Phoenix Suns top draft value rankings, move up in future power rankings


After a decade in which the Suns have not drafted any impact players (with the jury still out on the current crop), an ESPN draft projection expects that to change in a big way the next few seasons as the organization continues its rebuild through draft picks and cap space.

Kevin Pelton’s draft value rankings covering the 2014 and 2015 drafts projects the Suns to get the most value out of these selections by a wide margin thanks to the plethora of picks they own and the team’s projected fall to the bottom of the league. Pelton estimates the Suns will receive 13.0 WARP in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons from these picks whereas second-place Philly is only expected to net 8.7 WARP.

Writes Pelton:

The Suns have amassed more first-round picks than any other team in the league. In all likelihood they will have three first-round picks next year (Indiana and Minnesota owe them future first-rounders) and two in 2015 (when they get a pick from the Los Angeles Lakers via the Steve Nash trade). Of course, the most valuable of all are Phoenix’s own. SCHOENE projects the Suns as the league’s worst team in the tougher Western Conference, and estimates they head into the lottery in the No. 1 spot more than 60 percent of the time. While that doesn’t guarantee the No. 1 selection (the Suns land that an estimated 22 percent of the time), it would mean getting one of the four top prospects in 2014′s deep draft. Phoenix figures to spend one more season near the top of the lottery, and could have two 2015 lottery picks depending on how the Lakers fare in free agency next summer.

Even better for Phoenix’s future, the Suns aren’t done amassing draft picks for the next two years. With around $6 million in cap space and an asset like Marcin Gortat potentially available to trade, the Suns have the means to continue adding selections.

Of course, luck will play a huge part in the value the Suns eventually extract from the next two drafts. Even if the Suns are the league’s worst team, odds are they won’t pick first. Frankly, I’m not even sure Phoenix will be quite as bad as the models predicts if Dragic and Bledsoe mesh.

Regardless, these rankings make it clear that the Suns have finally committed to rebuilding through youth, and if they get lucky on future lottery nights those picks could change the franchise’s trajectory in a hurry.

Suns no longer at bottom of future power rankings

Although the Suns staved off the futility longer than expected, ESPN’s future power rankings have traditionally painted a grim picture of the Suns’ future.

Buoyed by the strength of their future draft value, the Suns are finally on the way back up in the latest rankings covering the next three NBA seasons, if ever so slightly with a ranking of No. 27.

Writes Chad Ford:

Well, it looks as though we were right when we said the Suns had hit rock bottom in May. The Suns move up two spots in this year’s rankings thanks in large part to how bullish we are about their draft prospects. They are on pace to have a very high pick in the next couple of drafts plus they own future first-round picks from the Pacers, Timberwolves and Lakers. That pushed them into the top spot in the draft category.

We also are a little more bullish on their roster thanks to the addition of point guard Eric Bledsoe and rookie big man Alex Len over the summer. Those two have the potential to be the cornerstones that the Suns begin to build around.

We also gave their management a small bump thanks to the hiring of Danny Ainge’s protégé, Ryan McDonough. If he can provide the same sort of talent evaluation he did in Boston, the Suns, for the first time in a while, might actually draft one or two players worth keeping around.

The Suns are still a long ways away from being a playoff contender, but for the first time in several years, the team is finally on the upswing. 

The Suns topped the league with an 89.4 draft score, bettering Orlando’s 82.8. On the flip side, only the Sixers ranked worse in the category of current players.

I agree with Ford that the Suns have already hit rock bottom although I feel like that came last summer when the Suns started to make future-focused moves.

As McDonough and staff continue to build an exciting young team it will be interesting to watch the Suns’ ascent up these power rankings, especially if their drafts end up being as fruitful as projected.

And 1

Continuing with the ESPN theme, Larry Coon finished his piece on winners and losers of the new CBA by writing, “In short, the 2011 CBA shifted the advantage from the rich teams to the smart teams. With a leveled playing field, the teams with superior front offices are the real winners under the new agreement.”

