Underemphasized in the rumor of the Sacramento Kings’ trade proposal to the Phoenix Suns regarding the No. 8 draft pick was the Suns’ interest in point guard Nik Stauskas, which was reported by ESPN’s Andy Katz. That has a lot of traction now, with multiple reports backing that stance up.
The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro revealed that Phoenix has most interest in Stauskas and Creighton shooter Doug McDermott. Behind them on the board is Rodney Hood, the only player known to have gone through two workouts with the Suns other than second-round projected pick Russ Smith.
N.C. State scorer T.J. Warren has apparently received a promise from the Suns, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! reports. If Warren is not available, Phoenix could look at UCLA’s Zach LaVine, Kentucky’s James Young or Michigan State’s Gary Harris.
That Phoenix would promise Warren is a surprise since the rumors had the Suns eyeing both Young and Hood. While Warren isn’t known to be as good of a shooter at the other two wings, there is something to be said about a player who was elite in the mid-range and has a natural feel for scoring. If coach Jeff Hornacek can fine-tune his jumper, the Suns could see him having more upside than the other two.
The probabilities and scenarios for Stauskas
Moving into the top-10 could be difficult for the Suns, and the Kings apparently have cooled on the idea of dealing their eighth pick. But Phoenix might not need to move more than a few spots, or at all, to grab Stauskas. Both of Stauskas and McDermott are presumably out of the running in the top-8.
Payton is probably the most-likely player to surprise by breaking into the top-8, and the Hornets have reportedly been all for McDermott.
Filling in the ninth through 13th spots, then, would be some order of McDermott and Payton — they are the two most likely to be out of Phoenix’s reach — and some three-man combination of Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Adreian Payne, Dario Saric, LaVine, Hood and Young. Saric and Nurkic have a wide range of possibilities for different reasons, but the Suns would be helped out if somebody ahead of them banked on one or both of the international players. LaVine, Hood and Young could have a shot at moving above Stauskas as higher-upside types.
Payne is probably a reach to help out in this situation, even for Phoenix at 14. While he was touted as a stretch 4 that would play well with the Suns, he doesn’t fit the profile of a Ryan McDonough pick at 14 with so many other players on the board. At 18? That would make more sense if Warren and the other wings aren’t available.