and the two point guard attack of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. The one hole in the starting lineup might be at small forward, where former NBA castoff P.J. Tucker found a niche as a defensive stopper and started 81 games for the Suns. But while Tucker did his job last season, the 3 is a spot where Phoenix can easily upgrade. They'll be looking for a player who can fill Tucker's role as a defensive stopper and also hit three-pointers in Hornacek's pace-and-space offense.
The player who fits that description the best is Duke forward Rodney Hood. Hood might not be as talented offensively as N.C. State's T.J. Warren, but he projects as a better shooter and better defender. Hood made 42 percent of his nearly five attempts per game from three-point range for the Blue Devils last season. If he can maintain that type of efficiency, he'll fit in nicely in Phoenix.
Sam Amico of foxsports.com says it should be PF Adreian Payne at 14, followed by Rodney Hood at 18 and Shabazz Napier at 27:
On Payne: Can mix it up in the paint and bury shots from NBA 3-point range. Not overly consistent, but is among top two or three bigs available when he's on.
Yahoo! Sports says SG Nick Stauskas at 14, followed by Zach Lavine at 18 and Bogdan Bogdanovic at 27
Scout's take on Stauskas: "He's a proven lights-out shooter who can play well on pick-and-rolls. Elite ball-handler. Worst-case scenario he's a great shooter."
DX take on Harris: Considered one of the best shooting guard prospects in this draft, thanks to his strong combination of shooting, defense and basketball IQ. Now that Harris' college career is over, we can take a step back and conduct an inventory of everything he displayed this season as an NBA prospect, as well as the things he still has to improve on.
Chad Ford of ESPN has the Suns taking PG Zach Lavine at 14, followed by Cleanthony Early at 18 and Clint Capela at 27.
The Suns already have two combo guards in their starting line with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, but I don't think they'll hesitate to pull the trigger on LaVine if he's on the board. He has as much upside as anyone in the draft. He gives them another lethal shooter and should find minutes given that the Suns' backcourt lacks any real depth at either the 1 or the 2.
CBSSports.com offers three different perspectives on the Suns draft, with everyone picking different players for the Suns.
Moore on Clint Capela at 14: A potential defensive monster with insane athleticism. Capela in full court transition could be devastating.
Harper on Kyle Anderson at 14: How fun would Kyle Anderson be in the Suns' rotation? He's a do-it-all forward with a vast skill set and would help the ball move quite a bit with the weapons they have. This might be a bit of a reach at 14, but he fits the Suns better than any other prospect taken after this slot. Anderson can play the 3 or the 4 and he can be a valuable weapon for Jeff Hornacek.
Parrish on T.J. Warren at 14: Warren is a creative scorer who should be able to get buckets at the NBA level despite being neither a great athlete nor a terrific shooter.
And finally, our own Kris Habbas runs his own draft website NBADraftInsider.com, and has the Suns picking Adreian Payne at 14, K.J. McDaniels at 18 and Jusuf Nurkic at 27.
On Payne: Prototype stretch-four that can shoot, block shots, and rebound at a quality rate. Payne does not have the upside of his younger peers, but he will stretch the floor and help the team out from day one.
On McDaniels: For as well as Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker have played for the Suns as of late they are not getting any younger. An upgrade on the wing is sorely needed for this team to be an even more lethal offense, McDaniels is a great athlete and much improved shooter.
On Nurik: Draft-and-Stash: With the third and final pick the Suns can look long-term at a big man that gives them a different look as a bruiser in the paint. Nurkic has a large, wide NBA frame with great touch and interior skill.
That's a quick roundup of draft picks for the Suns at the moment.
This is all before individual workouts that tend to provide more focus to the public on what each team really wants at their pick.
Are the Suns serious about a point guard? Or do they want to find the best two-way players? Or do they want to draft guys who fit their offensive style more than anything?
We shall see.
Yup, time for three guys to talk about a lottery and some basketball... Get your POPCORN!!! Oh, and it is always about Kevin Love here in Phoenix as you already know.
If the status quo happens when there is potential for greatness should anyone be disappointed? If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it did it make a sound...?
Enough with rhetorical question roulette and on to the Phoenix Suns who sent twin magic to the NBA Draft Lottery in New York in an attempt to move up into the Top 3 of the 2014 NBA Draft. That did not happen as the Suns stayed put, as every team in the history of the No. 14 Overall Pick has done before them, and will be picking at 14, 18, 27, and 50 in the upcoming draft. So, again, the status quo thing.
Dave, Jim, and I hash out potential scenarios, trades, draft picks, rumors, and more as we three-man-weave ourselves through this episode of the podcast.
New Link if original is not working: Phoenix Suns Podcast Episode 56: Reaction to NBA Draft Lottery2