Phoenix Suns Drafting For Best Available, Not By Need

Jun 28, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough (right) introduces Alex Len (left) during a press conference at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough (right) introduces Alex Len (left) during a press conference at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been reading our 2015 NBA Draft Profiles over the last two weeks, but the Phoenix Suns have one pressing area of need this year. Even if Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are never taken to trial for the felony aggravated assault charges, this team needs frontcourt depth.

A stretch-four who can help Phoenix out on the boards is at the top of the list. Keef is a terrific player on offense, but his rebounding leaves something to be desired. Alex Len will be able to hold things down at center as he continues to develop his game, get stronger and stay healthy, but for now the Suns need help on the glass and with their interior defense.

That being said, don’t be surprised if the Suns wind up using their No. 13 pick on a player who doesn’t fit that profile.

Phoenix will have plenty of options available by the time their first round pick rolls around and there are obvious choices that fit the description. Frank Kaminsky could be a nice stretch-5 because of his intelligence, positive attitude and shooting ability. Kevon Looney is a bit raw, but has a lot of upside.

Other frontcourt options include Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, Bobby Portis and even Robert Upshaw. But depending on who’s still available by the time the Suns are on the board, Phoenix’s first round pick could look very different from what fans are expecting.

In an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, general manager Ryan McDonough had this to say about the 2015 draft class:

"Picking at 13, there are probably five or six guys in the top tier that we can cross of the board, that you say, ‘There’s no way that they’ll be there,’ assuming we stay at 13.The next group is pretty deep, I think, that next tier or two, probably about 10 or 12 guys in that tier so that covers 13 or more. So we’re confident we’ll get a good player."

“Assuming we stay at 13” probably perked up some ears, but I’m not sure what kind of trade the Suns would be able to put together in order to move up in the draft. Their best, most movable assets — the Morris twins — are hardly movable at the moment given their current legal situation.

Moving down in the draft actually feels more likely at this point, but what McDonough had to say about the team’s draft strategy at the first day of draft workouts yesterday was particularly telling:

"As a non-playoff team, I think you need help everywhere. So we’ll take the best player, even if that goes against what some people think maybe we should do in terms of conventional wisdom, but I think unless you’re a championship-level team, you always take the best player.Our philosophy is if he’s better than the guys who are on your current roster, then maybe he beats them out and you move one of the guys on your roster, but I think some mistakes in the history of the draft are made drafting for, say, ‘We need this, let’s draft the best player who does whatever,’ when you draft that guy you tend to reach sometimes."

McDonough is basically reiterating the obvious: no one on this roster is off limits. Though the Suns have a young, promising core in place, they still desperately need a star. This team is not talented enough to take a substantial step forward yet, and bearing this in mind, every position will be in play depending on who’s still on the board at No. 13.

Picking a power forward or even a backup center feels like the best option. This draft is particularly deep at those positions, there will be some talented big men available by the time the Suns pick and it seems like the best method for adding more young talent to the roster.

But plenty of mock drafts have the Suns going down different avenues, and as McDonough himself said, there will be plenty of options in play.

Wing shooters like Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre and R.J. Hunter have been mentioned in mock drafts, and some even have Phoenix taking a backup point guard like Jerian Grant or Cameron Payne in order to have some insurance for restricted free agent Brandon Knight. Even if Knight re-signs this summer, the Suns do still need a backup point guard other than shooting guard Archie Goodwin.

If NBA Drafts went according to need like the NFL’s often do, the Suns would definitely prioritize a power forward. But since that’s not the nature of this league, Suns fans should be prepared for anything in the 2015 NBA Draft. After all, this team needs to improve across the board, and drafting by best player available is the best way to do that.

Next: Phoenix Suns: 10 Best Draft Picks In Team History

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