Everyone digs new Suns GM Ryan McDonough

It’s hard to find a bit of negative reaction to the Phoenix Suns’ decision to hire 33-year-old Ryan McDonough as the team’s general manager. After all, it’s easy to drink the Kool-Aid that any front office move would have cooked up following the Suns’ worst year since their inaugural season. But like it is when NBA teams draft players, the word potential brings hope that a youthful selection would develop into a star.

With McDonough, it’s just about talent evaluation. And that should be fine with Phoenix if he fits in with president of basketball ops Lon Babby.

“By tapping McDonough, I think (the Suns) found a guy who has a real talent in this area,” said ESPN’s Chad Ford. “I don’t think he’s going to be your traditional GM. You think of McDonough of a head scout whose title is GM. His job is to get the players on the team and to identify those guys.

“I think they made a good choice.”

Whereas Jeff Weltman would probably bring a shrug and satisfaction from Suns fans and Scott Layden would at least put the team in competent hands, the McDonough hire is about being progressive, ahead of the curve. That said, it’ll be a matter of building a strong working relationship with Babby while completely rebuilding the current roster. It’s hard to see how the latter will be done all that easily and all that quickly, but we knew that already.

McDonough will be formally introduced as the team’s GM Thursday. In the interim, it was interesting to dig for reactions — there were many good things being said about the Suns’ new GM. And by the way, Ryan isn’t the only McDonough reportedly heading to Phoenix. There is the belief that brother Terry, who was fired from the Jacksonville Jaguars, will be joining the Arizona Cardinals.

[View the story "Suns hire Ryan McDonough as GM" on Storify]

Suns hire Ryan McDonough as GM

The Phoenix Suns filled their general manager position vacated by Lance Blanks.

Storified by Kevin Zimmerman· Wed, May 08 2013 10:34:55

With hiring of Boston’s McDonough, Suns direction is clear: No more stopgap short-term free agents, rebuild through multiple picks in draft.Adrian Wojnarowski
First job for McDonough in Phoenix will be to hire a coach: Expect him to find a bright, young assistant to grow with a full-blown rebuild.Adrian Wojnarowski
Wish the late Will McDonough were alive to see his son Ryan take over as Phoenix Suns GM. Congratulations to McDonough family.Adam Schefter
Look for Terry McDonough, fired by @jaguars on Monday, to join @AZCardinals scouting staff.Gil Brandt
"What gets guys like me excited: Spending all that time watching video & stats looking for outliers to help you get an edge."-Ryan McDonoughEric Musselman
Congrats to UNC grad and former SID student assistant Ryan McDonough, new GM of the Phoenix Suns.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id…Carolina Basketball
Ryan McDonough is 33 going on 43, by the way. He’s a very mature, grounded guy.Paul Flannery
Suns fans, you’re getting a very smart and thorough GM bit.ly/10ipc2YPaul Flannery
Sat on plane with Ryan McDonough about 10 years ago and at that point you could tell he would be #NBA GM in future.Jason Smith
Congrats to new Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough, a great young rising star and from Boston’s "First Family of Sports." I know dad would be proud!Fran Fraschilla
Danny Ainge on Ryan McDonough: “For the past 10 years, he’s played a huge part in our success."Baxter Holmes
Have met Ryan McDonough a few times over the years. Bright and hard working. Celtics loss is Suns gain. Phoenix has a lot of work to do.Probasketballdraft
Congrats to our friend Ryan McDonough on being named Phoenix Suns GM. We wish you luck on building another great team like 2002 Ambassadors.Boston Red Sox
Congrats to my friend Ryan McDonough on new GM job for the Phoenix Suns. 33 years old, but no doubt prepared. Smart guy from a good family.Matt Davison
Pumped for my buddy Ryan Mcdonough as he moves to do great things in PHX.Patrick Burke
Hiring of Ryan McDonough works for me. Son of a great writer + reporterDan Bickley
Hear @WojYahooNBA’s thoughts on the @Suns hire of Ryan McDonough as GM at 5:00 w/ @danbickley & @mikejurecki on @XTRA910. #SunsXTRA Sports 910
There still is belief that the "good guys"get a chance. A tremendous hire by the Phoenix Suns in naming Ryan McDonough GM. A real superstarTim Welsh
New @Suns GM Ryan McDonough is smart, hard working and great guy!! Will would be proud as we all are who call him a friend!Rich Krezwick

  • john

    Sabermetrics will take over the world. It’s only a matter of time.

  • a-game

    Three years ago when blanks was hired, i was not excited at all and definitely was not sold on him. In fact from what i read, he was the suns’ fourth option with the top three (weltman, demps, etc..) declining to take the job.