With the kind of moves the Suns have made this offseason, they are taking full advantage of the new CBA.

Tags: Draft Value Future Power Rankings

  • GoSuns

    I love our new durection

  • Voqar

    For the first time in a LONG time I feel like our FO might actually have a clue – or more than a clue. We have clarity and a direction.

    At least the setup is going well thus far. We still have to see what they actually DO witht the picks.

  • Ty-Sun

    The Suns are a work in progress. They don’t have the young core that they need just yet but I believe they are on the right path. This season they will not be good as far as wins but I think they will be exciting and entertaining to watch.

    Last season the Sun set in the Valley… this season it begins to rise again.

  • Scott

    It looks like McD will make a huge change in the direction of the franchise.

    Hiring him might turn out to be the best personnel decision since bringing Nash back from Dallas.

  • Ty-Sun

    And I think Horny was a good choice for head coach too, Scott. He will grow as a coach as this team grows. The expectations are low this season so there will be little pressure on him and the team. If they can manage to win just 30 games this season will be viewed as wildly successful and if they only win 20 no one will be greatly disappointed.

    The last few years Blanks kept trying to blow sunshine up everyone’s asses by trying to reload instead of rebuilding. The moment Amare stepped out of the door the Suns should have started rebuilding. I hoped that they could find a way to reload instead of rebuild back then but I was wrong. If the Suns had given in and worked out a trade for Nash back then the Suns might have actually been in a much better place right now. But that’s old news. Better to look forward than backward. Past mistakes can’t be changed so what’s the use of dwelling upon them?

  • Foreveris2long

    With the acquisition of Len, Bledsoe and Goodwin this past summer, they have already exceeded expectations in my opinion. If Plumlee or Green turn out to be good players it will be a bonus. You have to love the direction we are headed. It will be fun watching the games with a cold beer and no expectations except quality playing time for the young guys and signs of improvement as the season progresses.

  • DBreezy

    I’ll take Ty-Sun’s comment at least one step further. The moment that they knew that weren’t interesting in paying Amar’e max dollars they should have done a Deron Williams and moved him to start rebuilding. If they wanted to rebuild on the fly, they probably should have gone a different way when they decided to move Trix rather than extend him.

    Now the key is smart moves and patience. This team isn’t like the one Ainge got in Boston that had two stars on it (Pierce and Walker) that you could use to either build around or as trade pieces. It doesn’t have the kind of strong young pieces that would come together if you overpay for an aging veteran like they did with Nash a few years back. And situations like Harden don’t come along often as we’re already seeing with Paul George coming close to being locked up.

    So it seems like we’re most likely waiting for one of two situations. Either they get a big time star in the draft like Wiggins to start a relatively rapid ascension or they get multiple strong young pieces that compete well together like an Indiana or a Denver. All while shrewdly navigating the cba so that they can avoid what has happened to OKC for two years in a row.

    The OKC and MIA models are really getting put to the test sustainability wise.. We’ll see what happens with Miami after this season, but you can’t argue with 3 straight finals appearances with 2 chips and counting. OKC has modified the SA approach of using cheap vets and overseas free agents to constantly reload around their core and instead decided to attempt to do it with guys on rookie deals and/or one year rentals.

    With the changes in the cba really hurting contract $$$ and lengths for vets, I tend to think a modified version of the SA system will probably be more fruitful than what OKC does. Especially in a world of one and done guys. Most of these guys aren’t really ready to contribute to a contender until year 2 or 3. Which means you almost always have to have someone in a Harden situation every season with another on deck. That’s bound to be disruptive in one way or another.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    I don’t know whether you guys follow the ESPN player ranking, but I always do and find it quite interesting to read.
    They listed Goodwin at #352, just two spots ahead of Tucker. They say Goodwin is gonna be the steal of this draft class and his rank should be cut in half by next year.
    Gerald Green is listed as #326, but I think Goodwin is gonna be the better player for sure.
    Frye is at #292, but only due to his injury.
    Brown is #285 which means he lost 50 places compared to last year.
    Alex Len is at #269, pretty low for a No. 5 pick.
    Marcus Morris is at #262 (50 places better than last year), and Markieff is at #247 (but he lost some places) which means that the twins are quite similar.

