Former Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough hints at Luka/Ayton decision

Phoenix Suns Ryan McDonough (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Ryan McDonough (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Many Phoenix Suns fans blame former GM Ryan McDonough for drafting Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft. Recently, he talked about it.

Former Phoenix Suns General Manager, Ryan McDonough, joined Chris Mannix on The Crossover podcast and dished on his time with the team and his career on the whole. While he avoided explicitly calling out Robert Sarver and blaming him for drafting Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic, it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that is exactly what he did.

When asked about the draft pick Suns fans will be bemoaning for eons, McDonough said:

"“I probably won’t get into all of it specifically. What I would say, it was somewhat of a tumultuous time in Phoenix, as the last decade has tended to be…it was an unstable environment.“I think our process could have been better as far as Luka’s evaluation in particular. He was still playing in Spain in 2018 in the playoffs which made it difficult. I was not able to go see him play late that year in May and June. Had I gone and seen him play, he dominated the playoffs in the Euro-league Final Four. Would we have arrived at a different conclusion? Keep in mind I did not have ultimate autonomy to make basketball decisions there.”"

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Ryan McDonough sheds light on the Phoenix Suns 2018 draft.

McDonough can be as coy as he wants, but this is the way that quote reads to me:

“Robert Sarver was too cheap to send me to Europe to evaluate Luka because he already made up his mind he wanted Ayton. Had I gone, I probably would have made a more passionate argument to draft him over Ayton, but at the end of the day, Sarver is the one who makes all the decisions so I didn’t have much say in the matter anyway.”

Go back and reread McDonough’s quote and tell me I’m wrong.

If my interpretation is true, this still isn’t really news; this is what most Suns fans assumed was the case. To be fair, preconceived notions may play into my interpretation, but I would be surprised if McDonough would deny this theory.

Ultimately, though, it doesn’t much matter at this point. Ayton improved dramatically in his second season and while he will never be Luka and isn’t where Suns fans would like him to be, he is still a lot better than Marvin Bagley, who Sacramento picked after Ayton and before Luka.

Poor Kings.

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