NBA Draft: 3 Projected Lottery Picks That Might Fall to the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns, James Jones (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, James Jones (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Jared Butler
Phoenix Suns, Jared Butler (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Potential NBA Draft Steal: Jared Butler

The last time Jared Butler took the floor, he walked off it as an NCAA champion after leading the Baylor Bears to their first ever National Championship.

As a junior last year, Butler averaged 16.7 points and 4.8 assists per game while shooting an outstanding 41.6 percent from beyond the arc. But although Butler possesses both the hardware and numbers typical to a top tier collegiate athlete, his draft stock looks a bit flimsy right now, with some starting to believe that he might fall outside the lottery threshold.

Just over a month ago, the NBA momentarily prohibited Butler from all basketball activities due to a heart condition. This presented Butler’s health as a notable concern ahead the draft, naturally causing his stock to drop a bit.

Earlier this week though, Butler announced the NBA’s granted clearance for him to begin playing again. It seemingly brought Butler back from the dead, as his entire career looked seriously jeopardized up until the moment.

But still, Butler’s health scare continues to echo around the league as we inch closer to the draft, causing some teams to still feel hesitant about mortgaging their future on him. If a red flag goes up on a player, NBA GMs will not forget about it, nor will they neglect to consider it on draft night—even if said flag eventually gets taken down.

It might seem unfair, but it is just the way things are. We saw a similar scenario happen with Michael Porter Jr. a few years ago, who many foresaw as a top-five talent, but fell to the Denver Nuggets with the final lottery pick with many likely concerned over a few herniated discs in his back.

Like Porter Jr., Butler remains star talent with lottery-worthy upside, but nonetheless a prospect who might need to wait a bit longer to hear his name called than originally expected. But that might bring the Suns into the mix for him.

Phoenix may need to waive farewell to backup point guard Cameron Payne this offseason with his contract set to expire. That opens up at least one rotation spot for Butler to fill, with him potentially working behind Chris Paul if the Suns strike a deal with him this summer.