    But this hire of McD has got me excited again. And not only was he in their top three, but he was, i think, their top candidate outright.

    I can see why everyone is raving about this hire. Its a great one!

  • Scott

    If he can turn our lead into gold this summer, we’ll all be happy. :)

  • a-game

    Ohhh and yes we all bash Babby and Sarver aaaaaaaalot (and we’ll continue to so do), but lets give them a bit of credit as well for selling the suns and having these candidates NOT flake out – ive heard that even weltman really wanted the job this time around.

    With that said….let the bashing commence..

  • Scott

    @a-game -

    I think all of the candidates looked at the job with 2 ideas in mind:

    1) *I* can do better than Blanks!

    2) And if I can’t, they won’t make me stay for the full term of the contract, so … free money!! ;)

  • Scott

    BTW, DX has updated scouting and a video for PG Nate Wolters. Wolters is currently projected to go at #8 in the 2nd round.

    Is Wolters > Marshall?


  • a-game


    Lmao…good point!! All three candidates had nothing to lose :-D

  • Forever is2long

    Scott, In my humble opinion every point guard in the draft will likely be better than Marshall. I know I know I am probably a little over the top but I hate his game.

  • Scott

    Honestly, what is the difference between Marshall and Wolters, except that Wolters has an offensive game?

    That, and Marshall went in the lottery while Wolters is projected for the 2nd round.

  • Forever is2long

    Having an offensive game is a huge difference Scott. When I say I hate his game I am talking about I hate Marshall’s game. I apologize for not being clear. My badd.

  • Scott

    @forever -

    No problems; I understood you don’t approve of the Marshall pick. And I agree that while seeing the floor and passing is highly desirable in a PG, having an offensive game is critical. If he’s going to be of use, Marshall needs an offense.

    So … my question about Wolters was more of a general question for whoever has an answer.

  • Rebel 2

    McDonough is very young (heck, he’s younger than Kobe). I find it interesting that Lon Babby would select someone so young and relatively inexperienced person to fill in this position, but perhaps that’s all he really wanted so as to continue to maintain total control and have another fall guy in line come next year, if there needs to be someone taking the fall then. Curious that the only interesting comment about McDonough from Babby is that the talent seeker “has talent”… Remember when that phrase was used to sell the Beasley brand in the desert?

  • Rebel 2

    Yeah, I know. I will be called a hater and perhaps even a troll. But, I forgot to add this: remember that McDonough didn’t pick Rajon Rondo, the Suns did. In fact, what good pics have the Celtics had besides Green? (Who flopped during the playoffs). It isn’t hard to just keep pressing the keep-KG-and-Pierce button. Remember who Nate Robinson used to play for? Oh yeah… the Celtics.

  • Scott

    @Rebel 2 -

    You’ve got it wrong about the Rondo pick. The Celtics approached the Suns to see if they would sell the pick. The Suns said yes. The Celtics then told the Suns who to pick … and that’s how Rajon Rondo was picked by McDonough.

    By the same means the Suns bought picks in different years from San Antonio. The Suns asked for Barbosa at one point and Dragic at another.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    re: Nate Wolters

    It’s probably a moot point….can’t see the Suns taking a PG with so many holes to fill on a talent-starved roster.

    Suns have the 4th (for now) 30th & 57th picks.
    Would not take Wolters at 30…though would consider(actually jump for joy) Dennis Schroeder, the kid from Germany, if he fell to 30.

    If no pg’s were taken at 4 or 30, then would consider Wolters if he fell to 57.

  • Rich Anthony

    No need to draft a point guard right now. Even if the suns wheel, deal, and end up with say, 6 draft picks, there’s no need to draft a point guard if they’re not going to be a sure-fire elite (backup) PG.

    PG is covered unless Marshall gets traded. The suns have MAJOR HOLES in every other position on the team. Lets handle some of those first.

    I wouldn’t even mind if PHX made some trades to obtain multiple 2nd round picks. Lots of very young talent overseas that should be available. Lots of (raw) athleticism and crazy length in Europe. We have time to invest.

    Get another 1st if able, (late-lottery to mid-first) and get some talent. No PG THOUGH

  • john

    If Trey Burke is available at 4 (which I’d say is pretty likely) and that’s where the Suns end up picking, I’d still have to seriously consider picking him despite the presence of Dragic on the team and having so many other holes to fill. Need is a terrible evaluator of talent. The Suns don’t *need* to fill holes, they just *need* good basketball players. Trey Burke might end up being the best basketball player out of this bunch, and that’s all I care about. Finding the best player at whatever pick they have.

    Btw, CJ McCollum went to Lehigh. Isn’t that where Babby went? I think we can forget about speculating who the Suns will draft and just give McCollum his locker already. ;)

  • GeorgeSteenburgh

    I want to see Mo Cjheeks interview as Head Coach.