    So if I am not mistaken most of the current roster is already ranked and they didn’t even break the top 200 (Plumlee, Lee, Smith, Tucker and Kravtsov are somewhere on the last places).
    Who is missing? Kendall Marshall. Currently they ranked the players from 226 to 500. I doubt that Marshall will be somewhere in the top 200. That means that didn’t even make it into the top 500. Given 450 roster spots in the NBA this means that he is no NBA material and shouldn’t ever be our backup PG.

    Dragic, Bledsoe and Gorat are also missing. The difference is that they will appear on this list for sure. In other words: they are the only quality players on this team. And Gortat will possibly leave (ESPN says he is worth a 9M/yr contract, do you agree?). This would leave the Suns with two quality players and even they wouldn’t start on a really good team.

    Poor Suns…

  • JGUBERNICK

    Why the Suns still have Kendall Marshall is a mystery to me.He has shown that he cannot shoot,has no moves, and cannot guard anyone in the NBA. Why we let Telfair go and kept Marshall is a joke.

  • Ty-Sun

    Marshall was ranked #320.

  • Scott

    Goodwin says that Marshall is shooting well in practice.

  • Sunsn7

    Suns just released official photos of new uniforms on nba.com…and AW DAMN they’re HIDEOUS. Looks like something you’d find on an old Yellow Front or Factory 2U clothes rack, “slightly irregular” tag attached!

    Just awful, shorts, jerseys, sleeved alternates…its all BAD

  • Sunsn7

    Just saying, its first time I got a decent look at the shorts…now im wishing I hadn’t! Coulda found guys off the street to do a far better job! Unimaginitive, out-of-touch pricks!

  • john

    Dragic should wind up in or near the top 50. Gortat will be top 100, as will Bledsoe, I believe.

  • Ty-Sun

    I agree about Dragic, john. I know some people still don’t believe in Dragic but statistics don’t lie. Last season Dragic finished tied for 7th in assists per game – and verses other point guards – 11th in ppg, 10th in steals, tied for 9th in blocks and 12th in fewest turnovers. A lot of people don’t realize just how good he is because he had very little help on the court last season. Put better scorers around him and his assist numbers will only increase.

  • Azbballfan

    I agree

    if anything, its Bledsoe that has to come in here and prove himself

    Dragic already had experience as a starter in Houston and sometime starter here in the desert

    if Bledsoe comes in and does well, which he should, we could be looking at a young, athletic, and decently cheap back court for the near future

    we already have our center and two guard spots of the future taken care of, now we gotta look toward the draft and put in a stud PF and SF

    good thing we have all those 1st round picks

    even if Minny doesnt make the postseason i cant really see a scenario where the Pacers miss it as well

    if i am McMiracle, i shop Gortat for anything i can get

    that will improve this team either with cap space or a draft pick or even a future pick down the road

    my draft philosophy would be “you cant have too many assets”

    Hopefully the real plan is to swing a mega deal after the 2014 draft

    and augment bledsoe, dragic, len, and our rookies from 2014 with someone who could be a star but who maybe isnt one at the time

    the james harden scenario rarely ever happens but its nice to be one of the two or three teams in the NBA that would have enough assets to give to a team to make a deal like that

  • Sunsn7

    Season, just start already! Cant wait to see Dragic, Goodwin, n Bledsoe this year, especially the latter two. I have the same feelings about this squad that Foreveris stated above. It’ll be good for die hard basketball purists to watch the development of the future of the Suns. Im glad Suns fans are enthusiastically behind the ongoing rebuilding effort. Its great to see!

    Go Suns! Andrew Wiggins future Suns ROY 2014-15!

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