Suns draft history not as bad as you may think


The Suns have drafted some pretty damn good players who never got a chance to play with this trio.

The Suns have drafted some pretty damn good players who never got a chance to play with this trio.

As we count down the hours before Draft Day 2009, let’s first take a quick look back at the Suns’ recent draft history.

It isn’t pretty if you look only at the impact that player made in a Suns uniform. Amare Stoudemire is the only drafted Sun to do much of anything this decade.

Ironically or not enough, Amare was also the last lottery pick the Suns kept.

However, if you look at the players the Suns actually drafted, they haven’t done so bad for themselves. As for actually keeping them in Phoenix, that’s an entirely different story of course.

Here’s the list of notable players drafted by the Suns in the last 15 years:

2008

Robin Lopez, C Stanford, Pick 15

Malik Hairston, G Oregon, Pick 48

* Traded to Spurs with cash for Goran Dragic (Pick 45).

2007

Rudy Fernandez, G Spain, Pick 24

*Traded to Portland with James Jones for cash.

Alando Tucker, F Wisconsin, Pick 29

2006

Rajon Rondo, G Kentucky, Pick 21

*Traded to Boston with Brian Grant for a future first-rounder.

Sergio Rodriguez, G Spain, Pick 27

*Traded to Portland for cash.

2005

Nate Robinson, G New York, Pick 21

* Traded to New York with Quentin Richardson for Kurt Thomas and the rights to Dijon Thompson (Pick 54)

Marcin Gortat, C Germany, Pick 57

* Traded to Orlando for cash.

2004

Luol Deng, F Duke, Pick 7

* Traded to Chicago for Jackson Vroman (Pick 31), a future first-rounder and cash.

2003

Zarko Caparkapa, F Serbia, Pick 17

*Acquired Leandro Barbosa (Pick 28) from the Spurs for a protected future first-rounder. 

2002

Amare Stoudemire, F Cypress Creek, Pick 9

Casey Jacobson, G Stanford, Pick 22

2001

Alton Ford, F Houston, Pick 51

2000

Jake Tsakalidis, C Greece, Pick 25

1999

Shawn Marion, F UNLV, Pick 9

1998

No Pick

1997

Stephen Jackson, G Oak Hill, Pick 42

1996

Steve Nash, G Santa Clara, Pick 15

1995

Michael Finley, G Wisconsin, Pick 21

1994

Wesley Person, G Auburn, Pick 23

It says something about the success of the franchise that it’s only thrice been in the lottery in the past 20 years, and not counting the Deng trade they’ve picked up building blocks in Amare and Matrix both times, although neither of those selections were hailed as savior picks at the time.

Yes, it’s unlikely that happens again, but the Suns certainly got incredible value at the No. 9 spot in both of those drafts, and they even got great value at No. 14 the last time they held that selection 21 years ago when they picked a guard out of Central Michigan you may have heard of by the name of Dan Majerle.

We’ve spent much of the past year lamenting all of the money-saving draft-day trades the Suns have made, so let this be the last time we do such a thing this week. (That is, unless the Suns dump No. 14 for cash. Then we’ll spend the rest of the offseason complaining about that.)

Think about this for a second. If the Suns were to theoretically put together a team from their draftees of the past 15 years, this is how it would look:

PG Nash/Rondo/Sergio

SG Stephen Jackson/KryptoNate/Finley before he got old

SF Deng/Rudy

PF Marion (small ball of course)/Amare (with the bigs)

C Amare/Gortat/Lopez

Could you imagine that team flying around the court? D’Antoni would have to coach this squad no doubt, with Nash, Nate, Rondo and the Spaniards flying around the backcourt and Trix and STAT running bigs off the floor like they always did in their heyday. This team definitely wins a championship even if they don’t play much defense.

Kind of interesting how well all of those sold picks would have fit the Suns (oops, I promised not to bitch about that again!), but the moral of this story is that the Suns really haven’t done such a bad job of drafting, particularly when they’ve had a decent pick.

At least the ones they’ve kept.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

  • Alex, Macedonia

    Its not that simple … The Suns traded Nash for the pick that become Marion and if the Suns kept all draft picks then Joe Johnson, Grant Hill,Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and many other players that the Suns fans loved,would have never played in Phoenix …

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com/ Michael Schwartz

    Definitely, and of course many of the traded picks were traded for another pick that they ended up trading, so under no circumstances would they have had all these guys, not to mention they traded the Deng lotto pick so they could have enough $$$ to sign Nash and Q. Just pointing out that they’ve drafted some pretty damn good players the past 15 years, and I don’t think many teams with three mid-lottery picks and below could match that.

  • Kevin Jackson

    The majority of the recent picks were sold before the pick was made. S wouldn't the team buying the pick (ie Portland) be the team that deserves the credit for the player drafted?