  • DBreezy


    Reading the latest rumors on Burke on ESPN, I stand by what I said before to Foreveris about him. The Magic were supposedly set on Smart, feel pg is their most pressing need, and they are said to be considering taking Burke even if they get the first pick. My feeling is that if he continues to show well throughout the Pre-draft process, that he will be off the board before the Suns pick.

    It’s a weak draft up top with 2 of the projected top 3 and 3 of the top 8 injured and possibly out for at least part of next season. There’s not the same risk in simply taking the guy you really want with a high pick as usual and there might not be the same trade value for those picks because of the injury factor. If CLE moves out of the top 3 but the Suns stay at 4, I think there’s an even higher chance that Burke could be gone. Also CLT needs some star potential and if Burke shows it and someone like say B-Mac doesn’t it wouldn’t surprise me for them to take Burke and try and move Kemba.

    In other news, after listening to the McD intro presser, those on the Oladipo bandwagon better tell him to work heavily on corner 3′s and finishing percentages on the break. I get the sense that the latter isn’t just about dunking ability, but how many possessions end up in a fg, ft, both, a to or a reset.

  • Forever is2long

    John, Dbreezy and I had this discussion a week or so ago and I agree with you 100% that if Burke is available the Suns need to seriously consider drafting him because I think he has the highest ceiling. DBreezy I do not think there is any way Bobcats trade Kemba Walker to get Burke. Walker is young and had a breakout season for them. He had some really good games, though he is still inconsistent (growing pains).

    While I think Orlando should take Burke, they may be intrigued with Noel who some feel is the best player in the draft.

    If Burke goes before the Suns pick, Noel, BMc or Porter could be available for the Suns. I am anxious to see if the new GM thinks Oladipo is a better fir for the Suns than Porter. I am not as sold on Oladipo as some others are but I love his heart and athleticism.

    It will be a bold move if McDonough trades down so I am not sure he wants to make that type of statement. However if we could net Dieng and Franklin I would say McDonough has nerves of a burglar. However I hope the Suns just trade Gortat for a pick now or next summer. I am perfectly fine with trading down especially if Burke and Noel are gone when the Suns pick.

  • Forever is2long

    Assuming the Suns do not trade down and do not trade Goratat for a pick this summer, would any of you consider drafting Dieng with a likely #4 pick? Today I am not sure I would but if he was impressive in the pre-draft camps I would have to consider it. I like his game a lot.

  • Ty-Sun

    The more I read about him, the more I like Otto Porter. Not enough to say that the Suns should take him over anyone else, just that I like him and think the Suns could do a lot worse. I think he might become an Alex English type player. Hopefully some of you still remember Alex. I lived in the Denver area back in the 80′s and watched Alex play quite often back then. One description of Porter – “… he is more fluid and smooth than quick or explosive” – reminds me a lot of English.

    I’m not saying that the Suns should draft him but that I wouldn’t be disappointed if they did. But who they get in the draft depends a lot on the lottery and what spot they ultimately pick at.

  • Scott

    Heh … seems like even in this weak draft people want all the players. ;)

  • john

    Even a weak draft can help this team out quite a bit, haha. Pretty sure the only player on the roster who is currently better than anyone in the draft at his position is Goran Dragic.

  • Scott

    The new scouting report + video on DX today is for Reggie Bullock, who is currently projected to go at #29, within consideration for the Suns’ #30 pick.


    IMO, he’s basically Oladipo with less lateral quickness and less athleticism.

    Kind of interesting that there can be so little difference between the #4 and #29 pick.

  • Scott

    @john -

    To be fair, probably Gortat is also better than all of the Cs in this draft … as rookies.

    Dieng might be close, though. If the Suns were to get him, I think he’d be functionally similar.

    Scola is also probably better than all the PFs, and Dudley better than the SFs.

    Speaking of PFs, it’s interesting that this draft has very few PF-capable players in the first round.

    FWIW, I notice that DX has Rudy Gobert – of all people – listed as PF/C. Can you imagine a 7′ 1″ PF with a 7′ 9″ wingspan? :)

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    @ DBreezy

    about 3-4 weeks ago I told you that the only player who could knock Noel, Mclemore or Porter out of the top 3 was Trey Burke. I think you disagreed back then, but it looks like things have changed.

    @ Forever
    I still think Anthony Bennett has the most upside in the draft. Burke was the National POY & is (imo) the safest pick in the draft.
    But if upside is defined as the difference between how good a player is today as opposed to how good he can be if he reaches his maximum potential than Bennett gets my vote.
    Not that I would necessarily draft him because I also believe he has a lot of risk & the Suns can not afford to blow this draft.

