PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns are loaded with options for the 2014 NBA Draft. They have four picks – three first-round picks and a second-round pick – to work with.
What will the Suns’ draft night look like? Here are three questions heading into Thursday's draft:
1. Who will the Suns take with their first pick?
Most NBA draft gurus expect the Suns to take a shooting guard with their 14th overall pick – the final lottery pick in this year’s draft. Multiple experts have projected Phoenix to take Kentucky’s James Young, Michigan State’s Gary Harris or UCLA’s Zach LaVine, all of whom are capable outside shooters and could conceivably contribute right away.
There are some dissenters, however, such as USA Today’s Adi Joseph, who predicts that small forward and 2013-14 consensus national player of the year Doug McDermott will fall to Phoenix. Also, experts at The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated expect the Suns to take Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne.
With power forward/center Channing Frye recently opting to declare for free agency instead of re-signing with the Suns, picking a big man like Payne to replace Frye may make sense.
2. Can the Suns get a steal later in the first round?
The Suns also have a pair of non-lottery picks in the first round of this year’s draft (the 18th and 27th overall picks), and they have a history of finding talented players in this range.
They drafted eventual two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash with the 15th overall pick in the 1996 draft, and they took Larry Nance, a member of the 1985 NBA All-Star team who averaged over 17 points per game with the Suns from 1981-87, with the 20th overall pick in 1981.
Expert guesses as to who the Suns will take with either of these picks are naturally scattered, but among the most popular picks at No. 18 are Payne (if he were to fall that far), Swiss power forward Clint Capela and N.C. State small forward T.J. Warren. With the 27th pick, experts say the Suns may target Syracuse small forward Jerami Grant, UCLA shooting Jordan Adams or Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic.
3. Will the Suns make any draft-day trades?
Suns’ general manager Ryan McDonough has made it clear that the Suns are open to trading multiple first-round picks in order to earn a higher pick in this year’s draft, especially because the team’s 2013 draft picks (center Alex Len and guard Archie Goodwin) are still in the development process, and he’d rather not crowd that field any further.
McDonough recently told the Associated Press that he believes the Suns can move up in the draft, but he’s unsure as to just how much.
Regardless, there’s a good chance the Suns’ draft team is working tirelessly right up until draft time exploring their options and possibly setting up a deal that would allow the team to add another key piece to their rebuilding puzzle.