The Suns announced the roster of their new-look front office on Thursday. General manager Ryan McDonough added some veteran leadership to his front office, another youthful right-hand man and men from a wealth of different backgrounds. Here are a few quick hits on each new addition.
Pat Connelly, assistant general manager: Connelly spent the last seven years working for the Washington Wizards and was most recently the director of player personnel. He has international experience and like the 33-year-old McDonough is relatively young having earned his undergraduate degree from Mount St. Mary’s in 2002. Connelly’s brother, Tim, was formerly the director of player personnel with the Wizards but handed the spot to his brother as he left to take an assistant GM position with New Orleans.
Trevor Bukstein, assistant general manager: The 31-year-old has spent the last three years working under president of basketball operations Lon Babby as the director of basketball administration. His expertise lies in knowledge of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, cap rules and the business number crunching side of things. Like Babby, Bukstein has a sports law background with an undergrad from Michigan and a law degree from Georgetown.
Ronnie Lester, scout: The addition of Lester as a scout gives McDonough a good amount of credibility. Lester was the assistant general manager of the Lakers for 10 of its most successful seasons and is a former NBA player. His eye for talent will give McDonough the ability to oversee the bigger picture and should take some of the pure talent evaluating duties off the GM’s plate.
Emilio Kovacic, international scouting consultant: A 45-year-old Croatian, Kovacic might be the most interesting addition to the team. He is the European general manager of Synergy Sports Technology, a scouting service used by NBA teams and bloggers alike. Kovacic played for the Suns summer league in 1992 and also played at Grand Canyon University under then-coach Paul Westphal. He played professional for 20 years overseas.
John Treloar has remained in his director of player personnel position. Scouts John Shumate and Bubba Burrage will be retained by McDonough’s new front office as well.
Suns work out point guards
PHOENIX — The Suns worked out some of the draft’s top point guards on Thursday. Trey Burke worked out by his lonesome as the top prospect in the group, but Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse and LeHigh’s C.J. McCollum led the list of players who competed with one another. They were joined by Miami point guard Shane Larkin and Iowa State point Korie Lucious.
Joining the point guards were French big man Mouhammadou Jaiteh and Akron center Zeke Marshall. Jaiteh could be an interesting option with the Suns’ 30th pick, and Marshall would be a developmental prospect to take 57th.
From the sound of it, the one thing the Suns are doing more than other teams might would be testing players’ conditioning.
McCollum had worked out with Orlando and Philadelphia so far. He and Carter-Williams — workout buddies leading into these preparations — are headed to Sacramento next but both mentioned that Phoenix did a good amount of doing pure conditioning drills toward the end of the workout.
And although it’s hard to take much from the draft workout interviews, but the Suns getting a jump on the competition is again good news. Like the GM search and coaching search, timing is everything. Now, Phoenix has seen most of the top overall prospects save for those injured and swingman Otto Porter.
That gives Phoenix time to evaluate what it saw and get first dibs on inviting players back for second looks.