3 biggest draft misses from the Phoenix Suns since 2010.
2. Domantas Sabonis
Somewhat ironic that we pivot from Fox to the other player who helped the Kings reach the playoffs this season, Domantas Sabonis. The Suns had the fourth pick in 2016, while Sabonis didn’t come off the board until 11th, and was traded on draft night by the Orlando Magic to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Why didn’t we put Buddy Hield (sixth) or Jamal Murray (seventh) here instead? Well, the Suns wanted a forward that year to pair with Booker, and selected Dragan Bender. Like Sabonis, a European big who had the footwork and the potential to be exactly what the team needed at that point in time.
Unlike Sabonis, Bender was out of the league by 2020, and at only 25-years-old still currently plays in Spain. It is fair to say he was as raw as they come, a project player who if a team had stuck with him, may have started to see the fruits of their endeavour at this point. The Suns gave him three seasons, he gave them 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
It would be easy to say the Suns should have taken Murray, and alongside Booker they would have taken the league by storm. It is also fair to point out that Hield’s shooting would have been as welcome then as it would be now, and that he too would have been a success in Arizona. Both of these things are most likely true.
But at a time when the franchise wanted a big man with a ton of upside, they reached and took the wrong one. Sabonis has been an All-Star in the league, and outside of Jokic has some of the best footwork you’re going to see in a big in the NBA today. He also could have been the center solution the team needed, allowing them to look at Doncic or Young instead of Ayton…