The Phoenix Suns, an NBA doormat the last few years that can’t seem to get anything right – draft, coach, front office – may finally be on the right track.
The Suns traded for promising guard Eric Bledsoe earlier this month. The Suns have no bad, long term commitments on the books in the coming years. The best part? Phoenix has three first round picks in the stacked 2014 draft, so even if the Suns don’t know who they want to build around yet – it won’t be Michael Beasley and 2012 lottery pick Kendall Marshall doesn’t seem to be in the plans – they could know next June.
Yes, two of those 2014 picks (from Minnesota and Indiana) are protected, but the Suns will have their own 1st round pick, which almost certainly will be in the Top 10. Probably Top 5.
Here’s a best-case scenario: Indiana takes a step back*, falls to the 4th or 5th spot in the East, or about the 10th best record in the league. That’d give the Suns the 20th pick in the 2014 draft. And let’s assume the Wolves, with Love and Rubio and newbie Kevin Martin, finally remain healthy enough to advance to the playoffs, nabbing the 8th spot in the West. Let’s give them the 14th best record in the NBA, and Phoenix the 16th pick in the draft. And let’s say the Suns are as terrible as everyone thinks they’ll be, and do well enough in the ping-pong lottery to land the 3rd pick in the draft.
Phoenix, in that scenario, would be looking at something like:
#3 – Aaron Gordon/Marcus Smart. Gordon would start immediately and Smart would be intriguing – a Smart/Bledsoe backcourt could be nasty defensively.
#16 – Mitch McGary/Montrezl Harrell. Two beefy guys up front with a lot of potential. Harrell probably has a higher ceiling.
#20 – Pick a Euro and stash him. Dario Saric? Or bolster the bench with a scorer like Jordan McRae of Tennessee, CJ Fair of Syracuse or Spencer Dinwiddie of Colorado.
Of course, there’s a chance the Suns could package the 16 & 20th picks to move up into the Top 10, tossing in an expiring deal like Beasley/Gerald Green. Bottom line: the Suns are close to approaching Rock Bottom, but by 2015-2016, could easily be a team on the rise.
* I really like the Pacers, but the top of the East will be improved with Chicago (Rose) and Brooklyn (Pierce/Garnett). It’ll be interesting to see how Granger fits into the team upon his return, how George handles fame and if Hibbert plays like Playoff Roy or Regular Season Roy.