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How many athletes have got themselves into trouble by simply hanging out with "the wrong crowd?" Or even "squandered" their potential by letting others drag them down after they have made it to the top?

Ryan McDonough is not an athlete or a performer, but he has risen to the top and has tremendous potential. The company he keeps speaks volumes to that. He did not saunter into the press conference decked out in a Louis Vuitton suit with bling all over and the arrogance some might have. Instead he carried with him a small group that were quiet in nature as they watched Ryan achieve his dream, but spoke volumes about the person the Phoenix Suns just hired.

The McDonough family specializes in sports excellence. Will McDonough was a long time fixture at the Boston Globe working with the Patriots, Red Sox, and all the events in the city of Boston. He was a nationally known and respected writer.

His three sons all followed along the path of sports after many long nights talking sports in the living room and having deep thoughtful conversations.

Sports along with politics, religion, and a few other selected topics are easy to speak about with lackadaisical thought and pun filled rants, but the McDonough family analyzed things as they were happening and see things through different eyes than you and I. That is because of father Will.

His son Sean McDonough has been working on the TV side of things within sports with ABC and ESPN over the years. He is the man behind the camera and knows sports from that perspective.

Terry McDonough was a part of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning team in 2000 before moving to Jacksonville and now, this year, joining his brother Ryan in Phoenix as a part of the Arizona Cardinals.

Both his brothers were present and the allure of Ryan's greatness (as well as golf) brought in another universally respected sports mind to the press conference; Jay Bilas. As most already know Bilas is the anchor of ESPN's college basketball coverage and one of the brightest most outspoken minds in the world of basketball.

That was Ryan McDonough's entourage. A football scout, a sports TV producer, and a college basketball aficionado. No bells, no whistles.

Ryan is a basketball mind. He did not come in with public adulation as the "big name" that the Suns could have went after to sell tickets while ultimately floundering. Instead they got the right guy for the job, a well respected basketball mind with the pedigree and inner circle of what most would expect from a successful basketball decision-maker.

As Ryan was asked about the importance of having his family there he understandably choked up. His father was in sports and was no longer with him to see him get to this point. But the atmosphere he provided opened up the doors for the McDonough Family to walk through and make a mark in the world of sports.

Dad was the writer, Sean is behind the looking glass, Terry is football, and Ryan is basketball. It pays to have deep, thought provoking conversations while sitting in the living room.

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Last season was tough and for all intents and purposes a historically bad season. There is that. This is a new season with new faces and the same goal; to win the WNBA Championship. Meeting with the new faces and the old faces give the feel of a team ready to get on the court and have some fun.

Winning seven games in any given season is never fun and the Mercury are ready to get back to having some fun on the court.

Here are a few videos to get your palette wet for the upcoming season that could end up being another historic season, but for all the right reasons. This team has a personality that borders on reality TV with the amount of fun the individuals have and it gets ramped up to 11 with all of them in the same room.

Corey Gaines

Diana Taurasi

Brittney Griner

Erin Thorn

PHOENIX – Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby labeled this the “Summer of Analytics” and by doing so provided a direction for the franchise. But where last summer’s...

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Ryan McDonough, by all accounts, had a smashing debut yesterday in his press conference and later radio interviews. He is a no-nonsense, serious, analytical guy who has a clear vision of his coaching and front office structure going forward. He knows what he wants.

And what he wants doesn't fit the skill sets of Grant Hill, Lindsey Hunter or Michael Beasley.

Grant Hill

"On my staff, I told Lon and Robert I don't want specialists," he said, regarding what he wants in the front office with him. "What I generally prefer is a few guys that are master evaluators who know all the players, who can compare a guy who just got bought out in Europe to a guy who is available in the D-league to an NBA free agent who's at home working out. I want my top guys who can do that, and tell me who the best players are."

Grant Hill has been only a player in the NBA since graduating college. He's not a scouting junkie. Ryan McDonough seems to value a small team of guys who know it all, and have seen it all. He wants guys whose lives are all about video and travel to watch players face to face. Does that sound like Grant Hill, in the here and now, to you? Me neither.

You could say the Suns need better communication, and who's better than Hill at that? Well, after listening to McDonough, who got a communications degree, whose father was a journalist and whose brother is a TV guy, we don't need a mouthpiece who isn't the decision maker any more.

Ryan McDonough and the new coach look to be the faces of this franchise.

Grant Hill could fill a Mark West role, or an Alvan Adams role. They've been with the organization in various front office roles for years. But would Grant Hill be best served in a such a supporting, background role? Probably not.

