The Bad Luck Phoenix Suns and the 2013 Draft

Which draft prospect will don the new logo next season?

It’s almost that time.  That time of the year where you get a true sense of who the basketball nerds are.  It’s NBA Draft time, baby.

Be warned, we’re focusing on the Phoenix Suns.

QUICK ASIDE ON THE LOGOS: Like the black on the starburst logo, hate the new S logo. Those new jerseys better be awesome. OKAY DRAFT TIME.

The Suns have a top 5 pick for the first time since 1987.  Wait, what???!!!!?!?!?! How is that even possible?  As many dark years as we’ve had and somehow we have less (0) number one picks than Cleveland has had in the last three years (2).  The highest we’ve ever selected was number two, which we’ve done twice.  By my count, we’ve only cracked the top ten 17 times in our 45 years as a franchise.[1]


[1] Granted, some of this is the Suns’ own fault; PHX is notorious for trading away their picks, but still.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theory guy, but you have to admit the odds have been never in our favor[2].  We will always be the team that comes so, so close[3] to winning it all and we will always be the team that gets screwed by the Draft.


[2] Points for cleverness?

[3] 1976, 1993 Finals runs, the infamous 2007 Stoudemire/Diaw suspension, 2010…I’d even count 2006.  We got to the Conference Finals without Stoudemire.

I really thought this would be the year the NBA would finally give us a break and throw the number one pick our way.  Are we not owed one? Instead, Cleveland ends up with its third number one pick in 10 years. Cleveland, who undeniably tanked the end of their season[4] and ended up with only the third worst record, is rewarded with a top five pick for the fourth time in three years.  The lottery is such a joke and it rewards tanking teams[5].


[4] Don’t try to tell me a young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristian Thompson and three months of Anderson Varejao couldn’t string together more wins than the Suns IN THE CENTRAL DIVISION.  Do you know what horrible, unforgivable things I would do to have that team?!

[5] Also, don’t try to tell me the Suns tanked.  They’re really that bad.

Even so, the fifth pick is still something to get excited about.  For the record, I don’t think this is a weak draft.  While there aren’t any standout superstars, I think it’s loaded with solid guys that will no doubt be starters in a few years.  We’ll revisit this draft in a few years, realize it was actually pretty good, and we can all say I said it first.

So, who are the Suns picking? Well, it’s tough to say.  This has got to be the most uncertain draft of all time.  It all depends on the four teams ahead of us and I see a few different scenarios:

Scenario 1 (And probably the most likely scenario):

  1. Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel
  2. Orlando selects Ben McLemore[6]
  3. Washington selects Otto Porter
  4. Charlotte selects Alex Len
  5. Phoenix selects Victor Oladipo


[6] This is probably the toughest call. Word on the street is ORL is big on Oladipo.

I’m thinking (hoping?) this is how things will turn out. The Orlando and Phoenix picks could flip.  I’d be really happy with McLemore or Oladipo.

Scenario 2 (The Cleveland Cold Feet Scenario):

  1. Cleveland selects Alex Len
  2. Orlando selects Nerlens Noel
  3. Washington selects Otto Porter
  4. Charlotte selects Anthony Bennett/Ben McLemore
  5. Phoenix selects Victor Oladipo/Ben McLemore

Okay, so I kind of cheated on this one.  It’s tough to say with Charlotte, they’ve been quiet on their intentions.  Obviously there are a million different scenarios here, but I think these two are the most likely.  There’s a lot of talk about Cleveland taking Len over Noel, but honestly, I don’t see it happening.  I think Noel has much more upside and it would go against what Cleveland has been doing with their picks over the last few years.  Either way though, it probably doesn’t really change things for the Suns.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough has said that the Suns are targeting about eight different guys that they could be possibly drafting.  I think we can safely assume that Noel, Porter, Len, Bennett, McLemore, and Oladipo are six of those eight, with the others probably being Trey Burke, CJ McCollum, Michael Carter Williams, or, gulp, Cody Zeller.

There’s no way we’re getting Noel or Porter; they’re the only two surely to go by the third pick.  I’d be really, really happy with Oladipo or McLemore.  Dipo is a crazy worker with a great motor.  There’s no way he doesn’t make it in the league.  Worst case scenario he’s a more athletic Avery Bradley.  Best case?  Who knows?  He might end up being the next Dwyane Wade.

I really feel like McLemore could be a Paul George-caliber player.  There’s been a lot of questions about his character, fitness, etc, but I don’t think you can pass on his potential.  Both him and Dipo would be perfect fits for the Suns.

I like Bennett a lot too, but I’m not sure he’d be a great fit in Phoenix.  Love his game, not concerned with his height, and I think he’ll be a star, but I don’t know how we’d use him.  Still, I’d take a chance on him.  He’s kind of like a way more talented Brandon Bass.

If we don’t come away with Oladipo, McLemore, or Bennett, I’ll probably be disappointed.  I’m just not sold on Alex Len.  Everyone says he’s agile, but he looks pretty sluggish running the floor to me.  He reminds me a lot of Jonas Valančiūnas and don’t get me wrong, Valančiūnas is a nice player, but he’s not the type of guy you want to build around.  The injury scares me a bit too.  I can’t shake the feeling that he’s not going to hold up in the NBA.

Unless the game plan is to play Goran Dragić at the two and trade Kendal Marshall, (or maybe even Dragić, but that would just be blasphemous.  I can’t see it happening.) I don’t understand why we would be drafting a point guard.  Burke’s got potential, but he’s too small.  Can’t get behind Carter Williams. I do like McCollum a lot, but I’d much rather have a guy like Dipo or McLemore.  Why would we develop another PG and move Dragić to SG when we could just draft a SG, both of which have great potential?  I’ll be severely disappointed if McDonough’s first move as GM is to draft yet another point guard.

And if we draft Cody Zeller? I quit.  I freakin’ quit as a Suns fan.

The Suns also have the 30th pick.  Hard to say what’s going to happen there.  Hearing Tony Snell here a lot, but I’d prefer to take a chance on a big guy here, especially if we’re drafting Oladipo or McLemore.  I’d love to see the Suns trade up and go for someone like Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, or Kelly Olynyk.  In recent years, I’d say there’s no way, but maybe McDonough will shake things up.  I hope so.

If I were a betting man, I’d say we leave the draft with Oladipo.  Or McLemore. It’s too hard to say! It all depends on that ORL pick, but I think they have to go with McLemore.  There’s more upside there.

So Oladipo!! Yeah!! What do you think of Oladipo? Would he be your top pick?

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