Phoenix Suns fans should prepare themselves for a Draft Day letdown

James Jones Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images)
James Jones Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft can be one of the most exciting nights of the year for basketball fans. But for fans of the Phoenix Suns hoping for something big, they shouldn’t hold their breath.

The Phoenix Suns have been a bad basketball team for a very long time, a problem that has not only damaged the fandom of lifelong fans but has destroyed the opportunity of a generation of new fans from locking onto the franchise for their own lifetimes.

For those of us who are hoping for a decent turnaround this coming season (anyone who believes that the Suns can from from 19 wins to 50 is probably fooling themselves, although making a large jump should be management’s goal), part of how that turn around will happen can occur with the draft.

Nothing should be off the table: from surprise draft picks to major trades inclduing moving up, back, or out of the draft entirely, should all be possibilities for a franchise long suffering yet seemingly constantly treading water (with their head two feet below their surface).

We want finally full-time General Manager James Jones to take his first draft and smash  it.

To do something tremendously splashy and add a player (or more) to the roster that fans can latch their hope onto; a player (or more) who we see playing on a winning team alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton for many years to come.

There is a problem with picking at number six though: the prevailing expectation is that this draft is weak, especially beyond the top-three.

Therefore, Jones is not likely to find any above average talent – at any position – while drafting where the Phoenix Suns currently sit.

Should he trade up?

He certainly could and take the best available player, someone who would undoubtedly be projected to be better than who would be there at six.

Could he trade back?

There are certainly benefits to this, especially if able to swing a trade with a team like the Atlanta Hawks who have three picks from eight to 17. More than an accurate evaluation of talent, a pick is like a lottery ticket, the more tickets you hold, the more opportunities you are to win.

Might he trade out of the first round altogether?

Using the sixth overall pick as an asset to acquire a veteran player elsewhere in the league, someone who’s talent is both well known and would be an immediate help to the roster, is definitely the quickest way at turning things around.

And yet, when interviewed by AZCentral’s Duane Rankin, what did James Jones say about the sixth overall pick?

“I’m comfortable staying there…Not looking to trade it…I think there are more than six good players in this draft.”

Suns fans: prepare to be disappointed.

First off, when he says that there are more than “six” good players available, I think  he meant “three”?

Almost no one is saying that there are “six” good players available (otherwise why would so many Suns fans prefer to trade from the spot and why aren’t there a plethora of rumors of teams trying to trade into their spot), and if there really are six, then why not trade back and acquire more than one of those “good” players?

Regardless, that kind of passive, un-aggressive, or un-imaginative thinking is enough to worry me as a Suns fan, someone who is dying  to watch and root for a winning franchise again.

Fans will undoubtedly enter the draft, hope and pray for something exciting or splashy to happen, but when six comes and goes, to see that Phoenix has selected a blasé player, someone who will take several years before making an impact – if ever – all we can do then is once again hope and pray  that the un-aggressive draft was merely the calm before the storm that could be an uber-exciting July full of trades and free agency signings.

Obviously it takes two to tango in the NBA so a trade that suits the Suns must also suit another team.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Certainly, a player like Darius Garland falling to six would be exciting and could only happen if things occur ahead of Phoenix and can only do so without their involvement, but with incidences like that rarely happening (and players usually sliding for very specific reasons), the chances of such a surprise are slim.

That said, Jones said something else in that interview with Ranking that worried me as well.

Speaking to the desire of fans to have the Suns do something big,  Jones said that “there’s no pressure to … do something…At the end of the day, if we didn’t believe Devin (Booker) or Deandre (Ayton) were foundation pieces, then we should be desperate and feel like we’ve got to make a move.”

Devin Booker was in peak form last season, already at the beginning of his prime at only 21/22-years-old.

Deandre Ayton, albeit a rookie, averaged a double-double and had better overall stats than fellow rookies Luka Doncic and Trae Young, which should (although likely will not) catapult him to the franchise’s fourth Rookie of the Year award winner.

They were both on the team in 2018-19 and yet the Phoenix Suns  still went 19-63, the second worst record in franchise history.

The team had a better  year from Booker last season than the year before and added the first overall pick, yet had a worse year than the one before.

If they are foundational pieces (which they truly are), then Jones should  be desperate to add multiple legitimate players to the roster right away to take advantage of these foundational pieces  while they’re still young and here.

I say “here” because one never knows when someone is going to sign with Rich Paul and suddenly the entire thing goes to hell…

And yet, James Jones is “comfortable staying” at six overall.

Next. Phoenix Suns 2019 Offseason Plans Part 1: The Draft. dark

I hope beyond hope that NBA fans the world ’round are surprised by the going’s on surrounding the Phoenix Suns during the draft – in a good way. Unfortunately, in reading what Jones has to say, I can not help but think that they are the articulated inner feelings of a general manager who is slower moving with poorer vision than an elderly gentleman in a walker.

Gosh, do I hope I am wrong. But fans might want to brace themselves for a Draft Day letdown.