Lindsey Hunter

While Hunter is still up for consideration, he doesn't appear to have the complete profile that Ryan McDonough wants in a head coach.

"Whether that's adjusted plus/minus, emphasizing corner threes, the value of two-for-ones," McDonough said about a future coach. "Those are just a few of the things we're going to ask our head coaching candidates about during the coaching search and I'm positive that the next coach of the Suns will understand the value of all those things."

Anyone who listened to Lindsey Hunter last spring, which I did a LOT, knows that Lindsey and analytics are not lifelong buddies.

"We are looking for a guys who's a leader," McDonough said, citing character and principle. "A guy who can develop players.

This might be Hunter, but that's still a stretch.

"Someone who's a good communicator. Someone who can embrace the rich tradition and history with the Suns, communicate our vision to the fans, to the media and all the people in the organization."

Hunter communicated, but not that well. He wasn't comfortable behind a mic, or sitting in his office with the press around him. It seems the Suns want a much better communicator this time.

While Hunter potentially has the leadership qualities that McDonough wants, the hard-working qualities, the toughness, Hunter just doesn't have the appreciation for analytics and the communication skills to fit McDonough's perfect profile.

And back to Grant Hill for a moment, you can write him off the list too. Hill's a wonderful communicater but he's not a coach, and McDonough already has a long list of actual, proven coaches at his disposal.

Michael Beasley

Emphasizing corner threes. Smart offense. Taking advantage of two-for-ones. Cutting edge analytics that prove theories and help you identify value that's not all about points and rebounds. Drafting Rondo at #21. Drafting Bradley at #19. Drafting Sullinger in the 20s.

How will Michael Beasley stack up to that scrutiny? Not well, I wager.

For now, McDonough is being diplomatic. And possibly also not killing Beasley's potential trade value, if there is any.

"With Michael, he's a talented player, " McDonough said on KTAR yesterday. "I've watched him for a long time. I remember seeing him in 2004 in Adidas camp. He was a child prodigy.

"He still has a lot of ability, but he has some maturing to do. I've seen him dominate at the high school level, at the college level at Kansas State. He has some growing to do. The new head coach and I get will get to try to have him see the value of hard work and hopefully he learns from some of those mistakes."

Being diplomatic. But also saying they have to investigate the allegations against him. Meaning, they aren't poo-pooing these rumors. The Suns are allowing the process to play itself out without defending Beasley in the meantime. It is what it is, and what it will be.

Doesn't bode well for Beasley's future, in my opinion.

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1. Victor Oladipo: 6'5" 214 lbs, SG

Other measurables: 21 years old, 6'9" wingspan (reportedly), 42" vertical (reportedly)

Compares to: (Young) Michael Jordan/Tony Allen

I realize most analysts have Ben McLemore as the top wing prospect, but since this is my write up, I'm going with Oladipo. Victor Oladipo is as close to the total package as a shooting guard as I have seen in many years. He's explosive, ultra-athletic, a lock down perimeter defender, and a very good rebounder. He also has the highest motor of any prospect, and is the most clutch as well. In fact, the only things I can legitimately list as weaknesses are his passing, which still isn't bad, and his jump-shooting, which he improved considerably this season and turned into one of his strengths in my opinion. The only player I would strongly consider taking over Oladipo is Noel, and even then, I can't say I'm 100% on board with that decision. V.O. has been shooting up the mocks lately, and deservedly so. My fear is that he may already be gone by the time the Suns pick if Phoenix doesn't end up drafting in the top 3.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Victor Oladipo 36 28.4 5.1 8.4 59.9 0.8 1.9 44.1 2.7 3.6 74.6 2.6 3.7 6.3 2.1 2.3 2.2 0.8 2.5 13.6


2. Ben McLemore: 6'5", 181 lbs, SG

Other measurables: 20 years old, 6'7" wingspan (reportedly), 40" vertical (reportedly)

Compares to: Ray Allen/Wesley Johnson?

