The Suns and their draft selection problem over the years

Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

For most of the decade, the Phoenix Suns have missed more than they have hit on lottery draft selections.

They quietly have one of the mediocre draft records among NBA franchises in the league and the latest news of Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss each getting their fourth-year options declined is a reminder of that harsh truth.

On the bright side, there have been a few draft hits. Notably Devin Booker who looks to be a future all-star. And while it’s still early, Deandre Ayton is already one of the more promising young big men in the game.

Other than that, the rest of the draftees the Suns have complied over the years hasn’t been too inspiring.

Starting with the 2011 draft, here are some of the lottery selections the team has had over the years, followed by some notable players drafted after.

2011: Markieff Morris (No longer on the team) – Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Mirotic, Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas.

2012: Kendall Marshall (No longer in the league) – Evan Fournier, Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Will Barton.

2013: Alex Len (No longer on the team) – CJ McCollum, Steven Adams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Roberson, Rudy Gobert.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

2014: T.J. WarrenClint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic (who was later traded for the rights to Chriss), Spencer Dinwiddie, Nikola Jokic.

2015: Devin BookerTerry Rozier, Bobby Portis, Larry Nance Jr, Montrezl Harrell, Josh Richardson.

2016: Dragan Bender & Marquese Chriss (No longer on the team) – Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray, Jakob Poeltl, Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Pascal Siakam, Dejounte Murray, Malcolm Brogdon.

2017: Josh JacksonLauri Markkanen, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, OG Anunoby, Kyle Kuzma.

Now it’s not to say every player they’ve drafted has been a miss. Again, they hit on Booker, Warren signed an extension with the team, and the jury is still out on a player like Jackson all for what it’s worth.

Players such Markieff Morris has still gone on to become a solid starter on another team.

It’s just that in the context of the Suns, it has not worked out.

Many of the players mentioned above, while some may not be better than the players the Suns drafted, they have gone on to be solid contributors, some even for playoff teams. While the Suns could’ve still had the opportunity to draft one or maybe even two of those players with picks later in both rounds.

Instead you get cases like Davon Reed and Tyler Ulis who end up being cut by the Suns at different points this past offseason.

A team isn’t going to hit on its draft choice every time, that’s just how things are in the game of chance. However, this says more about the Suns and their talent evaluation/development than the players themselves.

Next. The Suns' 2019 top draft pick should be off limits. dark

In the James Jones era of the Phoenix Suns, fans should hope he can break the trend of mediocrity when it comes draft evaluation and selections over the years.

It remains to be seen where some of the players drafted within the past two years will end up. Hopefully they land on the plus side of things as opposed being in line with the whiffs over the years.