  • john


    Yeah, perhaps it was a bit of hyperbole from me. Throw Dudz or Gortat in the NCAA and they’d absolutely dominate (and Goran would just be otherworldly).

    Dieng was who I had in mind when thinking about Gortat’s equal (and Noel, possibly, if he comes back strong from his injury, although he’s more of a 4 than a 5).

    At SF, I was thinking of Shabazz, Porter, and Oladipo. While I admittedly would take Dudley over any of those guys right this very minute, by season’s end, I think at least one of those guys will clearly be superior to Dudley (my money would be on Oladipo).

    At PF, this draft seems especially weak. If you count Noel in the PF group, I’d take him over Scola for the (assumedly) great defense he’ll be playing. Maybe Anthony Bennett as well. While Scola 3-5 years ago was clearly better than any of the college players today, I think Scola’s end is nearing quickly. I’m expecting him to have a serious drop in efficiency this season if his team requires him to play major minutes, although that is admittedly just a guess on my part.

    So, yes, you’re right. Even the guys on the Suns are better than these guys coming fresh out of college, but I think with a little bit of seasoning (referring to time, not food), this rookie class could result in players better than the Suns at every position that isn’t occupied by the Dragon.

  • Forever is2long

    hawk, I officially have you down as a Bennett sponsor. Actually I agree he has a really good high side, I just cannot get around the fact he seems to short to guard the big power forwards in the league and too slow to guard the threes. It seems easier to hide a point guard with defensive issues than hiding a forward with similar problems.So you get no arguments from me about his upside. I think Detroit Pistons will love to take him.

    I definitely agree it is too risky for the Suns to draft him.

  • DBreezy

    @ Hawki,

    I did think that ORL would consider Burke as being too similar to what Jameer was when he was drafted, preferring Smart instead. But like you said things change, Smart isn’t in the draft and it appears Burke has got a real shot at top 3 going into workouts.


    While I don’t think Charlotte currently is planning on Burke, what they want/need more than anything down there is a star. If Burke wows in workouts like Lillard did a season ago and shows that kind of potential, I think they may jump on him and deal with the consequences later.

  • Scott

    I think Bennett would be a much better pick if he had any defensive intensity. He has enough length (7′ 1″ wingspan) to bother PFs, and could be like a DeJuan Blair with knees if he was interested in getting rebounds and getting back on defense. (Blair is about 30 lbs heavier.)

  • Forever is2long

    Ok DBreezy, put me down in the column that says Bobcats would never draft Burke. I think Jordan and others in the organization feel Walker has the potential to be an allstar. They are really happy with his progress. As a second year player he averaged 17 points a game with 5.7 assists while shooting 42% from the field on a really bad team. In the last game of the season in a head to head matchup against Irving, he went for 24 and 7 dimes while Irving had 24 and 10 dimes. I think Walker is really good and they are not going to risk a known commodity who is still very young for another small point guard.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    @John – please don’t look at my wish to fill holes as something that brings just a “so-so” player into the fold.

    That first pick the Suns have has got to be a hole filler in that it must be an absolute STUD in a position where we don’t currently have one. that’d be SG – C.


    You all know he’s been my guy since before he was anybody else’s guy. I think it was Scott who mentioned that he better work on his corner 3′s. I doubt highly that that particular skill will be a primary concern for him if he’s playing the 2 beside dragon. I also doubt finishing on the break will be a problem for him.

    He’s going to be attacking when Dragon isn’t. 24/7. He’s going to be defending with Dragon. The corner 3′s and such will be left to the likes of JMZ or Wes or whoever is manning the 3 position –

    Actually, lets throw all of that out of the door. We don’t even know what kind of coach (system) we’re going to end up with.

    The thing with Burke is, that if you draft him in PHX, he has to be a starter and he has to be a beast. He can’t be anything other than that.

    Does that mean Dragon plays the 2? The pick still doesn’t remove Marshall from the equation as the team would still need some sort of bench general.

    Are you then trading Dragon? 1 step forward 2 steps back in my opinion. I just don’t see the pick being as sexy as some of you do. Seems to generate more questions than answers at a time where questions need to be erased.

    I’ve cooled on Bennett too; never really liked Otto as a Sun as I feel he plays too far below the rim. I do love his game but just don’t see the fit, (especially at picks 1-4).

    we should do a VOTS-wide TOP-5 Draft board. see where everybody is at in terms of who they want to see PHX draft. My draft board is pretty set I think.

  • DBreezy


    I made the corner 3 comment and it was based on some of the things McD feels are important. Oladipo has a smaller sample size both this season and for his career as a shooter so I’m sure that is something that will be tested in workouts.