Ben McLemore was one of the more exciting players to watch this year. He was the best player on a very good Jayhawks team that stepped up on multiple occasions, especially in the fourth quarter, to pull out some hard fought victories. McLemore has elite athleticism, second only to Oladipo among the wings, and he has the smoothest jumpshot in college. He also has nice length and the lateral agility to be a very good defender. McLemore has all of the tools to be a star at the next level...but will he fulfill his potential? Despite his athleticism, McLemore rarely creates his own shot, and doesn't attack the rim nearly enough. He can be so much more than a catch-and-shoot player, but we didn't see him do much more than that this year. Probably the highest boom/bust ratio of any wing in the draft, but Phoenix could be in the market for just such a player, as long as his rewards outweigh his risks...and I believe they do.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Ben McLemore 37 32.2 5.4 10.8 49.5 2.0 4.7 42.0 3.2 3.7 87.0 1.3 3.9 5.2 2.0 2.1 1.0 0.7 1.9 15.9


3. Otto Porter: 6'8", 200 lbs, SF

Other measurables: 19 years old, 7'1" wingspan (reportedly)

Compares to: Tayshaun Prince/Nicholas Batum

Porter is one of the most productive and less risky picks in this years draft. H's a very good shooter/rebounder and an excellent perimeter defender who can utilize his length to disrupt the offense. He is also a very good and willing passer and he can create his own shot off the dribble. However, with less risk comes less reward. I see Porter as a quality starter at best or a productive role player at worst...but I don't see him turning into an all-star caliber player at the next level. He doesn't possess elite athleticism or seem to have a killer instinct that often separates the cream from the crop. Don't get me wrong, Porter would be a very solid pick. But Phoenix may be looking for more than just that at this point.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Otto Porter 31 35.4 5.4 11.3 48.0 1.4 3.3 42.2 3.9 5.1 77.7 1.8 5.7 7.5 2.7 1.5 1.8 0.9 2.0 16.2

4. C.J. McCollum: 6'3", 192 lbs, SG

Other measurables: 21 years old, 6'6" wingspan (reportedly)

Compares to: Stephen Curry/Reggie Jackson

You know that player from the small school that hardly anyone talks about before the draft, that suddenly shoots up the mocks and ends up being one of the top picks? Well, McCollum could be that guy this year. Stifled by a season ending left foot injury last January, McCollum kind of dropped off the radar for a while. However, he is back practicing at full speed and appears ready to pick up where he left off as one of the top scorers this year in college basketball. As a senior, McCollum has proven that he can consistently be a potent scorer, and has even improved his points-per-game average every year (19.1, 21.8, 21.9, 23.9). McCollum is very quick and loves attacking the basket. He also has a solid jump-shot and loves to get steals and score in transition. His biggest drawback is of course his size, but if the Suns are looking for some lightning in a bottle in the form of an elite scorer, CJ McCollum may be the perfect fit.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - CJ McCollum 12 31.0 8.0 16.2 49.5 2.8 5.3 51.6 5.2 6.1 84.9 1.0 4.0 5.0 2.9 2.7 1.4 0.3 1.8 23.9

5. Shabazz Muhammad: 6'6", 225 lbs, SF

Other measurables: 20 years old, 6'11" wingspan (reportedly)

Compares to: Paul Pierce/James Harden

Shabazz Muhammad has to be one of the most debated prospects in this year's draft. Coming into the season he was the top ranked prospect overall, but after going through some troubles with his NCAA eligibility and finally showing up at UCLA a little overweight and out of shape, some of the luster quickly started to wear off. However, once he got into the grove at UCLA he showed exactly why scouts and analysts were so high on him. He is a versatile player who can slash to the rim or score with a jumper. He is a pretty good athlete, a willing defender (if not a very effective one), and he has a very high motor; giving it his all on both ends of the floor. The biggest knocks against Shabazz are that he heavily favors his dominant left hand, he struggles in transition, and he sometimes struggles to create his own shot. However, Shabazz has all of the physical tools to be successful in the NBA, and many of his weaknesses are areas that he can improve upon. If he slides in the draft he could end up being a steal for the team that ends up selecting him.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Shabazz Muhammad 32 30.8 6.3 14.3 44.3 1.3 3.3 37.7 4.0 5.6 71.1 2.7 2.5 5.2 0.8 1.6 0.7 0.1 1.7 17.9


6. Dario Saric: 6'10", 223 lbs, SF

Other measurables: 19 years old, 6'10" wingspan (reportedly)

Compares to: Chandler Parsons/Hedo Turkoglu

Saric is an international player from Croatia who is known for his court vision, high I.Q., ball-handling, and playmaking ability. He has excellent size for his position and is also a good rebounder as well. Dario has been climbing up the mocks lately because of his unique skill set and his potential. However, he is still unfinished as a total package, and needs to add more size and work on his jumpshot, which is inconsistent at times. Still, while Saric definitely won't be an option with an early lottery pick, he's worth keeping an eye on in case the Suns somehow acquire an additional pick.

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Poll
If the Suns end up drafting a wing with their first pick, who do you hope it will be?

  389 votes | Results

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