The Phoenix Suns should make Grayson Allen a priority

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 23: Grayson Allen
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 23: Grayson Allen /

The Phoenix Suns lack honest-to-goodness toughness. They don’t have swagger or an attitude. But there is one player in the draft that can help change all that: Grayson Allen.

For many of you, your first reaction to the name Grayson Allen is that of disgust. You can’t stand  him. He’s a jerk on the court. He is a whiner and complainer. He has tripped opponents, pushed them, stuck his butt in the way of, and done absolutely every single thing you hate to see a basketball player do, and it has all pissed you off.

That is exactly why the Phoenix Suns need to make drafting him an absolute priority.

The Suns lack attitude. They play out of control and think that they are tough. But they’re not tough. They’re shy, afraid, and let’s be honest: they don’t scare anybody.

One of the most disheartening things about the Suns losing so many games by so many points is that very few players put up a real fight. Nobody seemed to get pissed off for the right reasons.

Sure, Marquese Chriss would get pissed off. He’d whine and complain. He’d shove unsuspecting opponents when they weren’t looking. But that’s all phony. That’s not tough. That’s immature. It was often incredibly annoying because it never helped the Suns in any way.

However they can add grit and authentic toughness this offseason they need to make that a priority. General Manager Ryan McDonough doesn’t need to add 12 players who are rough and tumble, just a couple who will help to make a difference and challenge the current culture right away.

Grayson Allen can be one of those guys.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

I have long compared Allen to Danny Ainge. As a player, Ainge was the type who would irritate the hell out of his opponents and their fans. A hard-nosed, nasty player, Ainge was a pain in everyone’s butt. His fans loved him, but everyone else loved to hate  him. He would dig his nails under your skin and scrap his way to the ball on defense. On offense he’d put his head down and bowl his way to the hoop.

Or he’d shoot a 3 right over top. He’d then have a look on his face like he’d just been cheated somehow as he ran back down the court knowing that just that look alone was going to get under someone’s skin.

Those are all things that Allen does. All things that the Suns need. All reasons why Grayson Allen should be a priority.

If he is a priority, then the Suns need to find a way to get him. They need to put a target on him and find a way to get into Phoenix next season.

I believe that he has first round talent. A four-year player at Duke his 38.0% from 3 for his career on 766 attempts and 21.6ppg his sophomore year is evidentiary proof of his offensive capabilities, a bonus as they would be drafting him for his personality and playing style.

Granted, he wasn’t a superstar for his positive play at Duke but more for the gritty and dirty things that he did to get under everyone’s skin. Regardless, teams will see that shooting and grittiness late in the first round and make him a target, therefore the Suns need to get to him first.

With a pick likely at 16, plus the 31st overall selection (the first pick in the second round), the Suns will have options in the region that he will be drafted.

While 16th overall is, by all accounts, way too high of a pick to use on him, there might not be a player there that McDonough loves anyway. That pick might be moved at some point in a trade and may not be used by the Suns regardless.

This leaves the 31st overall pick.

Figuring out where Grayson is likely to be selected is difficult. Search through NBA Mock Drafts and you’ll see him selected anywhere from the mid-to-late 20’s into the middle of the second round. has Allen selected at 28th overall by the Golden State Warriors. put out a mock that had him going to the Houston Rockets 44th overall, then later revised it having the Sixers take him at 38th overall. has the Mavericks taking him at 34th overall – with the Suns taking a European flex-guard/forward at 31st.

NBA Sports has the Lakers taking him as high as 25th overall.

In other words, if McDonough has the same idea as I do that Allen needs to be a late first round or early second round priority, then he likely won’t have a solid idea of where Grayson will be selected and will have to listen very carefully to talk around the league to gauge what his plan of attack should be.

Should Allen appear to actually be a late first round pick, the Suns could potentially trade both of their second round picks to move up – their own and Toronto’s – especially if he is still available in the 28-30 range.

If the Lakers really would take him as high as 25, that trade scenario still could be a possibility, although my gut instinct is that moving back six spots with a hated division rival and only adding the 58th overall selection might not be enough. Who knows, it could, but I wouldn’t expect it.

Of course, the best case scenario would be if Allen were available at 31 and Phoenix didn’t have to move around to snag him. At that point he would be a second round selection instead of a first and the cost – plus risk – would be much less to the team.

Not only that, but if he were available and a team one or two spots back called asking to trade into the Suns’ spot offering another asset (preferably a future second), and it appeared that the Suns could then get Grayson at 32-35, that would be a perfect-storm scenario as well.

Grayson Allen is probably not a starter in the NBA – at least not right away, and certainly not on the Suns where he would backup Devin Booker. That’s not the kind of talent you are generally finding in the range that he will be selected anyway.

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Even Danny Ainge only started one game his rookie season (averaging 4.1 points), and three games his third season (averaging only 5.4 points). He then didn’t even make the 3-point shot a central focus of his offensive arsenal until his 7th season, which happened to be the season in which he made his only All-Star appearance.

Adding Grayson Allen to the Phoenix Suns makes too much sense and Ryan McDonough needs to make him a priority. A gritty, pain-in-the-butt player that opponents and opponent’s fans hate, he is the perfect late first round or early second round addition to a team in desperate need of adding some honest-to-goodness fight. Having a player of Grayson’s pedigree and skill-set, especially someone who could come in as a reserve and be counted on not only to handle the ball if needed (playing a lot of point guard this year with Duke his senior season he averaged 4.6 assists per game and 5.2 per 40-minutes), coupled with his sharp-shooting mentality and skills, even if Allen is never a bonified star, he is the perfect player for the Suns to focus on acquiring in the middle of the draft.